Vincent John Salvati – died one year ago today

It’s hard to believe a whole year has passed since my nephew died of an overdose of opioids and God-only-knows what else.

Before the drug use, he was a bright, somewhat shy and intelligent young man. This is how I remember him because I didn’t see him during his four years of using.

His mother (my sister) didn’t make his life easy and he struggled with her demons and well as his own.

As time has passed, I find myself longing for solitude.

I also find myself angry.

Angry at me for not doing more to help him.

Angry at his mother for never being everything she could have been.

Angry at his father for trying so hard to protect him that he failed to give him the tools to cope with life’s struggle.

Angry at the incredible lack of meaning so many have in their lives.

And yet, all of this is in God. God weeps as I weep.

And another year begins.

Please Quit Facebook

I’ve quit Facebook.  Here’s a high level overview of why; read the link below for specifics.  Then ask yourself why anyone in the right mind would participate in it.

Remember, this isn’t just about the technical stuff. By staying on Facebook, you’re granting them permission to collect and use information about you, regardless if you even using the Internet. And by staying on, the data they collect on you gets used to create models about your closest friends and family, even the ones who opted out.

 
http://saintsal.com/facebook/

My sister Regina

My sister would have been 58 years old today.

She died May 22, 2014.

We didn’t always get along, and you certainly couldn’t describe our relationship as close.

Yet I feel a huge hole in my heart.

She was my baby sister.

She told me I abandoned her when I left home at age 16 (I was afraid of our father’s anger; and I made him angry).

Sad.

She’s about 5 in this picture taken at Echo Park in Los Angeles, CA around 1962.Regina-EchoParkLake-good

 

 

Jan 1, 2015

This year is starting off with my commuter car in the shop.  I love my little Prius but I’m afraid it may very well need a new HV battery (thousands of dollars from what I’ve read).

We shall see.

The interior work on our home continues; we now have all new interior six panel doors.  And we have a new garage entry door as well.  They look absolutely beautiful!

The door installers needed me to empty out the pantry and the hall closet so I’m also starting off the year with an organized pantry.  We tossed out lots of old expired food.

Tomorrow is a work day for me; I’ll be the only staff person in our division there so it will be a quiet, productive day.

Praying that 2015 will be a year of healing, health and growth.

 

Good bye 2014; Welcome 2015

It seems quite fitting after the most challenging year of my recent memory that my commuter car ends this day with every possible warning light illuminated on the dash (having it towed to the best mechanic on the planet tomorrow Central Avenue Automotive Inc).

I’ve learned so much about life and death this past year. I will always cherish the memories of my only nephew Vincent, and my only sister Regina.

I’ve grown so much as a human being, and am so ready to grow some more.

With open arms I’m ready for 2015.

Happy New Year to all. May 2015 bring peace, happiness and evolution of our species.

Thanksgiving 2014

In 1990, I was recently divorced and living in the Seattle area. With no family near, I tried to do the societal thing and cook a turkey for Thanksgiving; it was less-than successful as my sons hated turkey and I hated cooking.

Something needed to change if we were going to have a holiday where we could reflect on our blessings and enjoy each others company.

The following year I decided we need to establish our own family Thanksgiving ritual. To honor each other, we each picked a movie and then we would go out to eat. During our meal, we would reflect on the past year and share.

This past year has been one of the most challenging for us.

I’m thankful my sons Matt and Ryan are home. I’m thankful I have a good job. I’m thankful for deep and abiding friendships. I’m thankful I have good health.

Gratitude

Purpose

After being laid off a year ago, I knew I was at a cross-road.  I initially focused on getting the health care I needed before my insurance ended.  Then I dedicated myself to finding meaningful work.

Frightened of what may come, I struggled to make the house payment using what little savings I had.  I went through waves of overwhelming fear and depression.  Who hires a 59 year old woman in this economy???

Recognizing the opportunity in front of me, I submitted my application to volunteer at Evergreen Hospice while also looking for work full time.  I went to the hospice volunteer interview and completed the health requirements (which were extensive).

Having lost my only brother at a very young age and both parents a while ago, I knew that coming to terms with my mortality was important for my spiritual growth.

After about four months of being unemployed, I accepted a local offer for a good position.  Feeling relieved and glad to get back to work, I planned a short solo road trip retreat.

Then my life took an even harsher turn.  My only nephew overdosed and died in early February 2014.  Three months later, my only sister died.

I had just started my new job so I postponed my hospice volunteer training.  Then I had to postpone it again when work required 60 hours each week.  I also needed to get probate going and fulfill my sister’s last wishes.

Today I finally went to Day One of my hospice volunteer training and I felt emotionally overwhelmed.  It felt like I belonged and had come home.  A full day tomorrow and then again next Saturday and I’ll be ready to begin my one year volunteer commitment.

Doing this is my purpose.  I can’t begin to explain the intensity of finally knowing my post-child raising path.

Feeling blessed beyond imagination.

Blessed

 

 

 

 

Death

As I prepare to take my sister’s cremated remains to New York for interment near her son Vincent, it hit me how our life ends compressed into 9 inch X 7 inch X 5 inch box.

In my guest bedroom, I have items I brought home after clearing out my sister’s rental house.  Her important papers, photos and jewelry she treasured, collectible things she got when our father died; those kinds of things we think we need to keep.

One of the things I brought home is a huge, framed professional photo of her in her wedding dress.  She was such a beautiful bride.  She was always so photogenic too.

Then I looked over at the box of her cremated remains and I had to sit down.

Regina-Wedding-Cremated8-31-2014

What does it mean to live a meaningful life?

When this experience of mortality ends, how do I want to be remembered?