By Jessica Cronenberger
Sometimes I have a hard time falling asleep. There are always things to worry about and “fix.” So, when someone told me that she relaxes by sending good thoughts to people she knows, I thought I’d give it a try.
I think I did it wrong, because I kept sending those thoughts to people who have passed on. They probably don’t need them anymore, but I wanted them to know that I think of them.
The funny thing is how I picture them. As soon as I close my eyes, I see all nine of them huddled together, smiling widely and looking in on me as if they were looking at a new baby in a hospital nursery, edging their way closer and stretching their necks to get a better view. Arms on others’ shoulders and height managed, it makes me smile to see the casual grouping all so happy and genuinely glad to see me.
Don’t ask me why there are only nine. I’ve had many more pass on, but these are the ones who show up! They’ve all been a big part of who I am.
As soon as I share a remembrance with one or two, I fall asleep, so now I have to alternate my chosen relative so they all get attention.
Mom was my tryout. I reminded her of what happened last St. Patrick’s Day when she called in alarm because she was cooking a corned beef and cabbage dinner for me and she thought her hearing aid fell in the pot! We rushed over there and searched the mix of vegetables and meat in the hot broth – no luck. After 20 minutes of searching the entire kitchen, she found it in her pocket. We had a hearty laugh with that one!
Mom has inspired me over the years to try variations of cooking and to find humor in the most awkward of circumstances. It has done me well.
Dad, the best father a child could have, would single me out of the five and take walks with me in the neighborhood, holding my hand and talking about whatever I wanted. Dad made me feel special and worthwhile. His standards were high and his love of family was unparalleled.
Rene, my mother-in-law, saw delight in everything my kids did. They adored her for that.
Berna was a favorite aunt. She could whistle like a songbird. As a child, that’s all I ever wanted to be able to do. Her husband and son were talkers. More importantly, they were reliable and trustworthy. Working on my plumbing problems went hand in hand with telling stories the whole time. I really miss those conversations with Uncle Bob and Greg.
Talk about the gift of gab, their in-law was by far the center of attention at any party and he wanted you to share that spot with him. He pushed his neighbor and buddy into meeting his wife’s cousin. Thanks, Bob. We’ve been married for 38 years now.
I think Kathy is there because she was a nurse and she’s trying to keep the group in line. She had that dry sense of humor and matter-of-fact attitude that has escaped my capabilities. She said it like it was and was fine with that.
Lastly, and I don’t know why this is, but sweet Jane is the only one sitting down. Maybe because she’s a new arrival, she’s still reeling from the chaos of the past few weeks. My sister-in-law took whatever life handed her and offered a smile in return. Through all of the trials of her life, she managed to raise five amazing children who never left her side.
So, maybe I’m falling asleep so quickly because I’m comforted knowing that I share bits and pieces of all these people. And who cares if something needs fixing? Life’s too short to worry about it.