Saturday, February 27, 2010


It seems the older I get, the harder it is to move. When did that happen?

Even at 41, I know that if I don’t m-o-v-e, my body gets stiff, my energy lessens, and my mind eventually follows suit. It’s not long before I find myself plopped on the couch still in my PJs, watching some reality show, inhaling a half gallon of Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia ice cream.

The problem is the longer I sit, the harder it is to move. It gets to the point that moving will hurt. My back aches, my head is in a sugar fog and the energy I used to thrive on has become depleted from yelling at pathetic women on TV who are in desperation to receive a rose…

Yet there I sit.

Inertia at it's best.

Sometimes I don’t want to move forward because that means I have to face where it is that I am. I have to face that what I had is gone. I have to find a new way to be.

For me, the hardest most painful time to move forward was after losing Jena. I didn’t want to do anything and moving forward was not an option.  Moving forward was just too painful because I knew my future did not contain Jena. She resides in the past, in memories...or so I thought. I chose to just numbingly stay lost.

Moving forward after losing a child is almost next to impossible. Time moved on whether I wanted it to or not. Winter passed, spring had arrived and I was still unable to move. Moving hurt.

What I had forgotten was that I had always loved life. I loved showing the world and all its wonder to my kids, I loved to laugh, I loved to be active, and I had raised my kids to know that life is certainly worth living. I just forgot.

It was months before I noticed that spring had arrived. From my bedroom window I could see life come back in to nature and that time mercifully moves forward.

It’s never easy to take that first step. I don’t care if it’s getting off the couch and going for a run or putting the bottle down and choosing to get back into life. That first step is always a choice and is rarely easy to do.

Right now it’d be easier to sit here, take an Advil for my backache, and stay in bed eating comfort food that makes me feel momentarily good. But that’s just not me.

Life is just too spectacular to waste on the sidelines; you have to be in the game to feel the victory.

Sometimes moving hurts but in the long run it’s the NOT moving that’s the most painful. I know Jena is with me always in laughter and in tears and I also know she would so kick my ass for wasting a single breath.

Time to choose.

Time to move.

Time to put down the remote, chuck the ice cream and grab your sneakers....and come meet me at the amazing race called: life.


Sunday, February 14, 2010


Of course I’m going to talk about LOVE…it’s Valentine’s Day for crying out loud.
Until it is replaced by Ground Hog Day bears and Arbor Day cards, Hallmark’s annual revenue will continue to be subsidized by Valentine’s Day paraphernalia followed closely by Mother’s Day plaques, flowers and trinkets.

February 14th is the day that is jammed down everyone’s throat to express their love.


Don’t you know that every kiss begins with a jewelry store and the only way your love is measured is by how high the price tag is?

In my opinion, the only way love is measured, or is tangible, is by your children.  They are the embodiment of your heart, with little arms and legs attached, asking for money and the keys to your car. Yup, those little buggers can drive you nuts and melt your heart in an instant.

I can remember the exact date and time when I fully understood what true love meant.

It was 1:13pm.

 …on Wednesday, Nov 29, 2006

 …at Westchester Medical Center

…in the ER

That was when I was told that my daughter’s lungs had collapsed and they could not fix them.

(Excerpt from Beyond Breathing)

Dr. Smarty-Pants told me that if they didn’t intubate Jena—meaning, put her on a ventilator to help her breathe, to help her exchange the oxygen—she would crash, and there would be nothing they could do to save her.

 Once she was intubated, she would be unconscious. The only way we’d talk to her again would be after her double lung transplant, which would take place 500 miles away in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. As yet, there was no donor and we were still in New York.

Dr. Smarty-Pants gave me ten minutes.

Ten minutes.

That’s all I get to tell Jena everything in my heart. To tell her how much joy she’s brought me. To tell her how much I love her.

I had ten minutes.

I told her all those things. I told her that if I could be just a fraction of the person she was, I would be the most incredible person ever. I told her that if I could bring half of the smiles and laughter she did I would be honored to stand in her shadow the rest of my life. I cried. I couldn’t stop crying.

As the tears relentlessly streamed down my face, I apologized for any and every fight we ever had. I apologized for any time she was mad at me or I was mad at her. I told her again and again how much I loved her, how proud I was of her, and how much she’d taught me that I would never be able to repay. I cried. I was shaking. I was terrified. I couldn’t believe I was doing this, I couldn’t believe that I had to.

Try to breathe.

She was wearing a bipap machine that covered her nose and mouth to help her breathe, but she was alert and awake and could talk to me. Jena, like a mother compassionately caring for her child, looked at me and gently shook her head left and right and slowly gave me the most remarkably tender smile. Her eyes looked so deeply into my eyes, like never before. It felt as though she was reaching into my soul with her eyes, and I could feel it. I looked back at her with my bloodshot eyes, sniffling, and my hands shaking in hers.

Jena just said, “Mommy, I love you.”

There were no tears in her eyes, and there was no fear, either; no screaming, no asking why her. Jena in her infinite wisdom knew that love is the greatest of all. All this chaos was inconsequential. Love is what is immortal. Her love for me and mine for her were untouchable. Jena knew love is the only answer. Now I know that, too.


That is what love is.  It is untouchable, unbreakable, and it transcends into the hereafter.

Love never ends.

And that is priceless.

I can hear you saying, “I get what you mean, but I like the chocolates, the diamond heart-shaped necklaces, and the candlelight dinner out.”  Listen, by all means take advantage of a perfectly executed marketing campaign, I certainly do.  I’ll be the first to say, “Just hand over the chocolate and no one gets hurt."

But do me a favor this Valentine's Day.  Go find that special someone, stop them dead in their tracks, and look deeply into their eyes and say, “I Love You” and mean it.  Then tell me that’s not worth your weight in gold.

Now go share the love.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Livin' On A Prayer

How do you live?

Are you living for the moment?

Are you living in the past?

How about, living on a prayer?

No, not the Bon Jovi song

…the real prayer

…the kind you say when you've got nothing left to hold you up.

…the kind that knocks you to your knees and your only option is prayer.

You’ve had those days I’m sure.  You pray your father makes it through surgery.  You pray your 18 year old daughter makes it home safely from college during a winter storm.  You pray the doctor says you're in remission.

Then there are those days that cut you to your core.

You’re breathing, but you're not alive.  You’ve got nothing inside to hold you up anymore.  You've got nothing to lean on.  Nothing but prayer. Religious or not, you find yourself asking, begging and bartering with God to lift you out of wherever it is that you are.  You’re lost and you don’t even know how to ask for directions.

I’ve been there.

I remember looking up and screaming, “GOD, I CAN’T DO THIS!”

That was my prayer. That was it.

That prayer was my request that He would take me too, like He took my Jena.  But for some unknown reason He left me here, barely breathing.

My prayer was answered.

I’m still here because of the love that surrounds me…namely my girlfriends.  These fabulous ladies saw to it that I got out of bed before noon, ate something each day and sat with me for hours on end; sometimes never saying a word. They took care of everything.  They did this for weeks.  They fed my body and soul.  And people say I’m strong. Ha!  I couldn’t breathe without my girls.

Looking back, I know that talking with God, screaming at God, praying to God is sometimes all you need to do and then trust Him do the rest.

What is the ultimate prayer? “Thy will be done.”

Jena and God saw to it that you can live on a prayer.

Maybe Bon Jovi had it right all along…

Bon Jovi Lyrics Pictures, Images and Photos