Here are some passages of life I’ve found here and there. Some hit home more than others. I hope you enjoy them.
Today, after a 72 hour shift at the fire station, a woman ran up to me at the grocery store and gave me a hug. When I tensed up, she realized I didn’t recognize her. She let go with tears of joy in her eyes and the most sincere smile and said, “On 9-11-2001, you carried me out of the World Trade Center.”
Today, at the age of 70, my grandfather graduated from college with a bachelor’s degree in business studies. He’s been a successful business owner most of his life, but he told me he earned his degree to fulfill a promise he made to his mother before she lost her battle with cancer 50 years ago.
Today, my mom is a healthy 54 year old who successfully owns and operates a popular bakery downtown – a goal she had all her life. 15 years ago she was diagnosed with cancer. In the face of death, she quit her store clerk job, opened the bakery, started chemo therapy, and succeeded on all fronts.
Today, after I watched my dog get run over by a car, I sat on the side of the road holding him and crying. And just before he died, he licked the tears off my face.
Today, as a young ‘up and coming’ lawyer, everyone in the firm was congratulating me for winning my first big case this morning. And all day long all I could think about is how I used a technicality in the law to help a murderer walk away a free man.
Today, on our 50th wedding anniversary, she smiled at me and said, “I only wish I had met you sooner.”
Today, after 2 years of separation, my ex-wife and I resolved our differences and met for dinner. We laughed and chatted for almost 4 hours. Then just before she left, she handed me a large envelope. In it were 20 love letters she wrote me over the last 2 years. There was a post-it note on the envelope that said, “Letters I was too stubborn to send.”
Today, when I slipped on the wet tile floor a boy in a wheelchair caught me before I slammed my head on the ground. He said, “Believe it or not, that’s almost exactly how I injured my back 3 years ago.”
Today, someone else’s tragedy provided the miracle my family had prayed for. Thanks to this stranger, my dad will have a heart. It’s so odd to think that an accidental death just saved his life.
Today marks the ten year anniversary of the day when I slapped him and screamed at him remorselessly for not letting me in the bathroom after we ate breakfast. That moment also marks the positive turning point in my battle with Bulimia. I think he saved my life that day.
Today at 7AM I woke up feeling ill, but decided I needed the money, so I went in to work. At 3PM I got laid off. On my drive home I got a flat tire. When I went into the trunk for the spare, it was flat too. A man in a BMW pulled over, gave me a ride, we chatted, and then he offered me a job. I start tomorrow.
Today, I was working in a coffee shop when 2 gay men walked in holding hands. As you might expect, heads started turning. Then a young girl at the table next to me asked her mom why 2 men were holding hands. Her mom replied, “Because they love each other.”
Today, after the funeral, I went back to my parent’s empty house – the house I grew up in. As I gazed around in awe of all the great memories we made in it, I noticed an old photo of my parent’s in their 20’s sitting on the coffee table. In my father’s handwriting, across the back was written, “In this moment, we were infinite.”
Today, as I walked away from the airport gate alone with my head held high and eyes beet red from crying, I knew at that moment what it meant to be a military wife.
Today, a lady walked up to me in the gym and asked me to give her some workout pointers. She said, “You look incredible! Watching you gradually tone-up and progress in here has become my primary inspiration to get in shape.” It made me smile because I’ve struggled with my weight since I was 15.
Today, my grandpa died. As I was crying and telling my grandma how sorry I was, she said, “Let’s stop being so sad and instead celebrate the 80 wonderful years he was alive… 60 of which he spent with me.”
Today, as my father, three brothers, and two sisters stood around my mother’s hospital bed, my mother uttered her last coherent words before she died. She simply said, “I feel so loved right now. We should have gotten together like this more often.”
Today, my richest friend growing up filed for bankruptcy and one of my poorest friends growing up purchased his second vacation home.
Today, I pulled into a small gas station in the middle of the desert in New Mexico and realized I had left my wallet at my girlfriends house 5 hours away. I had no money and barely enough gas to make it another mile down the road. The only other person that stopped for gas was a burly looking trucker. I was a bit reluctant, but I asked him for some spare change for gas. Instead he filled my tank and said, “Someone did this for me a few years ago.”
Today, I was all dressed up and waiting on my blind date to arrive. He never showed up. It made me feel ugly. I thought he may have seen me from a distance and bailed. Then as I left the restaurant alone, I heard a little girl ask her mom if I was a princess. It made me smile.
Today, while I was driving my grandfather to his doctor’s appointment, I complained about hitting 2 red lights in a row. My grandfather chuckled and said, “You always complain about the red lights, but you never celebrate the green ones.”
Today in downtown San Diego, I watched a blue collar Mexican man get harassed for being Mexican. It was a blatant act of discrimination. And the man actually began crying. As he left the office building, he took off his jacket. His t-shirt underneath read, “I love the USA!”
Today, at a jazz club in San Francisco I saw a man and woman enjoying a drink together. The woman was a dwarf and the man must have been 6 feet tall. Later in the evening they went out onto the dance floor. The man got down on his knees so they could slow dance together. They danced the rest of the night.
Today, I was the maid of honor in her wedding. Four years ago she was declared cancer free. Eight years ago, during our senior year of college, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and told she had eighteen months to live.
Today, I received a gigantic gift bag from one of my friends. She said she appreciated me being there for her, and that I am one of her best friends. She is mentally and physically handicapped, and I merely see her for half an hour once per week.
Today, my close friend died unexpectedly in a car accident. A cab driver saw me crying outside the hospital all alone at 3AM. He stopped, helped me into the cab, drove me to my house 30 miles away and refused to let me pay him.
Today, I kissed my dad on the forehead as he passed away in a small hospital bed. About 5 seconds after he passed, I realized it was the first time I had given him a kiss since I was a little boy.
I can remember the last time I kissed my father as if it were just yesterday.
He drove me to school. St Anns. I think I was nine or ten, and when he stopped the car to drop me off on the corner between the church and the school instead of the normal kiss I had given his cheek for so many years (I can still feel his freshly shaven face stubble against my lips) I reached for his hand and shook it.
We all grow up and sometimes way too fast for our own good, but the part of this story for me that really hurts about the memory is that on September 17th, 2013 it will be one year since my father, William R. Dufrane passed away peacefully in his sleep to be with the only woman he ever loved . . . my mother.