Monday, August 31, 2009


Our celebrations were wonderful in the simplest of ways. -long talks and silences over coffee, our wedding video playing in the back ground, a glass of wine, Skipp's guitar, my drum sticks and our voices blending in harmony as we sang old folk songs and favorites of ours, cards and flowers and well wishes from cyber space to our front door, fun food and family visits, a delicious meal down on the water on the Guilford shore looking out to the lobster boats and Long Island Sound, the sky turned winter gray and the cool salt air filtered in through the window as we ate and drank and laughed and talked and held hands. I am filled with gratitude by all the gifts in our lives so evident in just this one paragraph.-
our home
ALL GIFTS and many, many more. The list could go on forever.

Times like these - those special dates that bring back memories and are reminders of so much of what was and what is. People don't get to over half a century old without some "life-lesson gifts', you know the one's I am talking about, right? Oh things like, death, loss, betrayal, disappointment, fear, illness, and so forth - and I am no exception nor is Skipp. I always write about balance and so it is that our life has a mix of gifts that leave us screaming with joy and/or screaming with "why"!! We reconcile this mix by honoring all of it - sounds weird huh? to honor the hard lessons/gifts? They are all part of our design - our life together - ours to face, our shared joys and sorrows - As we watched our wedding video and listened to our vows of promise, hope and love unconditional the camera scanned over our guests. Our brother-in-law, who just died this past January was our 'camera man. He captured the evening so well. Skipp and I watched the video as it paused on his dear friend Mike who died of AIDS a few years back - he was born infected. Our young nephew, Clayton - just 32 when he died in 2002. My best friend's Dad, Pete, died three years ago this past June. A long time family friend - Joe, he too passed six years or so ago. And my oldest daughter Kristie, who has since moved 500 miles away - I miss her and my grandchildren Leanna and Jacob so much. And others whose lives have changed, so much so, that their closeness to us has ebbed and flowed and drifted away. And there is the strength of the constants - My Mom, my sister, my best friend JoAnn, Dolan, Jennifer, and of course, "us", - still standing - still loving - still believing - still singing - still laughing - still crying - still blessed - still grieving - still celebrating - oh yes, celebrating, all of it!! It is our life just as it is.
And although I have posted this song before, it is fitting I do so again, by a different singer this time - a man whose voice is haunting and passionate - whose life had meaning and demands and love and truth. When I first heard this version we were in Brooklyn visiting Dolan for his 25th birthday. Dolan took us to one of his favorite cafes. It was an old rustic place with dark beaten wood and tilted booths and old crooked floors - and as I walked in this version of "In My Life" was playing - I asked our waiter who was singing it and he answered, "why that is Johnny Cash from his last CD of all cover songs - recorded shortly before he died" And my sister gave us the CD for our anniversary. It is amazing. :-) And so I end this writing with 'Johnny Cash' singing "In My Life".

Love Gail


Bernie said...

A wonderful post Gail, so beautiful and the video by Johnny Cash brought tears to my eyes knowing the pain he felt at losing his lovely wife.
I am so happy you and Skipp had a wonderful birthday/anniversary enjoying the past, present and future.......:-) Hugs

Diana said...

What a beautiful post Gail. Was it for your anniversary? It sounded like it. You use your words so beautifully Gail! " In My Life " is the song that I have instructed my husband to play at my funeral. I have always thought it to be the perfect song for that!
Love Di

The Rambling Taoist said...

Yes, our lives are filled with ebbs and flows. Sometimes, it feels like a tidal wave in one direction and we wonder if the current will ever switch to the other way. It always does, in time, and will forever flow back and forth.

I think I prefer The Beatles' version far better, though Cash's rendition is indeed haunting. It sounds like he's singing it from his deathbed.

Iktomi said...

oh that video made me tear up... :P

cinner said...

Gail, wow what a beautiful post, the song is perfect for it. Yes we own our lives and it is really wonderful, for it is ours. You are such a special person to me. Take care. Big Hug!

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Oops, sorry…got to listening to Johnny Cash songs on YouTube and forgot to comment.

You are just right on about all this—life is the entire quilt, every patch and patchwork pattern, all the stitches and batting, the worn edges and the bright colors.

You know that well, and write it so wonderfully straight and true and directly from the heart. You honor, embrace, and understand—because it is your life. I hope you never lose this perspective because it is the true key.

(See…wisdom did come with age. You are wise and wonderful, and I hope Skipp doesn't mind me saying that.)

Choices said...

Life does go on with love, joy and celebration never forgetting those who can no longer be with us. They are in our hearts forever. I liked that song by Johnny Cash. I have always liked him.
Take care.

a corgi said...

what wonderful ways to celebrate your anniversary and birthdays! filled with each other doing things you enjoy the most, awesome!

I love your life-lesson gift term; hadn't heard of it quite put that way before, but truly, even the hardest of life lessons have been gifts in what they have taught and re-enforced, and sometimes in looking back, the hardest ones were the ones that we remember the most as ones that helped us grow closer to each other and closer to God

wishing you many more!


Margie said...

Hello Gail
It's so good to know your celebrations were wonderful....and isn't it true that we most often find the most joy in the simple things!
My wish for you is that ... your joys in life be more than your sorrows in life!

It's so hard to lose loved ones but the sweet memory of the days they shared in our lives is such a comfort.

Loved the song by Johhny Cash...the perfect song for this post!

Blessings & joy to you...always!


Gail said...

Thanks so much for your wonderful warm words to me. And yes, that Johnny Cash version of 'In My Life" is so deep and powerful.
Love Gail

Gail said...


Oh yes - it was our wedding anniversary and both our birthdays on 8/29. The post before this one is titled "August 29th"!! It tells the story and more.

ANd yes, "In My Life" is a perfect song for a funeral. And apparently weddings, such as ours! :-)

Love Gail

Gail said...

And yes, life certainly does ebbs and flow - how well I - We, know, huh? And yes, The Beatles version which is on my post before this one titled August 29th is amazing. The whole Johnny Cash CD, his last one, is so profound. And he was on deaths door when he recorded it, I am sure.

Love Gail

Gail said...


It is a powerful video, on so many levels. So nice to see you here.

Love Gail'

Gail said...


Thank you for your validation of SO much in my life - just by being you, I know you "get it". :-)

Love Gail

Gail said...


Wise and wonderful - me? Oh my, and Skipp doesn't mind one little bit. You and he would get along famously. :-)
And 'thank you' Grizz for your acknowledging my 'direct from my heart' style of telling my life's truths - and I know you know, and I know you "get it" and I love that you so easily recognize all that in me. It means so much to me Grizz, so very much.

Love Gail

Gail said...


Thank you so very much for your kind and warm words to me. Your shared understanding is so valuable to me.

Love Gail

Gail said...

Thank you so much for your wise, loving and kind words. I know you "get it" too. I am so thrilled that so m,any 'like-souls' have found their way together. I feel so comforted and surrounded.

Love Gail

Gail said...


So nice to see you here. :-)

And "thank you" for sharing your thought about the "gifts of life-lessons". I see that you truly understand what it means.

Love Gail

PENolan said...

Very happy for you

Eileen said...

Beautiful post, Gail.
Beautiful choice for song, and perfect rendition by Johnny Cash! I always preferred his rendition of that song, and I always preferred his rendition of 'Hurt'.

I'm glad you had such a wonderful Anniversary celebration and I'm glad it brought about reflection and thanks. And I agree that our lives are a wonderfully complete work only because of the life-lessons entwined in it all. And I do believe that even though I don't always feel grateful for the trials that have come my way, I don't question them anymore, and I have a feeling that I chose them at one time, long before I was born. But I won't get into all that in my comment.
Beautiful post, Gail!

Gail said...


"Thank you" so much for your loving words - and I realize that you know so well that life's gifts and lessons come in many forms.
And so, you are a believer in re-incarnation? :-) Fascinating to explore.

Love Gail

Gail said...


"Thanks" :-)

Love Gail

Children with out voices said...

Thank you Gail for stopping by my blog. A while back someone commented on blog that I needed to let go, that I was making something out of nothing. Forcing sex on a person whether you are married or not is still rape and I am not going to be ashamed of someone else's weakness. I once again opened the blog to the public. It's bad enough it happened, it's worse that the victim is made to feel guilty over and over again. If I can educate one person ,prevent or help in the healing process, than I will spend the rest of my life, making a difference.
Again thank you for your visit and kind words.

Children With Out Voices

Gail said...


I am so happy you stopped by. I truly believe in your cause - and I applaud the much needed forum and work you are doing.

Love Gail

Mark said...

Beautiful times, thanks for sharing. Love the song you shared. Always one of my favorites!

Rose Marie Raccioppi said...

Reading the beautifully expressed day of Birthday and Anniversary Celebration and listening to the posted song, I felt I was sitting along side of you and feeling the joy shared. Thank you for such gifts you bring to those fortunate enough to be aware of your offerings.

Many HUGS and Blessings,

Rose Marie

Gail said...

So nice to see you here. And thank you for your kind words. Glad you liked the song. :-)

Love Gail

Gail said...


oh my, thank you SO much. And I so love that you felt so close - sharing right here with us.

Love Gail

Children with out voices said...

I read the sept 08 post you referred me to. We entrust our heart and soul to those who we deem caring and warm individuals to find out that we become trapped in the web of abuse. There is something you said that people say you have a choice and yes we do make choices. We can only be responsible for our own choice and I am so tired of having to feel the guilt and shame of being a victim.
Love doesn't hurt not even unitentionally because love is void of evil. You can't threaten nor injure or force or verbally harass someone you love. Even worse is those who are in a position to be responsible to the community as well as individuals.

My dearest friend was thrown threw a plate glass window, she has more stitches and scars than I choose to count.In her healing process she went to her church for help. The priest said forgive, get him help. I said get as far away from him as you can and don't look back. He was abusive, drugs, violence. She filed for divorce but not before he nearly left her for dead.
There are way to many stories and so many are hidden under the carpet.
I believe things do happen for a reason, even the worst of crimes. Through these experiences and with our knowledge we are given he capabilities to make a difference for future generations.
I don't live with the memories, sometimes something will stir them and I'll literally cry, but the truth is all these years those tears stayed behind my eyes.

I think you have been in the position to educate and really make a difference. Maybe that is why the path was laden in a bed of roses. Because psychologist and professionals can claim to understand but until you have lived it...

Alone we are one soldier working for the good of mankind, together we are an army.

Gail said...

Hi CHILDREN W/OUT voices -
In regards to choice or consent? Consent is only possible in a context of equality. Clearly,when one is in a position of power and/or authority over another any consent/choice is not authentic.

And yes, an army, an army indeed.

Love Gail

Teresa said...

Hi Gail, I believe your Birthday was on August 29, and I am so sorry for missing it. Happy Belated Birthday to you! Hope you are going to join in our Honest Food Binge Game...and I loved your post today, so descriptive and wonderful and honest writing. ((((HUGS))))) T aka 555

Gail said...


thank you so much for the well wishes. :-) And I wrote over at your blog about the food photos - Oh my - not so sure since I started with hot fudge sundaes we had last night. eesh!!

Love youGail

Eileen said...

I hope you are a big junk food eater! I just read that Teresa and Diana don't keep much food in their houses! Jackie is on a liquid diet, and the others too diet (or they at least eat healthy!), I said you are my only hope!
Please tell me you don't eat like a normal person!
At least today I was busy so I didn't get a chance to eat like I usually do!
"See" you soon! Let me go post my unhealthy eating habits!
Love, Eileen

Wanda said...

Hi Gail I am going to reinstall you in my reader...this post didn't show up...I just happened to come by from Teresa's...are you doing the food posts? :)I did one today...but I don't know about every day for a week.
I always enjoy your honest heart felt writing are an inspiration to your family and friends...I'm sure. Beautiful post!
Smiles to you Gail,

Gail said...

HI Wanda-

Thanks for re-installing me!! :-) And thank you for your kind words to me.

I am not so sure about the food posts - I asked if I was suppose to post pictures here or at Teresa's place. I am unclear aboutr the rules.

Love Gail'

Gail said...


I am SO unsure about the rules of the food thing. Is it pitures, lists, and on my own blog or over at Teresa's?

And I am a fun food eater - we love to eat!!!!

Love Gail