by: Joelle Charbonneau
The New Year is approaching fast. Normally, I looked to the new year with a sense of excitement and anticipation. There are so many possibilities. I am always anxious to see what the year will bring. This year I am finding it hard to look forward. I know there are great things coming. I have two books coming out this year. My son will be doing all sorts of wonderful and exciting things. There are stories to write, songs to sing and life to be lived to its fullest. And yet, I find myself clinging to the old year and wishing I could go back. Not far. Just a few days. Just to last week or maybe the week before. I just want one last moment of this past year to fully appreciate what I had and now have lost.
Last Tuesday night, my father-in-law, Joe Blanco, suffered a severe
aneurysm. Wednesday morning some friends arrived at his house to see him and grew concerned when he didn’t answer the door or the phone. They called 911 and found my father-in-law unconscious. He was rushed to the hospital, but there was nothing that could be done. On Thursday, we were forced to say goodbye.
To say that his passing was unexpected is both true and untrue. Dad B was a walking miracle. Over 16 years ago, he had a heart transplant that gave him a second chance at life. And boy did he use it. He retired from his high powered consulting job and began to teach. He worked with special needs college students. He revived a struggling homeless shelter program at his local church and founded a second one at a different church. He worked on breast cancer walks. He volunteered to drive seniors to their doctor appointments. He sang in two different vocal groups. The list goes on and on. But more important than all of that – Joe loved his family.
Nothing was more important to him than spending time with his family. We saw him only two days before he collapsed. We talked to him that night. Yes, we knew that at any moment the gift he had been given 16 years before could be taken away and yet- we thought somehow he would live forever. Maybe because we needed him to.
And now he is gone and time marches on. A new year approaches….a year he will not ring in. A year he will not be making resolutions for. A year he will only live in our memories. And I don’t want the year to come.
And yet – I know he would not want time to slow down for him. He believed that each day was a gift. I owe it to him to embrace the new year with joy and hope…not with sorrow. And I will try. Today, I will sing at his funeral and say one final goodbye to the man who held my hand when my own father died and did his best to fill that hole left in my heart. And tomorrow I will do my best to look to the future with hope and happiness because that is what he would have wanted.
So to my Stiletto family I say – may 2012 bring you great hope and great joy. And may you remember that every day of that year no matter how frustrating or unhappy is a gift to be treasured.