Caught in the ACT out

Erin, my eldest daughter, would write me love notes, hug and kiss me until she became a teenager. When she, Megan, my second daughter, and I drove across America in 1986, to camp and hike in as many national parks as possible for one month…I ask her what it is about me you don’t like Erin?

“Your general attitude.” She couldn’t or wouldn’t be more specific.

I missed her loving affections, and being a green Marriage and Family Therapist, I was bound and determined to have my loving demonstrative daughter back. I wanted to understand and heal our relationship.

It wasn’t until we were in therapy together, learning that having a boyfriend move in when she was 15, is when I saw and felt her hurt…so deeply when she said, “I won’t give you the satisfaction of forgiving you.”

Throughout Erin’s 20s, 30s, and 40s, we continued open and honest conversations like asking her “What can I do better to improve our relationship?”

In 2020, she says you can listen better and not think your way is right. I catch Erin saying, “It’s all about mom,” periodically throughout the years.  In May 2021, while Dave, my spiritual husband, myself, and Erin were hiking, Erin states that she will wear a mask although the mask mandate has been lifted for those who are vaccinated, for the welfare of the community. I say that I won’t wear a mask to reduce the fear in our community. Erin’s retort: “It’s all about mom.”

 

ONLY ONE BROTHER

 

It is 2000 when Eric and I hike to the floor of the Grand Canyon with a guided group of 12. We each carry back packs in the day and sleep together in a tent for two for a week. I feel we became closer, which was electrified when Eric says on the last day to all of the group: “It wasn’t so bad with my sister, after all.”

Presently, we’ve packed up our friendship since 2016, when I’m open as Father Sky, and Eric hides out in the canyon of fear of intimacy. How can I say this?

I am a Marriage and Family Therapist who helps clients design open hearts of vulnerability, while Eric designs buildings, very successfully.

Sadly, he uninvites me to his home after I write of my nephew’s incarceration in my yearly New Years letter to family and good friends. On Thanksgiving when 20 or more family members gather together, Eric is friendly, tolerating my hugs and I love you. A yearly exception.

Yearly, I sing Happy Birthday to Eric’s voicemail; in 2021 I also text: Happy Birthday Bro! coming from South Carolina visiting Dave’s (my husband) brother…see the dolphins and Magnolia Plantation here (photos). We could stop by tomorrow if you are open to it…sending you love!

To my surprise, Eric texts: Thanks for the birthday greetings. Tomorrow is complicated because of plans that we have made. Have a safe trip.

I respond: Have a fun birthday…care to share your plans? Eric: We are going on a helicopter ride above Baltimore. Me: Have fun! Reserve August 14th weekend to see me parachute fly for my 75th birthday. The whole gang will be here. I send a video of Blue Suck waterfall😊 which Dave and I had hiked to that day.

(A Suck is a whirlpool, a fitting metaphor for us as brother and sister?)

 

 

 

Losing my sister

 

After 73 years together, I find it difficult to write half-sister. I believe it is the first time. We are born one year and four days apart, sharing a bedroom until I am 16, she 15, when we move to our new house. Not really a home, feeling alone, more than I consciously knew back then.

It was at our home, my mother yells, “He’s not your father!” a shock that reverberates to this day as most traumatic. It wasn’t until I become a Marriage and Family Therapist that I am able to retrieve the memory of what I did after hearing those heart-shattering words.

I had run down the stairs, outdoors, sat on the swing dad had made for his three children, alone. I must have cried, I still do.

Mainly, because my trust was broken, the TRUTH being hidden…and WHY I become loudly passionate like a trumpeting elephant about telling the TRUTH – insisting it be top priority, to know you, to know me. To love you, to love me.

As a ten-year-old I began questioning the truth of the bible I was raised to believe is the word of god, literally. How can a loving god send you to the lake of fire -hell- if you don’t accept Jesus as your savior? I fought with my spirit to own, trust myself.

I fought with my sister, Constance, by chasing her around our bedroom, hands held high as if a vulture aiming to grab her.

At our 2018 Thanksgiving family get-together at my brother’s house in Washington DC, the morning after a fun delicious sharing of food and memories, Constance yells something like: “You scared me; chasing me with your claws in the air, me crying. You never said you’re sorry. I didn’t deserve that!”

I stand in the kitchen dumbfounded, listening to her rageful pain, quiet. Understanding how I had acted out my ten-year-old helplessness and fear. (We had talked about our pain more than once as adults and I had apologized.)

As adults we had become closer despite me leaving our family’s religious beliefs behind in 1984, which she still clings to. After she moves to Florida from Vestal, NY in 2010, leaving me in Ithaca, NY, where we were raised, I happily fly to Tampa, Florida each March, being the only family member to accompany her visit to her son in prison. (Constance has five children).

Because I am more open to share our lives with family and friends, Constance has chosen to disinvite our spring visits since 2018. Our friendly weekly texts have dwindled to monthly, me continuing to be the initiator, reflecting our historical dynamic.

Sadly, she chooses the fear of her religion as her security; I choose the loving spirit of my ten-year-old, happily.

 

 

Bread without a B or Love

 

I notice that removing the B from the word Bread, is my second favorite daily practice, to read before rising from my bed after a good night’s sleep. Many times, it is to read The SUN – this month’s poem In the Middle is fitting for me as a golden girl in love with Dave for six months, having met while swimming laps in Skaneateles Lake, after eating my favorite slice of hot pizza – garlic – bread.

The garlic bread I prepare for mt first-born daughter, Erin’s’ 50th birthday dinner is insignificant compared to the “lasagna with love” I create from scratch. The bread is made by Wegmans. The lasagna is mixed on my stove, layered into a heart-shaped pan I recently bought at an estate sale. I am surprised how happy and pleased I feel to be cooking a full meal, as it has been some years now.

It is a well-worn saying that one cannot live by bread alone. Yet I drive daily to Wegmans for my favorite morning eats, a fresh hot bagel, not needing any condiments. Not even spread with butter which I love. Sometimes, I arrive too late or too early for the 27 grain, sesame, poppy, blueberry, or cinnamon-raisin bagel to be hot out of the oven; the bakers have seen me for years, and most are happy to warm up my choice of the day.

Wearing Covid-19 masks makes it difficult to eat while in the store; still, I sneak my mask down for a warm bite. And replace. Bite. And replace. Bite. And replace.

 

 

SUMMER JOB WITH DAD

 

 

       It is the summer before my senior year when I will obtain my BSN (bachelors and RN in nursing), then being licensed as an LPN (licensed practical nurse.) My parents are living apart, and I am truly happy about it. As I am that they chose to marry, falling in love, “forever yours” as my mother wrote on a card to my dad, as they floated back to America after serving in WWII. If not for my mother’s adventurous spirit and my dad’s loving and courageous soul, my parents would never have met, dad being mom’s patient on the ship Huddleston.

As many relationships do, it fell apart with mom demeaning dad, despite her being a born-again Christian. All of dad’s family remained in his birth village, Dreis, Germany, so I took on the role of defender. Mom and I fought regularly whenever she criticized him or humiliated him in front of company.

Dad was a very present father, making us three kids a huge swing set, building us a club house, giving us baths, playing badminton with me after supper together, reading us bedtime stories – I could go on and on. Mom took good care of us physically, he did emotionally, nurturing us with Sunday hikes into nature where he carved a whistle out of a willow branch. (It presently sits on my blanket box in my living room). Every weekend I hike to waterfalls because of my dad’s love of nature and me.

Every week during college (and early in my marriage) I could count on a handwritten letter from my dad to be in my mailbox. My box of approximately 143 letters is my most precious possession!

The summer of 1968, I was happy to live with dad, to have him drive me to my summer nursing job, at Tompkins County Hospital (now Cayuga Medical Center) and to pick me up! with his welcoming smile and eyes of love.

 

 

 

 

 

IN the WOODS

 

Woods and waterfalls are like twins for me and Dave to hold hands with as we wander through creek beds. My best friend Gaylee used to guide my way to new waterfalls by way of her book, 200 Waterfalls in Western and Central New York. She died of cancer in 2019, leaving me with only the book to show me the way.

On a hot July day 2020, I find myself near Skaneateles Lake, and decide to take the plunge. In a life-guarded roped-off area I am swimming laps when a man’s head approaches me with “Hello, what a beautiful day for a swim!” and joins me with parallel strokes of arms and conversation.

That was five months ago, and I am still shocked by how we met, adding to a slow beginning of cozy conversation on the beach; then waiting three weeks for his text to arrive. Our first waterfall trek through woods was to Eternal Flame Falls: an obvious premonition.

On September 21st, we hiked 2.2 miles round trip through oaks, sycamores, and maples into creek beds to find 120-foot-high Warsaw Falls where we eat a picnic lunch of garden-fresh tomato and onion sandwiches, a Wings of Life salad, and Sun chips. Our dessert is kissing passionately as the water falls gracefully, reminding me of telling Dave, “I am falling in love with you,” at the foot of Barnes Creek Falls September 4th. (It wasn’t until October at Platts Cove Falls found in the Catskills, that I would feel safe enough to arouse Dave into a ‘woody’😊 because he especially likes kissing outdoors in nature.)

It was on our return from Warsaw Falls that we found my locked Jeep, with no keys to be found. Luckily, I had left the windows down far enough that Dave could manually unlock. I felt dismayed not only because I may have lost the keys in the woods by falling out of my backpack – but because my name, Dianea, was specially carved into the wood grain of the key ring by a craftsman. (I had six other similar key rings crafted with family members or friends’ names along with mine over a decade ago.) The extra set of car keys were in my glove compartment, so my grieving was souly sentimental.

Three months later, December 19th, (spiritually married as of Halloween), we are creating “our” apartment in Depew, buying mostly from estate sales. At one stop, I am craving grapes which I knew I had brought from Ithaca; I search the Jeep’s back floor, under the passenger seat, and then under the driver’s seat. My eyes do not believe what they see. My wooden-carved lost key ring!  Like a kid, I am extremely excited when I yell out “Look Dave what I found!”

Although I am only with Dave on weekends:

I lose my keys when with Dave.

I find my keys when with Dave.

The Universe has confirmed when our LOVE is meant to be.

 

 

 

GETTING STARTED…in LOVE

Still startled. Still surprised. Still somewhat shocked. How can someone meet for the first time while swimming? It is a hot July day as I hunt for waterfalls near Skaneateles Lake. It is a passion for me to hike to those undiscovered in Central and Western New York for the past ten years, as I live in an abundant valley of waterfalls; why Ithaca is Gorges is a bumper sticker.

My best friend, Gaylee’s book has been our faithful guide to many exceptional waterfalls until her death May 3, 2019, so now I am solo. I find Skaneateles Lake inviting me to swim laps, where lifeguards ensure our safety. But not from a man who walks out to where I swim back and forth, he saying, “Hello,” with the usual comments about the beauty of clear water cooling us down. Really? He swims back and forth trying to keep up our friendly conversation, while only seeing one another’s heads.

I do not remember a spark of attraction until we walk into shore, me gazing at his broad tan shoulders, muscular arms, and long legs of ideal masculine form. We sit on the grass close enough to foster communication and my knowing attraction. I learn he is on vacation with his wife, their marriage rocky. That morning he had found a waterfall nearby saying, “I could show you.” My disappointed voice replies, “I would if you were not married. I am attracted to you which is rare for me.”

He says he wants to come to Ithaca to check out waterfalls. I smile as I say: “I would be glad to be your guide.” I write down my contact information on my older business card sporting waterfalls.

On August 17th, I have written on my calendar, Eternal Flame Falls, near Buffalo, NY. knowing Dave lives in the vicinity. I guess I was hoping unconsciously and consciously that the Design Of the Universe (DOU) will intervene – when I receive a text from Dave August 16th, that he is coming to Ithaca the next day. Would I be his guide? Silly question😊

My heart is not in my throat but ringing in my ears and widening my eyes. The next day we meet in the Eternal Flames parking lot, find each other’s sparkling eyes, as he pulls me in for our first lovely kiss. After three months together, he is separated from his wife, and we are spiritually married.

 

 

 

Ghosts can be Real?

My dad died suddenly of a heart attack (a broken heart?) when I was 31, leaving me with the greatest physical grief I have ever known until the present. My emotional grief did not really take hold until I became a Marriage and Family Therapist in 1985 and more intensely as a Primal Therapist in the early 1990s. The dam I had built was broken down during my fourth marriage to Gregory. I did not just cry buckets; I cried waterfalls like those of Niagara and Victoria.

Before this, I had contacted a reunion therapist so I could see my dad again, as I rarely dreamt of him. That person cancelled and even reading Reunions by Raymond Moody did not suffice. My past pattern to visit’s dad grave on his birthday May 4th and death day October 6th, and on Memorial Day EVOLved to monthly gravesite visits to say “I love you” out loud, which had never happened face-to-face, although it was frequently written in cards and letters.

I was flabbergasted on October 21st, 2020. I had visited dad’s grave a third time this month because I wanted a better photo of (him) framed with colored leaves, as dad gave me his great love of nature besides loving me, his non-biological daughter. I had parked my moped on the roadside, in front of the cemetery, one-half mile from my home. When I parked in my driveway, a man yells to me, “Are you okay? You looked upset coming out of the cemetery.” I was dumbfounded. How could he tell, as I still had my helmet on? “I’ve seen your moped parked there before,” says this stranger with a Covid-mask on.

I learn his name is Adam, lives nearby, and his wife who is driving their car is Kelly. We wave at one another. Adam is a young man; I am stunned to be offered a hug. We do. The coronavirus has not prevented the ghost of my dad hugging me.

FIGHTING BACK…for LOVE

 

I have FALLEN IN LOVE with a Trumpster…how can this be? Is it really true that opposites attract in this (political) fashion? I am an independent who votes progressive – meaning democratic😊

But my heart does not KNOW this.

It is magical how Dave and I met in July 2020, experiencing our first date and kiss at Eternal Flame Falls – yes, a flame exists with water pouring over it. By chance I am swimming laps in Skaneateles Lake when he comes out to swim near me and says hello. I see only his head and shoulders, which ignite an attraction. I can’t believe we continue a conversation while I continue to lap. Then, follow him out of the water, to view a 6’2” broad-shouldered, muscular-armed man that fans the embers into a flame of rare attraction.

We share a love of nature, especially waterfalls that sizzle into falling in love like the rapids of creek walks we’ve shared for a month. Our conversations are easy, until I learn of his support of Trump. Dave says, “I don’t want to argue.” Dampen our flame, I sense. “It’s good to argue, discuss, to understand one anothers point of view” I say. Respectfully.

We engage over his NRA fear if gun laws are changed, we will go down the slippery slope to no guns. I point out how Trump has pulled us out of the Climate Treaty and without BIG attention to it we will not have a livable planet. No guns needed. And if the Affordable Care Act is decimated, isn’t health care a basic right to be able to protect ourselves? To live.

Dave points out how losing jobs to immigrants and China’s cheap labor will harm Americans. Yes, economically, and these issues have been and will continue to be addressed…but what are our priorities? Dave concedes that he doesn’t like Trump’s character calling him an idiot, but what is most important is that we are able to have a constructive ‘argument.’ He agrees.

Dave is in the process of leaving an abusive marriage where his wife calls him names, says she wants to kill him, while drinking most of the day and talking to herself. All his family, even his two adult children want him to leave. I understand it is difficult to leave the home he’s known for 30 years; has built with his large carpenter-hands that warm mine along with my heart into a oneness of making love wildly and tenderly.

His open-heart surgery a year ago sent him to the eternal light of choice, fighting back for life. To live. I drive two and a half hours from Ithaca to Mockingbird Campground each weekend, to hike to various waterfalls, six weeks in love, Dave saying: “You’d drive all this way to be with me?”

“Dear delight of your father” whom I love truly more everyday

Today, September 7, 2020, Labor Day, I finally counted dad’s letters which I had estimated to be over 100 letters, sent in the late 60s and early seventies, while I was a nursing student, then graduating with a BSN and MRS. within days of each another. I was surprised to count 170 to Di, then 65 to Chuck and me.

I am crying as I read one letter addressed: Dear Di, Chuck and Pooh (1972). I had read it on May 17, 1997, as well as all the others, while in California attending the Primal Center for a year, attending individual and group therapy weekly, hoping to be certified as a Primal Therapist, already practicing as a Marriage and Family Therapist for ten years. As if digging for the oil of love: real, true, pure.

Tears write again and again, sometimes sobbing, validating how much I miss my dad’s special love (for me), he who wrote his name on my birth certificate although I am not his biologically.  I felt ‘equally’ loved to his two biological children born after me, Constance, and Eric.

WHY is it that we could not say I love you into each other’s eyes, only in letters? Or in a card on Valentine’s Day. It is remarkable that a male would be the more nurturing parent during the 1950s and 60s, as seen in the following examples reflected in his amazing creative writing, while being an astronomer. Sadness rises up my chest like a fluffy pure white cloud when I think of how extraordinary my dad is/was.

It is very difficult to choose what letters to include without writing a book. These are selections from letters usually 2-4 pages long, arriving usually weekly. (Note: that if I add my thoughts within dad’s letters, they will be italicized.)

January 17, 1967: After a long detailed description: “So it goes all day long and at times, when a day was particularly rough, or people particularly dissatisfied, having to cook our supper and do the dishes seems to be the last straw,”…”well, how are you?” (tears) Hope so much that you are well, and all is well with you. Bet I’ve picked up the phone half a dozen times to call you and it has been very difficult not to actually do it and have a little patience. A father’s concern for the well-being of his children is however as natural as breathing…however, a postcard with the simple word “well” would do a lot to set my mind and heart at ease.” I’m crying 8/25/2020, thinking such a small request from a huge heart of love, glad he could ask. This letter ends with: “Take real good care of yourself and don’t forget to eat and sleep. :)” Re-reading these letters helps me appreciate his love more and more deeply…noticing, pausing, to see he writes ‘real’ good care of yourself. He ends with: “Best of luck with your finals. Know that there is at least one guy in Ithaca, who is pulling (tears) mighty hard for you. WHY? (my internal question too) Because he loves you. Your dad”

January 5, 1967: “Our sensitivity to the hurts and needs of others – our ability to help, are so much dependent upon the hurts we ourselves have experienced, and the reliance upon Him we have developed” – both as born again Christians back then. I gave up religion in 1984. “Know however (his little sermon as he would call it), that it comes from a heart full of love for you. Your dad.”

February 14, 1967: A Valentine card reading: For you daughter, a loving Valentine because you have a charming way of growing dearer every day. He adds: “and lovelier too.” Signed: “I love you very very much” (tears)

May 19, 1969: “Even though you must be in orbit (or at least on cloud nine) yourself about now, you probably have not paid too much attention to our latest space venture. For the next one, Apollo 11 that is to make a landing on the moon, we’ve developed a special camera here at the center (Cornell Space Sciences), that one of the crew will use to take real close up pictures of things on the lunar surface with. It has a long handle with a trigger on it that will permit them to snap pictures only inches from the surface or objects without bending down. Was involved in constructing a model of it, that Apollo 11 crew are going to use during their training period prior to their flight in Houston. It is a to scale model, except that its weight is 1/6th of the actual one, to compensate for the difference in the gravity. We are also among those, that will receive a sample of the lunar surface material that they hope to bring back. All of this is very exciting and I am glad enough to be involved in this, if only in a very small way.

Time for the Salties. Have a real good day, Di and I do hope, that everything will fall into place most nicely for you. By the way, Dr. Hull read your wedding invitation from the pulpit yesterday. Love you, Di (tears) Your old Dad.”

July 9, 1969: “Dear Di and Chuck, Your lovely card arrived on Saturday and for it and all it contained, many many thanks. At times, I have been accused of being prejudiced, but it seems to me that I will have to go a ways to catch up with you, Di.” (I cried reading this 11/26/96) … “On Saturday, Connie, Heather and I went to Valois to pick cherries (my favorite summer fruit). We came back with quite a bunch of them and they are (were) as nice as ever I did see. Large and sweet and near perfect. As usual, I climbed to the very top of a tree, where the nicest ones are. Took some to Grammy who seemed to be happy with them and gave a few to the Fosters and Mr. Rudolph.” I love the detail dad gives me and his exponential generosity which fills me with sadness now because I miss his essence of love so much! The time he took to write, to share: “Tomorrow, I am invited for supper to the deWolfs. The reason for the invites is, that they want me to have an unobtrusive opportunity to talk with some gal, who seems to have an emotional problem as well as a spiritual one. Just why George feels that I could be of some help to her, I am not sure.” At his job at Cornell Space Sciences he was known as the counselor, and he did volunteer on the phones at Suicide and Crisis service in the 70s. One of the first males. Now in my seventies, each year I grow more appreciative of this truly special man, my daddy. “Having left a very good paying job at the Brooklyn Navy Yard after the war and come to Cornell to work for ‘peanuts’ I can appreciate what it is like to get down to the last coppers. Still, having to make do has its compensations, i.e. the greater concern for and reliance upon the help to each other, a greater appreciation for that which you do have and the freedom from material obligations to other to mention a few. True, it is not easy at times, but a rather good school, if you are a willing student. Sure glad though you found those 35 clams! Have a suggestion – as far as possible, never schedule a payment for the first of the month. (uh oh, my credit card payment is due the first😊) The 5th of the month, say, is a much better time. Checks are a day or two late sometimes or for some reason you may not be able to pay on the first. If a payment is due on the 5th and you usually pay on the 1st or 2nd anyhow, it helps your credit standing and gives you some leaveway.” We generally spoke on the phone once a week, so to take so much time to explain in his letters underlines his love for me. “Better get going now. Will write again and soon, when I have a little leisure time. Be good. Miss you guys. Love, Dad C.”

May 9, 1972: I cried in reading it 5/7/97 and 8/13/2020 once again missing dad’s love, the way he shows it here once again! “Dear Di, Chuck and Pooh (first grandchild Erin), Just a quick note to say Hi and to thank you again for your presence last Thursday, for contributing so great a share to my happiness of not only that day, but every day that you are all in my consciousness. When I consider all aspects of my life, each thing that goes into the total experience of it, I consider the experience that you create in it, that is so very great and fine and that I so enjoy dwelling upon.

There is the tie, Di. (this was not meant to be ‘punny’). Having been all my life somewhat of a conservative (starting with my upbringing) it takes just a little bit of courage to wear a tie as colorful as the one you gave me. I did however wear it to church last Sunday and never have I heard such compliments on anything else I have ever worn. Ada Miller perhaps put it best when she said that she would start this week to make some ties for Henry. I was of course proud to talk of the origin of this one and that too was very nice for me. That especially so, since it showed such careful and expert craftsmanship, which I so much appreciate and enjoy.

Hope so much that you are all well and that you had a good and safe trip to your reunion. As soon as Eric (my brother) is done with school, we surely will be down for a day. An architectural problem that he and another person did was cited as the best of the class. A heart full of love to you all, your Dad C.” I am sitting with my hands on my cheeks wondering how to describe my dad’s extraordinary person. Even though he was afraid to come to me at age 16, to share feelings about me just learning I was not his biologically by my mother shouting at me in anger: “He’s not your father!” during a fight where I was defending him. This was never resolved between us as he died of a sudden heart attack at age 60…still these letters show his feelings of love so transparently (just thought how the word parent is within). I can never be greatFULL enough!

Amazingly, he also wrote frequent letters to his little sister, Resi, living in the town they were born in: Dreis, Germany. I had some translated from German into English, here is one paragraph written 9/26/73: “A long time ago you talked in one of your letters about walking over a mountain when it is cold and the wind is blowing and that you would love to put your hand into the warm pocket of my jacket. I think about this and would give something to make this wish come true. Do you understand what I am trying to say and wish for you? I hope so and I also hope that just this thought can make you a little bit happy (tears) I still have to say another thing: I love my little sister very much and with all my heart.” (crying 9/3/1997 and sobbing 8/13/2020)

May 5, 1970: “Dear Di and Chuck: (paragraph from second page of four page letter) You mentioned, Di, how much you’d like to do ‘creative’ things. How well I can understand that. For some time now, my own life has been devoid of any such thing, having to devote what little energy is left after work to menial tasks of ‘housekeeping.’ This will have to change, lest I shrivel up entirely. As soon as I can, I will buy me a recorder (as a start) and learn to play it. When Eric goes to college in the fall, I will have more time. Hope also to do some serious reading then and attend the concerts here on a more regular basis, as well as more of the lectures. Finally, I shall (or hope to) have a more active social life.”  I share this to illustrate his thoughtfulness about what a good life is and how connected he is to my feelings to be more creative. Tears stream as I read his closing gratitude, “Thank you again for all you are and all you give me. Hope that you have (or will) enjoy The Letterman. Much love and prayers, Your Dad C.”

My most precious card from dad was sent November 1, 1965, while I attended the christian college my mother wanted me to go to, (only for one year thank god😊 while my dad wanted me to stay at Cornell where I was on probation due to failing calculus. And a 65 in English. Yet dad was the one who came to visit me there and afterwards wrote a card that lists 12 things he wants me to know and now tears fall as the paper’s brittleness has the binding falling apart… breaking my heart while fastening our bond tighter as number 12 says “that I love you.” And number 9: (number of transformation-spiritual enlightenment/universal love in numerology) “That you make comments and ask questions in ‘Bible’ (class) and are not afraid to think and ask and how happy I am about that.” Makes me happy too! As does my present home address at 999 Coddington Road for four years😊 All I can think, and enthusiastically say out loud is “I love you the bestest of all the men in my life, even after four marriages that have helped me evolve into a better beloved. And I am truly more and more greatFULL!

Dianea Colbert, Griffeth, Thompson, Colbert-Mauboussin, Kohl-Riise, KOHL, my dad’s true name, which he changed to Colbert when becoming an American.