Have you ever been on a Blind Date?

I was slightly nervous.  My hands were a little clammy.  I was out of my comfort zone.

I was also curious and looking forward to this Blind Date 

I have had the opportunity to meet many new people in my life.  This was different.  This was a first for me.  I was meeting someone face to face when we had only communicated in cyberspace.  

          Spoiler alert:  Donna is even nicer and more interesting In Real Life!

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Donna   Retirement Reflections  and I initially met last Fall, when I was reading anniversary stories on WordPress blogs.  I was deeply moved by her beautiful letter to her husband, a gift of words.   A Love Letter    When I found out that Donna and Richard lived on Vancouver Island, I knew we were destined to meet.  I believe that our paths were meant to cross.  I believe in synchronicity.

As many of you know, Donna and her husband Richard are preparing to hike   La Via Francigena   this Summer.   Monday nights include a two hour drive each way into Victoria to attend Italian lessons.

Donna and I had arranged to meet before the class at a restaurant called “Victoria Sushi.”  

An initial big, warm hug was followed by over an hour of non-stop talking about many topics. 

We talked about blogging in general.  Bloggers know the challenges of writing, editing, revising and critiques.  We know the feeling of vulnerability when we share our stories.  

We shared personal stories.  Donna has led a varied and interesting life with adventures in many exotic locations. I always look forward to opening my inbox and reading Donna’s stories. They make me laugh.   Bear Attack!!    They inspire me to be a better person and a better writer.

Early on I recognized Donna’s warmth, kindness, intelligence and wit through her posts and her comments. Donna has a supportive and kind comment for everyone.  She has a gift for recognizing and validating the core message and underlying emotions in a story.

I know that Donna has a large following of bloggers that admire and respect her.  I am one of the lucky few that have had the privilege of meeting Donna In Real Life.

 I had the opportunity to see her face light up when she talks about her family.  I saw how she smiled at Richard when he entered the room.  I can see why they will be celebrating their twentieth anniversary next year.

 

 

 

I enjoy this positive corner of the internet.  I have met many like-minded individuals.  I have also met people with diverse interests and different perspectives. You have enriched my life on many levels.  I live vicariously through your adventures and photos.  You make me laugh. You inspire me with your stories, your writing, your wisdom. 

I have also made friends along the way.

If you have the opportunity, I highly recommend you go on a Blind Date with a fellow blogger.  You will not regret it.  

Especially when you meet someone as genuine and kind as Donna.

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Postscript:   “Outtakes” 

I always have a lot of material to condense when I write. Since I enjoy watching outtakes, I decided to add a few notes.  aka “my inside voice 

  • Donna sent me links to past meet ups with fellow bloggers.  In the photos I see bottles of wine on the table and glowing cheeks on the bloggers.  Thank goodness for Marty’s timely wine post.   Snakes in the Grass   We can stay within a budget. fullsizeoutput_7768
  • Do I warn my husband about my computer history?  I did research “blind dates” and “what are the ten best dating sites in Canada?”
  • Re: IRL.  Susan’s   Swooning Grace   comment on Donna’s Retirement Reflections blog  made me smile. “Is IRL a secret code word among bloggers? ha ha.”  I am naive about the blogosphere, too.  I saw IRL a few times before I figured out the meaning.  Susan, you also made me cry on the same day you made me smile.  I read your beautiful post,   Tribute to a Father
  • In the age of Marvel comics and superheroes, Kindness is a quality that supersedes all of the other powers.  Thank you Donna, and all of the bloggers that continue to make this community fun. 

How do you teach children about death?

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Part one – January 23, 2018

Coincidence?

This afternoon, sad, teary-eyed Sadie shared with me that her fish had died.  She had this fish since she was born. 

Children often bring up topics when you are unprepared and you least expect it.  I looked at it as an opportunity to discuss death with a four year old.  

“Everyone and every living thing dies.  It is normal to feel sad.  Love for each other never dies.  Memories live on.  It is good to share your feelings.”  The usual things we say.

Questions from Sadie included:  “Was her fish in outer space?  Was my Dad in outer space?”  She was aware that my Dad had died many years ago.  

I told Sadie that I really wasn’t sure where her fish is and where my Dad is. We talked about heaven.

Sadie wanted to see pictures of my Dad.  I opened up the file on my computer from my last visit with my Dad.  My Dad was very compromised, elderly and in ill health.

Sadie noticed the Christmas decorations in the background.  She asked whether he had died at Christmas.  I told her, no.  Some time in January.

The hair rose on my arms.

I hunted down his memorial script.  May 4, 1929 – January 23, 2007.

A sob escapes my throat.

Coincidence?

 

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Part two – May 4, 2019

Sadie is now five years old.  One year older and one year wiser.

After a long, fun-filled day,  we were waiting for Sadie’s Mom to arrive to take her home.

                    This time I received an extra long hug.  She wouldn’t let go.

Then she said “I don’t want to forget you.  I looked at her and she had tears in her eyes.

I paused.  Where did this come from?  Does she know something I don’t know?

I was taken aback.  I didn’t have time to prepare an answer.  I said what I think are appropriate things to say to a five year old.  “You won’t forget me.  I will never forget you.  You will always be in my heart.”  I was a little emotional, too, although I tried my best to hide these feelings.

I get it.  I also don’t want to forget.

Memories surface around special holidays.  This year my Dad would have turned 90 years old on his birthday.

A few of my memories: 

  • I remember how birthdays were always a big deal in our house.  We always celebrated with a Black Forest Cake.
  • I remember how my Dad valued an education. On a very limited income,  he purchased the entire Encyclopedia Brittanica.  We would actually read these books on a daily basis. 
  • I remember how he was a gadget person.  The latest knives, blenders, recording devices, projectors, movie cameras.  We also had the first black and white tv on the block.
  • I still get misty-eyed when I hear a song from the Sound of Music, the first movie I saw with my Dad.
  • Most of all I remember the family values my Dad instilled in all of his children.  To him, love was a verb.  He showed us every day how much he cared about us. He loved children and unfortunately he did not have a chance to meet his amazing great grandchildren. 

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Memories can fade.  We will forget details about our loved ones, especially grandparents that may have left us many years ago.  We may have only a hazy recollection of events.

Sadie had questions about death and about my Dad in Part 1 of this story. 

How do we teach children about death?

When we have the privilege of spending time with children, we quickly realize that we will learn far more from children than they will learn from us.

Sadie taught me that it is okay to ask the hard questions. It is okay to love someone and be afraid of losing them.  It is okay to have tears in your eyes.

Sadie taught me that sometimes the only answer you really want is a very long hug and not let go.

Epilogue

A few weeks ago I was making some notes outside the yoga studio, waiting for my class to begin.  I was debating on whether I would write and share this story.  I walked into the studio and I met a friend who was telling me about her upcoming birthday plans.  I asked her what day is her birthday?  She said, May 4th.

Today would have been my Dad’s 90th birthday, May 4th.

Coincidence?

 

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