Wednesday, September 30, 2009

fall has arrived....

well folks... fall has officially arrived
a walk through of a retail store
shows quite a bit of evidence of this

spice and cinnamon scented candles
invade your nose as soon as you walk in

colorful and soft woven scarves
are begging to wrap around your neck

Halloween fabrics are everywhere
from costumes for the kiddies to kitchen towels

and my favorite.... rain gear piled high on shelves

yup... it's here, the weather is changing, the smells and colors around are changing, and so are we.... looking forward to cozy corners, comforted by soft blankets, hot tea and the crackle of the firewood.... enjoy the change of the season... as this too will pass quickly and take us into the winter, as we will no doubt be yearning for the warmth of summer once again.... and the cycle will begin all over .....

by the way all the images above were taken with my little baby cannon :))) not bad huh??

Monday, September 28, 2009

i'm so ready for fall

Well at least it looked a little cold and "fall-ish" outside this morning. It's been so hot and dry and just yukky for the past month, and the fires didn't help either, the air quality is really bad. I am so ready for some good old fashion cold, rainy and gloomy days.

I love fall, love the colors, the flavors, the smell of burning wood from the fireplaces, as you walk in the neighborhood in the evenings, warm sweaters, scarves, hats, soft socks, cozy blankets, the very few trees that actually do change color here in LA. Even though we don't have four seasons here, the change is still visible. I love the foods of the season too, hearty soups and stews, warm deserts, hot tea in the evening with some home made preserve. Can you tell I'm ready for the season?? And of course my favorite holiday.... Thanksgiving... yum...

Now that I'm done with the renovation project at the shop... I need to find some new projects to keep me busy, don't get me wrong.. I have my hands quite full with the boys, their activities, running the shop and home... but it's not that kind of "busy" I'm talking about.. it's the kind that keeps my creative juices flowing... and I love that kind of busy... so there are a few ideas in my head and will share soon enough, but for the moment... I'm just looking forward to the weather getting colder so that I can enjoy my early morning walks and hikes again.

Enjoy your week everyone

love...peace... joy...

a little quote before I go:

"Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Friday, September 25, 2009


I want to talk a little about friendship today...

I'm not talking about the type of friendship that's kind of casual, a drink here and there, a lunch date on a busy work week, or an occasional phone call once in a while. What I'm talking about is the kind of friendship that withstands the test of time, the up and down hills that life takes us through, the connection that is thicker than blood. Not many people are fortunate enough in their lives to make and keep such connections.

Although I'm a strong believer that a lot has to do with the kind of friend you are to others that determines the friends that you make throughout your lifetime. We all go through different stages of life and during these different stages we come across many people that win our hearts, then sometimes we drift away and loose that connection for whatever reason or we hold on to those friends forever if we're lucky.

The friendship that I speak of here is much like the unconditional love of a parent for the child, yes I know that connection is stronger than anything we will ever encounter in our lives, but with a good friendship, an unselfish friendship one that has no boundaries one can come pretty close to a connection that is similar to a family bond. Friends like these will accept you for all that you are, will cherish what you have to offer, will know when to push you, or when to step back. They will understand that if you need time then that is what they give you, or if you need a shoulder then they are the first to arrive... (preferably with some comfort food and vino). They don't judge or criticize you when you are not yourself, instead accept and understand your position, they don't shower you with advise when all you need is a hug, they don't talk when you need them only to listen. And they certainly don't walk away and leave you crouched in a dark corner when you need a lift.

Yes friendship like this is hard to find and hang on to, for those who find it should do all necessary to feed that connection, not to let it drift away. A note of caution here... it is very important that this devotion be a mutual one, if only one is the giving and supportive partner all the time... then that's not a real friendship. And at times we will have to accept that not all people are capable of such a devotion to that connection and those are usually the people that can't make any other connections in their lives last for that matter.

So, yes as the saying goes "we may not choose our family, but we choose our friends" is true, and we should choose.... the people that can take that step and commit to that connection... because a train cannot travel on one track... it needs both tracks on a leveled surface to ride smoothly.

And that's my two cents worth on the topic...
Be well my cyber friends

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

a little treat

came across the pictures from my culinary
school days....
thought i'd share my favorite summer salad

cubed watermelon, greek feta
and chopped mint.
sometimes i add some walnut
pieces for texture and

this picture was taken during
one of our student buffets.
it was a big hit :)


by the way.... what is up with blogger's follower box today??? something verrrry fishy goin on ....

hope you all had a great day.

Monday, September 21, 2009

i'm still here...

Hey blogoshere... in case any of you were wondering... I'm still here, a bit discombobulated... but here...

It's been such an exhausting week or so, both physically and emotionally (but what else is new right??). Had a lot done at the shop with the renovation projects, phase one and two are complete and just have phase three left, which is the big one and will require some muscle. Thanks to some family members and the fact that my dad taught me how to use some power tools and a paintbrush when I was younger... this project has gone quite smoothly. With all it's emotional setbacks for me personally this has been a very positive part of the past couple of weeks.
The crew at work are very excited and happy that the shop is now a much brighter place to work. They have been such an important part of our lives, like I've mentioned before they are like family and have gone above and beyond to make sure business proceeds smoothly and that all is well taken care of for the past couple of years especially, since both Gag and I had not been spending too much time there. I'm so grateful to them and with this project hope that work will go even more smoothly now.

Even though I had different plans for myself when I started culinary school back in '08, I'm happy to take on the responsibilities of running the shop, and making sure that Gag's hard work and the years he put into "his first baby" as he called it, goes on and prospers in his memory, and with a great group of people that I have behind me, who care as much about the place as I do this will make it a lot more easier of a task. And let's face it having the flexibility of my hours at the shop is priceless considering how much the boys need me now and how important my time with them is right now.

Let's talk about the boys a little, I'm not sure if you've noticed... but I try not to discuss the boys as much here, and there is a reason for it. First of all they do have access to my blog, and do read it from time to time and I don't really want them to feel embarrassed that I spill everything about them to a bunch of strangers (to them :), and secondly... oh I don't know I can't think of the second reason now, but I just don't feel very comfortable writing too much about them. I have no trouble unloading my inner soul to you all, but these are my thought and feeling, and I feel I don't have the right to do the same to them. Anyways hope this all makes sense to you guys.

But, I will give you a little picture of where they are now, and the things that really require my 100%. Robert... is a bit younger, had less time with dad and is a more emotional person, who is not really shy to express himself (remind you of anyone ?). So I find it much easier to talk to him about dad, he tells me how he feels, and how much he misses him... we talk about him a lot and remember things and laugh and cry together, that makes him feel better and is a big relief for me as well..

Arman on the other hand is already in the stage of his life that can be quite confusing and frustrating, plus to top it off he has the loss of his father to deal with. He was more attached to dad, they had more time together, and shared their passion for sports, and therefore had some very special one on one time. And I imagine it is very hard for him to go through his days. The reason I say "I imagine" is because it is very difficult talking to him about dad, every time I bring him up or try and remind him of something funny dad did, or something he would say.. he just changes the subject and shuts it out... yes it is very hard for him to talk about dad, and he hates to see me cry (he has mentioned to me), but he's coming around a little at a time, I wont push him, he'll do it when he is ready. Getting back on the field and playing was a big step for him, and I'm impressed at the way he got "back on the horse".

So, this is our life... keeping busy, coping, taking it one day at a time....sharing laughs and tears.... this is the way we'll face this new life. Although I'll be really honest... at times I feel like I'm living a stranger's life, that this really isn't me, all this didn't really happen to Gag and our family, and maybe that's a good thing at times, because the actuality and the reality of it all is too painful and will devour us. There are days I walk around like a zombie, unaware of my surroundings, missing the meaning in it all, but still put that fake smile on my face and take care of the boys, who are... this very moment my only reason for living. Yes, I know alarming words but... don't worry I guess if I'm aware of my "depression" at times then it can't really be as bad right?? I'm also quite aware and have accepted that all these feeling are normal, and I should just let them come and go, some days are very happy and productive....and others are very dark and filled with pain, just gotta let it roll I guess. In a way I'm glad that I'm a bit of an optimistic pessimist...if there is such a thing, but overall we're doing ok, I just hate the fact that he is gone and all the things that he still had to live for he didn't... basically he got the short end of the stick, and that pisses me off... and I'm allowed that much anger right???

Well once again thanks for lending an ear or two, and thanks for sticking around for my posts, I know it's not one of those inspiring, perky blog pages that most of us like to visit, but I hope that in some way all these words will find a place in your hearts and can help if ever you find yourselves in a dark place in life.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

as requested... a few facts about Gag

A few posts ago, I had an anonymous reader request that I do a post about Gagik's character, about the things he felt strongly about, his motto in life, the words he lived by....

So today marks two month since he flew away, I though it would be a great opportunity to do this. I have talked a lot about him in my past posts, especially in the early days of blogging and the days that were the toughest for us. I also wrote a poem about him which pretty much sums up who he was as a person. So, lets see....

I'll start by saying that he was a very practical man with logic behind every decision he made in life (except the one about marrying me :) he was head over heals in love and we all know logic has no chance against love, but it was a wise decision... we both thought. He was a deep thinker, but didn't always engage in deep conversations. He loved being around friends and family, and enjoyed the simple things that life had to it a glass of vino with some good friends, or being around the BBQ grill with a nice cold shot of vodka, sharing a few good laughs... or a simple cup of coffee with me.

He expressed love freely, but never really smothered you with too much of it, he also never had any conflicts with anyone (everyone that knows him can vouch for that), this is not to say that he never disagreed at times, but knew when to push his point and when to let it go... which is something we should all strive for (hmmm perhaps that's why we never really had a fight, people can vouch for that too :).

He was a big family man and yet enjoyed his time with friends as well, which I encouraged (hey... men gotta do their guy things once in a while right), he felt the same when it came to me and my girlfriends, I think that's very healthy for a relationship. Being a dad was his greatest joy, because he grew up without a father, he was always determined to be the best at it... and he was. As a husband he was a very patient and loving man, never nit-picked at little things, hey I'm not perfect and I'm sure sometimes I did things that upset him, but once again like he always said..."never mind the little things", he always supported my decisions, we did run a business together for 17 years and quite successfully might I add. He wasn't a "romantic" person, the way society depicts romance to be, which is so far from reality, but he was always affectionate and his thinking on that was.... "if I'm going to be a jerk to you all year long and then get you a dozen red roses for Valentine's day, then that's not really love". And that's exactly how I feel about it, we were very loving all the time so there were no special occasions for us to "celebrate".

He was a man of his word and went out of his way for people who needed his help, and that wasn't just for friends and family, he had a great compassion for his fellow man. A calm life was all he would dream of, he was very easy going and tried to keep a harmonious relationship with everyone and for everyone. He was a firm believer of moderation in all aspects of his life, and tried to pass that message on to everyone whenever he could.

As a friend he was a great listener, which made him a terrific friend, he was always there when you needed him but, didn't bombard you with advise you didn't need, and never judged you, all excellent qualities in a friend (his closest friends can vouch for this too).

He believed in trial and error and letting kids explore their own possibilities and yet was a very cautious parent. He appreciated all the little blessings every day in his life, and gave a 110% to whatever he was involved in at any time...

Did this guy have no flaws you ask??? Well he was human and I'm sure he did... but I sure wasn't going to nit-pick at them, I guess the good outweighed the bad most of the time... oh wait I got one...
He loved to sleep in and not that this is a flaw... but me... a morning person... him a total night owl, you couldn't pay him enough to get up early, unless he had a golf game scheduled or was going fishing... of course he never ate the fish he caught, hated all sea food, and feta cheese, unbelievable considering he was half Greek huh?

The other thing everyone loved about him was his happy attitude in life, no matter how bad of a day he had, if you asked him how he was... his answer was always the same... "spectacular"... "terrific"... and he meant it too. The cutest part of his character, I loved... was when he was in a crowd he wasn't familiar with or uncomfortable in, he would always start cracking jokes and that is exactly why he was the life of any party, actually that's exactly how he reeled me in.... his sense of humor... he could make me laugh like no one has, so all you single guys out there, remember the ladies love a man that can make them laugh. He loved it when I laughed especially with a good chuckle.

As I've mentioned before...he wasn't big on words but showed his ideals in life with his actions.
His mother and sister were a very important part of his life, he always worried about them and tried to do the best he could to make them happy, after he lost his dad, at 10, he felt that he needed to protect them at all coast, which made him a very carrying person... I guess it's true... what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, the tough times he went through made him who he was, I'm a true believer that we are all the product of our lives and experiences.

Well, I hope you all got to know Gag a little better now, and here is the thing, he was a great man, and is missed tremendously by all who knew him...I know how hard it has been to go on with our lives without this happy, smiling person, so all of our friends and family who read my blog, but rarely comment or if you do it's usually on my link on facebook.... today I want all of you guys out there to leave a few words here, and tell us your thoughts about him, I want my blog friends to hear what you have to say, so don't be shy and speak up, do it for Gag...

By the way... I always proofread my posts out loud...just in case he is listening , we all know how he loved when I read my blog to him....:)

Monday, September 14, 2009

what a roller coaster.....

What a roller coaster of a weekend we had...

Talk about too many "highs" and "lows" all condensed into one weekend... Not that our days are not filled with a lot of these peeking emotions lately. On any given day I go from crying out loud to laughing out loud within minutes, or may be really sad one moment and singing to a song on the radio while tears roll down my cheeks the next...

But, for some reason I feel really exhausted from the emotional whirlwind of this weekend.

our shop

I started a renovation project at our shop, and the first stage went very smoothly and a lot was accomplished, but not without the ever constant flow of tears. Being there on a weekend, painting walls... tearing old things down to be replaced by the new ones.... just brought back so many memories of Gag, this is what we did over the years, on some weekends together. So, as happy and excited as I was for taking care of the things that have been needing some serious attention, I caught myself just staring at something we built together and realizing how much I miss him... then the tears would roll again....

Arman's first year playing

Then there was the first futball game of the season, and once again as much as I was filled with joy to see Arman out on the field, playing the game he loves, armed with his goalie was still very painful being there, as this was something we used to do as a family... throughout the whole game I kept hearing Gag's voice giving directions to the boys, cheering them on, and joking around with the parents on the sidelines. It was an evening game, his favorite time of the day to the sun was setting, he would say "this is the best light for pictures, get your camera ready love".... then the lights would come on and the game took on a whole different stage, playing under the lights was what he called a "real game". I kept thinking... finally the boys have gotten older and the game they play has taken on a more serious tone, not a bunch of six year olds chasing after the ball anymore... this is when he would've enjoyed it so much more...and he's not here to reap the fruits of his tree....

But the most emotional part of the weekend was when I took his mom to visit the grave site. She is ill, has been for most of her life, three open heart surgeries and a life of struggle raising two kids without her husband on her side, so being as weak and fragile, she wasn't present for any of the ceremonies and hadn't visited the cemetery till now, it would just be too painful for her. But, on Saturday morning I get a call from her at the shop, as I'm covered in paint... she told me that she wants to visit him, right then... so I dropped everything and took her to see her one and only son's tombstone. I shouldn't have to tell you what a difficult thing it was for her to be there and for me to witness it and not be able to give her any comfort, because no matter what you say to a mother who's lost a child... nothing can give her peace.

So, overall .... like I said a very emotional weekend, filled with high moments and very low moments, boy I tell you this grief business is quite exhausting and can drain you of all your energy. But, we still go on, still have to overcome each moment for Gag's sake, for the boys sake... for just keeping his memory alive and to make him proud of all the things that we achieve on a daily basis. We miss him, there is no doubt, the boys sleep by my side from time to time.... I don't think it's to comfort me or just because my bed is bigger and more comfortable, but because they miss dad, and sleeping on "his side" of the bed makes them feel a bit closer perhaps, they don't know how to express their grief and pain any other way...

So, another Monday... time to regroup and get to living... things to be done, to be seen, to be experienced... must... keep... going...

Saturday, September 12, 2009

little Tokyo...

we had a lovely afternoon at little Tokyo yesterday.
the boys had been wanting to go back to
the "best noodle house ever"... according to them.

I have to admit... it was pretty good, they have anything
from mild to burning volcano hot, three
different flavored soups with all the extras you want.
notice how it says "eat at your own risk".. they weren't
kidding, I had the #2 and wow, felt like a fire was
slowly smoldering inside my mouth.

mind you the portions are huge, could feed a family of four,
I couldn't even eat half of it,
Arman's friend Khalid was
the only brave one to eat it all...
and he had the #1, ouch..

the boys and their friends were in heaven

apparently that guy from "man vs food" has
made an appearance here and has won this
challenge, amongst other brave souls.

we did some book shopping....
it was Japanese anime heaven...
I had to drag the boys out of this store.

the skies above us were beautiful,
the weather was perfect
so we walked around a bit
took pictures (only yours truly of course)...
and watched the most beautiful sunset through the
downtown skyline on our drive home.
A good day for the boys and mom :)

love... peace... joy...

Friday, September 11, 2009

got nothing...

i don't really have anything for you guys today... but did want to share a beautiful song....

"a brotherhood of men".... what an amazing concept...
unfortunately religious differences will keep mankind segregated forever... and that is a sad thought...


Thursday, September 10, 2009

the things we saw (part 2)

this is a sink hole at Ik Kil where we jumped
off of that platform (about 20feet) into the
cold and refreshing water

a place to chill and clear your mind

a church in Via Dolid
(I have a better shot of the church, but I liked
the movement in this one better, took it from the bus)

a couple enjoying a nice dinner by the bay
while I sat in the balcony enjoying the sunset...
thinking of Gag...

amazing sunsets... every evening

lights overhead at dinner time...
doesn't get any better than this...

souvenirs galore..... I bought nothing
(not really the souvenir type :)

a show every night, this one was terrific

sand art by Robert
(the kid likes to create no matter where he is, what can I say)

this is Tulum, what a beautiful place
(Mayan ruins right on a cliff by the big blue)

dinner for two
a few couples enjoyed a romantic evening here
under the stars....
(must have been nice)

So there you have it, some more images to share with you all.... you feel like you went on vacation with us??? :)

p.s. please excuse the dirt all over my camera lens.... I wasn't really paying attention...

love... peace... joy...

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

the game...

So here we were... players, coaches, referees, parents, and family members,
gathered on a Sunday afternoon
(the first day that the smoke had actually cleared up),
all there for one purpose... to remember a great coach, and to honor him by
playing a clean game, to have fun and play from the heart.
T-shirt were made especially for this event for the player to wear
that said:
"In memory of coach Jerry Mansourian
September 6, 2009"

a moment of silence before the game

I took the place of coach Jerry for an
after game snapshot.... this will remain in our
hearts forever...

loyal coach Jerry fans
(thanks Mardy for making these t-shirts and in Gag's fave color)

a jersey was signed by all the players
for us to take home and remember this day by

and here I am... filled with tears of joy and pain.
I wore Gag's favorite cap (which still smells like him).

He always wore a cap on the field, so one day
when he showed up without one... the kids (10 at the time)
were surprised.... one of them yelled out....
"But coach... you're bald!"
what a good laugh we all had that day...

So glad I had enough battery power to at least take a few shots. The special moment of the event though was at snack time, after the game, as I gathered everyone to thank them for putting together this great event... I wanted to make sure that they knew what a memorable day this was for us, and how deeply they touched our hearts, and how proud the coach would be of them.

A few coaches had some things to share as well about the way Gag was on and off the field, and what an important part of the organization he was. So, I wanted to hear from the boys, and asked if any of them had a fond memory with the coach that they would like to share... and what happened was amazing... one by one they got up and told a story or two about this coach they loved so much.... It was truly an honor to be there, and to hear everyone talk about Gag with such high regard, I think it was even more important for our boys to hear all this about their dad. Arman did play that day... and just as I had thought, it motivated him to play this season, and that makes me very happy and I'm sure makes dad very proud.

Gag was there... we could feel him walking up and down the field watching the game he loved... played the way he would have wanted.

I guess we will take part in this seasons games once again... looking forward to our weekends on the field.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

getting harder....

The past couple of weeks have been pretty tough... it seems like just when we feel strong enough to stand again.... there is yet another milestone to cross. The vacation, as lovely as it was, still reminded us that he's missed tremendously. Then came our anniversary, which was a pretty tough day, we were flying back that day, and all through the flight I kept thinking....who would have though... 17 years ago we were dancing, enjoying that happy day together... and here we were, the boys and I flying back alone from a trip, having just lost him....

Then of course came his birthday just a few days later, and that only cut into the wounds deeper, reassuring us all that.... no doubt he is gone forever from our lives. Yes, he is in our hearts and has left many good memories to cherish....but he is no longer with us, we can no longer hold him or sit and talk to him.

The game on Sunday, once again as great of an event as it was to celebrate the achievements he's had and the many lives he's touched.... was again a reminder of the void that's left. To hear all the young players and the coaches talk about how he made a difference in that organization was a great honor for all of us and yet again cut into the wounds, making them ever more deeper and the pain even more horrendous.

So, as we try and move forward and try to heal these wounds, we will time and time again be reminded of this giant loss in our lives, and that only makes things harder to accept. How can we nurse these wounds and mend our broken hearts with the constant milestones that remind us of how great of a man he was and how tough the road ahead without him will be....

This path seems to get only harder and harder to walk....

As promised I will do a post about the game and what a great event it was, how wonderful of a time was had, how heart warming a words were said.... and how deep of a pain was felt by all.
But, for today... I had to let you all know how I was feeling and needed to get this out.

Once again thanks for lending me an ear and a shoulder to cry on with my constant flow of tears...


Sunday, September 6, 2009

something special

Tomorrow at 4pm at the Glendale Sports Complex, where we've had many futball (soccer for all you yanks :) games headed by Coach Jerry, something special will take place.

Some 37 young boys have volunteered their time on this long weekend to play a friendly game to honer their coach. All of these boys have at one point or another been coached by Gagik. The soccer organization and some of the coaches who have worked with him have put this together, I'm so touched by this event.

It will be a difficult day for all of us, as I step on that field, all the memories of past games will come into mind, the way he would pace back and fourth on the side lines yelling out instructions, and the post game "high fives" between the boys and him.... Arman will be participating in this game as well, and I'm sure it will be an emotional game for him too, but I know he will play with his heart for dad.

I will be without my camera tomorrow (I've left my battery charger in Mexico, so till they ship it back to me... I'm stuck with no toy), this may be a good thing.. I love the game with a passion and I'll be sitting on my chair, just enjoying this special game tomorrow. Watching the little faces that have grown into young teen boys, playing the game that coach has given so many pointers on.... I know he's touched their lives in so many ways in the past years, and tomorrow their young heart will touch our lives forever. I'm so grateful for that.

The following weekend will mark the beginning of the new season, it will be the first in eleven years which we will not take part in. We loved this time of the year, a game every Saturday, which meant a late Friday night for the coach. I can just see him now, sitting in the balcony, going over line-up card and game plan, rearranging the players over and over again. He loved this game, and he loved coaching, I can honestly say it was one of his greatest passions in life. He'll be enjoying the game tomorrow as well, except he will probably have the best seat in the house.

I'll post the details of the game and the images on my mind from tomorrow.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend...

Thursday, September 3, 2009

the things we saw (part 1)

the beach in the morning light

surrounded by beauties like this

the view from our balcony

Mayan woman selling hand made handkerchiefs

ball court at Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza
(Arman calls this one "Apocalypto")

a little dancing show after the tour

Hope you enjoyed, I'll have some more up next week.

love... peace... joy...

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Happy 49th Gagik

Today is his birthday, and interestingly enough it fell on a Wednesday this year (you all know how I feel about Wednesdays...) so a tough day ahead.. and an even tougher night behind me.

I didn't get much sleep last night, just too much pain and tears. I tried very hard to remember the great moments we've shared together and the many happy occasions we've enjoyed.... but the only images that haunted me all night as my tears soaked into the pillow, were of his last days. The pain he endured, the falls he took, the fear in his eyes, the horror he must have felt knowing the end is so near.

I've tried, in the past month or so, not to think of those days as they give me so much pain, so it looks like they all came to me at once... I guess I had to face them someday. As I look back now and think about those moments, it hurts so much.... all I can think of is how terrifying it must have been for him... to feel yourself deteriorate like that... to know that you're leaving this world and everyone you love behind.... And he never once talked about it, or even showed what he was feeling inside.... and all that was done for us. As I've said before, I always tried to be strong for him and he was always protecting me and the boys,and everyone else around him, so that we don't feel the hell that he was in. So much strength... can a person really be that strong?

The memory of his last gaze is imprinted in my mind forever.... I can never forget that moment we shared just a few hours before he flew away. He wasn't awake too much the last few days, and when we moved him that day he opened his eyes (I'm so glad I was next to him that very moment), I got very close and looked right into his eyes, they looked dazed and distant...but I knew he could see and hear me and I spoke to him from my heart as he gazed deeply into my eyes... I knew that he was happy to see my smiling face one last time, I made sure that this would be the last image on his mind and not of my crying, sad eyes. I'm happy to have been able to give him that and happy to have had the chance to say my last loving words to him. And then he was gone....

I spoke to his mom last night, and the images that played in her mind all day yesterday were of the day she gave birth to him... the hours of labor... the happy moments after birth, the excitement of his dad knowing he just had a son. For a mother it's an entirely different kind of pain... the years you spent nurturing that child, the years of bringing him up through difficult times, to see him grow into a great man and to endure the pain of his death before yours.... that is unimaginable....

I guess she was there during his entrance into this world... and I was there for his exit...

I had planned to share some happy stories with you all on this day.... but this is what I'm feeling today....

Happy Birthday my love, we miss you ever more today than any other day...