Tag Archives: friends

This Wonderful Christmas Day 2008

So here I am in Florida visiting with parents, family and friends in from all around the United States. It’s a wonderful time for my family.

The decorations in this magical house are courtesy of my sister-in-law, Katie who makes her home so inviting. Little white lights, red ribbons, and ornaments everywhere.

Even the little doggies have tuxedos on today and they bring us all such great joy.

Pictures are snapping everywhere and food, some which has been prepared for days, has been beautifully displayed and will soon be enjoyed. The grill is on and the last minute foods are being cooked now.

I look around the living room and there are numerous conversations going on…the young 2o year old crowd conversing on what their IPOD’s contain, the Moms trading experiencings and laughter surrounding their child raising escapades, young love blossoming in the family for my college-aged niece and her boyfriend.

All the youngest of the family are doting on my two-year old nephew in from California and whom I’ve had the pleasure of being around for only the third time. It’s amazing what distance does to family relationships. But today, I’m especially grateful to be playing around with and witnessing this young one, Elijah, opening his Christmas gifts this morning. It’s an experience I haven’t had since his older brother, Brandon was a babe.

As one of my brothers will be moving to Hawaii next month, I find myself especially aware that it may be a few years again until I’ll have the experience of enjoying all of us being in the same town to spend Christmas together.

But today as I watch everyone enjoying themselves in mini-conversations all around my brother’s home, I am reminded that joy comes from surrounding ourselves with people whom we love and who love us.

In my line of work, someone precious to us can be gone in a moment. So I guess I’m even that much more appreciative and some would say ‘sensitive’ to the recognition that life can change literally in a heartbeat.

No one knows what tomorrow may bring. Or if we’ll even have another experience like I’m enjoying right this moment, as my eldest niece Ashleigh cozies up next to me. She and her sisters mean the world to me. They will always bring such joy to my life.

Let us always be grateful for the precious lives that touch us everyday. With all the turmoil in our world today…the economy, the prices, the wars, the fighting about the right laws of our land, the credit crunch…let us always remember the great gift anyone can give to each other is the time and experiences we share with those we love.

Time is the greatest gift we can give. All the things in our lives can be replaced. They can be found again. But the hugs and love and comfort and experiences with family…this exact special moment in time…can never, ever be captured again.

May you always treasure these moments.

Blessings to all of you on this Christmas Day!

How I will miss you, Jen…

It was a few months back while sitting in my office late one evening opening the mail, that I came across a letter with a familiar last name. It was from the mother of a wonderful woman I had become fast friends with on a flight up to NY a few years ago.

Little did I know that her letter would catch me completely by surprise with news I had never expected to hear.

Jennifer Guberman and I met on a Delta Flight from Orlando back in June 2005 as she pounces two seats from me with the line “it’s really crowded back there, do you mind if I sit next to you?” To which I replied, “No, be my guest.”

That simple greeting was the beginning of a wonderful friendship which came to a hault much too soon. You see, it was that letter I received that evening, all alone in the office, when I found out that Jennifer had died of a freak accident in her home in Worcester, Massachusetts a few months before.

Now you know many of us have friends all around the world and rarely do we have contact info to their immediately families. When we send emails or trade phone calls on cell phones, all of us being so busy, we realize when the person’s life is less crazed, they’ll eventually get back to us. Never do we wonder if anything dramatic has happened.

And usually, if it has, they will drop you a short note and tell you what’s going on and you take it from there.

But this letter was so totally unexpected because I had been wondering why Jen hadn’t called me around the holidays, or responded to my half dozen emails. It wasn’t like her.

So here comes this letter from her Mom, which I must say, I am so grateful for otherwise I would have gone on wondering what had happened.

It turned out Jen died suddenly in her home several months before and I never knew it. And, really, how could I possible have known. Her parents had finally gotten her mail forwarded to them and there they found my Christmas card and gift to her. And thus, her Mom responded.

You know, you really are never ready to hear someone has died. You just aren’t. I don’t care if you knew them less than 3 years or your entire life. You don’t wake up in the morning expecting to hear that kind of news.

So here I was in the office, all alone, and just burst out in tears. Yes, I’m a sensitive soul, otherwise I couldn’t do what I do. But this one was a shocker. I sat back, trying to wipe away the tears which were not subsiding and I just couldn’t comprehend this could be true.

I don’t think I believe it yet anyway. It’s just beyond me, first how all those months could have gone by and Jen and I to have not spoken either by phone or in print. And also, that I didn’t know when it happened, couldn’t have known, and her family couldn’t have done anything more than they did to alert a whole host of personal acquaintances which moved somewhere between best of friends to business colleagues.

Jen and I worked together toward building the Foundation for Grieving Children. She listen to me tell my story on that plane that night and she encouraged me all the way. She offered her assistance in many ways and delivered on everything she promised.

When we were updating our database of services for grieving children, she took the ball and ran with it. She even got others involved (her friends Anna and Josh) and months and months later, the project was all typed in excel, ready for the next step.

When I didn’t know how to research a project in the most expeditious way, I could always call on Jen, my resident librarian and PR person and she’d always give me great advice.

But mostly, you need to know that she was one of the most generous people I’ve ever know. She was there for me in the beginning when I was rebuilding my life after my divorce. She believed in my dreams and visions. She used her money many times to get supplies and her time to make it all come together.

I’ll always remember how she asked how I was getting into Manhattan from JFK Airport the night we landed at nearly midnight. She decided I was coming along with her as the carservice was waiting, and after having dropped her off first near Lexington and 88th where she lived, she said to the driver “take her wherever she needs to go.” She made me feel like a queen.

About a month later we spent Fourth of July together on the East River Promenade watching the Macy’s Fireworks. It was so much fun. Or the time I met her at the doctor’s office to get her home safely after a procedure. Or, when she was moving to Florida and I helped her clean out the apartment as her beloved dog, Rooster, would run around and jump on the bags. He was so funny and how she loved him.

Or when she came back to visit for business and stayed with me at my home. We had such fun. Or when I just needed an ‘ear’ and Jen was always there to tell me it would all come together.

There are people who are planted in our lives for only a short season. Jen was that angel for me. She and I had a very short time together here, but we spoke of God and His works on this earth many, many times. We loved our discussions about faith and how it was working in our lives.

Many times since I learned of her death, I sit quietly and reflect on how much I valued her friendship. I wish you had known my friend, Jennifer Guberman, because you would have surely loved her…