Cherish – and Make – Valentine’s Memories

How I loved Valentines Day. Always symbolized by my Mom as meatloaf, the moldable meat. On this day it was a heart. Mom had scalloped potatoes and wiggly jello as a side. But I amped it up with Bunny Milk as the house beverage, and pink mashed potatoes as I grew into being the mother, finishing with strawberry shortcake, just like she did.

There was nothing I loved as much as being a mother and a wife. And Valentines seemed to bring it all together. Tucking notes into pockets, candies under pillows. Little drawings in lunch boxes. Love notes. Of course, candy necklaces and lipstick on their plates. Candles!!! Linens on the table, music on the hi-fi, and dressed up for the occasion. And what would Valentines be without their dad grinching about commercialism, but dutifully producing that Hallmark moment, and a rose representing each child. And then… The dancing.

These days the time between one Valentine’s Day and another go by in a blur, always startling me, like being awakened from a nap. But there are other memories that extend the premise of a day to show love.

Waking up from surgery and seeing my children, now all grown, around me, touching my forehead, holding my hands, telling me jokes that hurt when I I laughed. Half asleep, hearing them whisper, sometimes hearing them start to cry. And then giggling as another family story came to mind. Our ability to laugh was the balm that healed everything. It is our love story.

From feeding them to them feeding me, as my mind and body was too crushed to even think. Bedtime lullabies became karaoke sessions on some TV game. Long trips to Grayling, as visits to Granma and Gumpsy, and an even longer trip moving back, no longer married. Future trips that took me completely away from their lives. And God’s grace that found a way to bring me back to them.

Valentine’s will always be in my heart. It may not be February 14th when it happens, but I know when it is here. Friends – fremily – who mow the lawn, carry the trash out and bring the mail in. Sort out my meds, chauffeur me to appointments, battle the crowds of Meijers and Sam’s. A card or letter in the mail. A poem.

And tonight, a knock on the door, and in my dear friend’s hands… A meatloaf dinner!!

Find a Valentine moment whenever you can. Cherish that love of surprises, or a setting you’ve been gifted with. Create moments for those you love to tuck in your memory. May I suggest moldable meatloaf?

Love and blessings to you all,

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Good Days

Thank you, Papa, for a wonderful weekend. Good days don’t come often enough anymore, and two in a row is a very special gift.


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Signs of Spring

Looking Glass River, March 12, 2015

I don’t want to jump the gun, but I think Spring is coming. It’s time for Winter to move on. The sun is shining more, snow’s melting, and the hibernating lawns will start growing and turning green again. 

Winter is a hard season with it’s grey skies day after day. Friends and family bring bits of sunshine when they visit, but the days are long in between. 

We can’t wait until Spring is really here. 

Thank you, Papa, for letting us make it through another Winter.


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A New Year

We didn’t expect to be here, welcoming 2015. When Vicki was diagnosed with FTD in July, 2009, she was told she had 6 months to two years to live. Thanks to prayers, family & friends, and Beanni – Vicki’s constant companion – I can join Vicki in wishing you a Happy and Blessed New Year!

Jim Coyle


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Rest in Peace, Brother Robin

Robin Williams has died.

I am speechless, but I knew I would see this one day. Geniuses & artists are prophets, in a way. He shared his genius – and we responded – for so many years. But he needed a sound love, resilient to his many voices, that were beyond him to control. His genius is what killed him, not suicide. Robin Williams rest in peace. You earned it. In spades. Thank you for all the entertainment, your work with Whoopi & Billy to help our poor. I will miss you. His flame consumed him.

Robin Williams As the days pass since his death, the many, many tributes and reflections about the role Robin Williams played in peoples’ lives show how widely, and how deeply, he reached us. He shared his genius with us, giving us not only the gift of laughter – one of the greatest gifts we can receive – but also often leading us to thoughtful reflection about our world and about our selves.

So much has been written these last several days not only about Robin’s life, but the reality of depression’s impact on a person. Hopefully a wide and deep conversation about this uncomfortable fact of life will be an appropriate and effective response to Robin Williams’ life – and death.

My friend Jim Coyle and I have been sharing with one another some of the responses to Robin’s death that other people have written and posted, and wanted to share a few of the ones that touched us and help us appreciate again what Robin Williams has given us.

Thoughts on Depression, Suicide and Being a Christian by Nish Weiseth.

Although it’s a crude humor website, posted this serious and insightful article: Robin Williams and Why Funny People Kill Themselves by David Wong. [Language alert]

Finally, an excellent post to end on, which includes two different and wonderful videos of Robin Williams: RIP Robin Williams: “I Only Knew that You Were Thirsty” by Sr. Theresa Noble.

Thank you, Papa, for our brother Robin.
Vicki and Jim C

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