Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Tell Me the Stories

"I'm starting to forget, Mom." My fifteen year old sighs and looks out the rain streaked window of our car. Fields of weathered corn stalks soak up the water as we pass.

"Like what?" I try not to cry at his honesty because I never admit that I sometimes forget.

"Like ... you and Dad say we would go there every weekend and you guys would play cards until like 1:00 in the morning. I don't remember that." He looks at me with a sadness.

"Yes, we did. But, you might not remember that part because you and your cousins were busy doing other things while we played cards." I look from the road ahead to his face. I can see he's trying to remember, something ... anything.

"I do remember playing Fuzion Frenzy. Uncle Kregg was always Samson in that game." He smiles that crooked smile of his and leans back into the leather seat. "Hey, can you tell me again about the Christmas he gave me the fish beanie baby?"

"Well, Uncle Kregg had a collection of Beanie Babies. You loved standing in front of the glass case at their house, just looking at all of them. You really liked the one called Lips. So, for Christmas that year, he and Aunt Jenny gave you one just like his." I smile remembering happy times just like that one.

"We should talk about him more, Mom. That way we don't forget him." He rests his head back against the seat. We ride the rest of the way home in silence. Each of us remembering good things and missing Uncle Kregg.

Seven years ago today, our family lost Kregg to brain cancer. He was a wonderful husband and father. He left behind a loving, devoted wife and two beautiful daughters ... an entire family filled with people his life had somehow touched. Kregg was funny ... he made everyone laugh. He was great with children.

During the time he battled this disease, I watched Jenny do what I could never do ... she was completely unselfish with her time and strength. Jenny took care of her girls and her ill husband. While Kregg fought cancer with his entire body, she fought cancer with every ounce of her heart.

On the day she lost Kregg, I called her and listened as she cried. I wanted to give her some kind of profound wisdom that might ease the hurt, the pain. There were no words ... just me listening.

In the weeks after Kregg's passing, I began to live my life differently ... in small ways. We ate lasagna in our "good living room" on the "good furniture". We watched movies in the middle of the week, on school nights. We used our "good towels" for everyday.

We started doing these things and haven't stopped. Why? Because everyday ... is good.

Is there someone you are missing today? Take time to remember them, remember their smile and laughter, remember the good times and ... talk about them.

Today ... live your life on earth so that when you pass from this world ... the earth mourns your passing and angels rejoice.

That's how Kregg lived his life.

Thank you Kregg. For showing me how to enjoy everyday goodness. Thank you, Jenny. For teaching me about unselfish love and strength through difficult times. Thank you to my two beautiful nieces ... for smiling through your hurt.


  1. This is a great story and reminder not to take things for granted, especially the littlest things. We don't want to wait to lose someone with a great value until it's too late.
    Cancer is an awful sickness. I lost my dad to colon cancer. But through all that suffering, God was faithful to stay by my brothers' side and mine and comforted us...I join you in your gratitude for everything, all of God's blessings. He is good...all the time...God bless you. Have a wonderful day.

  2. I miss my sister. She died 20 years ago in a tragic accident. Since that time, I, too have lived my life very differently. I do not intend to change back. I use the good china and I do not worry when something is spilled on the carpet or something breaks. I enjoy the blessings GOD has given me. THANK YOU,

  3. What a great legacy that Uncle Kregg left behind to all of you! Not only has he shown so much love while he was here, but passed that love along with each memory you share!

    Love and Hugs ~ Kat

  4. Aine,
    Thank you for sharing this with us. My adult daughter had a brain tumor when she was three that left her with physical and mental disabilities. She will be 32 this December. I can look at her and think of all the things she has been through and she still has a big smile on her face. It does make us look different at life.
    Deborah M.

  5. Aine,
    I'm late coming in. (((HUGS))) Uncle Kregg sounds like a great man. And the fact that he shared my obsession with beanie babies has nothing to do with my opinion at all. Prayers for Jenny and the kids and all those he left behind.

    I'm missing my Mom. She went home to be with the Lord 5 years ago. Lung cancer of unknown origin -no one smoked in our house. There are days when I live my life differently but all too often I fall back to the same routine. Thank you for the reminder. Everyday is a gift.

    Have a Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving!

  6. Aine,
    I am so sorry for your loss.

    What a precious story.... Thank you for sharing it.

    Hope your Thanksgiving was blessed!