Adam and I have been showing Lisa around the neighbourhood. We love the birds. I know this is a short blog but I wanted to show off some of the shots I took. I know we’ll see much more as we take her around the places that we love. I must admit I do like showing off Australia so I thought I would also show you some of the birds I’ve captured with my trusty Sony camera I got from Fry’s in Burbank, California.
I’ve done a lot of study over the years about Catholicism and some soul searching. One of the key principles that I have grown to love is the idea that Jesus came as a bridge to breach the gap between God and man that occurred when original sin corrupted the world.
What if we are also sent to be a bridge to others when there is a gap between each other based on the idea that God sent Jesus to be a bridge for us? It is a beautiful concept that I have seen in action throughout my life. Most recently it has been through the death of my brother Kevin.
Kevin was the last child born from the marriage of Alice Albano and Edward Koval. His parents divorced and Alice married my father, Clement Miller. To the older 4 siblings he was their baby brother but to me and my two older sisters, Judy and Margaret, he was our big brother. Our family dynamic wasn’t the best. The older Koval children were pretty much out of the house when I was born. Only Roberta and Kevin were the ones that I got to know before they moved out.
I had a pretty special connection with Kevin. I guess it is due to the fact that when we moved to Leesville, we roomed together until he moved out. I know I have written about how jealous I would get over his girlfriends until my mom sat me down explaining the fact that I couldn’t marry him because he was my brother. If I really loved him, I would have to let him go since he would have to do the same with me some day.
The years went by and he married Lori. I was the flower girl at the wedding. I was happy for them but sort of jealous. I know how silly that might sound but I thought I would never find anyone as charming or special as Kevin to call my own. More years went by. We drifted apart as we were bound to do. We all have our journeys to make. I tried to stay in contact. Some years were good and others weren’t the best when it came to keeping the connection alive. Kevin’s marriage to Lori failed. I didn’t even realize it had happened until my mother informed me. I was married too and my own marriage failed. Kevin felt broken I am pretty sure because I knew how much he loved Lori. I ended my own marriage but I was not broken due to it. I just knew I couldn’t continue living a lie or existing in a marriage that didn’t produce anything nourishing to myself.
To my great surprise I found my soul mate when I least expected to do it. I contacted my sister, Aggie, to let her know about something. I found out that my brother Kevin was staying with her due to an injury to his leg. Our connection was ignited again for a little while. I tried emailing him or staying in contact through MySpace but that sort of dwindled out too. I know he was quite excited about meeting someone online. I tried teeing up a time to meet up when I went over for my sister Judy’s 40th birthday but it never came through. Years went by again. In 2012 I let family know that I was returning again for a visit. A mini-family reunion ended up happening that June but one important person wasn’t there. I tried messaging him through an email but no response. I believe it was my nephew Dan who finally got a hold of him so we spoke on the phone. It was nice but not as good as actually holding him. It was through this phone call that I connected with his love, Lisa. I vowed to myself never to let go again of my brother.
In all the years we were apart, I always dreamed of hugging him tight. Hearing his voice on the phone was great but nothing can compare to actually being in the presence of the one you love. I always thought that I would get to hold him again but it wasn’t meant to be. May 24th our family got together again just as it did in 2012. The one thing that I always wanted finally came true. We were all together but Kevin was in an urn. I got to finally meet Lisa but it was a bittersweet moment. All the hours of talking were great. The most important person in our lives was gone. We all loved him and I know he loved us too.
The bridge in my family is gone but not forgotten. He gave us Lisa and Sandy. He wanted us to be there for each other. In some ways it is working but in other ways it is a massive fail. Lisa could have easily not told us about Kevin’s illness and passing. She did the best that she could. In her own way Lisa is a bridge to me and vice versa.
In some ways my own mother was a bridge to my father’s sisters when he was sick and dying. I know he had asked my mom not to let them know but she convinced him otherwise. My father’s death in some ways mended some wrongs that occurred between my mother and his sisters. I am not sure why death holds such power over us. If anything I am learning that life is precious. We never know when our last day might be so we had better make the most out of what we have. We need to cherish each other.
I am going to take the time and try to be a bridge to others like the great examples I have been given before. Have you ever been a bridge for others?
You have no strength.
Everything has got you down
and in the end you can’t think of how you are going to make it round.
Do me a favor if you please
And sweet darling just cling to me
cause one day and it might be soon
I’ll be the one to cling to you.
Feels like this rain will never end
Too much pain to deal with
But sweet darling just believe
that in the end you can cling to me
cause one day and it might be soon
I’ll be the one to cling to you.
You may feel as if you have no hope
and you are at the end of your rope
there’s nothing else you can do to cope
But I beg you to just cling to me
cause one day and it might be soon
I’ll be the one to cling to you.
For those who are dealing with loss and feel there is no hope don’t give up. Hold on and know in the end what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger! Lisa this is for you!
Adam and I parted from Lisa yesterday. We knew it was going to happen at some point since she had things she needed to sort out before she comes out to visit us. It wasn’t an easy day for me and I am pretty sure it was the same for Lisa. She was flying with Delta while Adam and I flew with United. It was pretty cool that her gate was right next to ours. She almost missed her flight to Atlanta so we didn’t get to hug. I suspect that was a good thing because if we had, I think I wouldn’t have let go.
Our two weeks together were pretty great. We were almost glued at the hip. I have never experienced this sort of connection with someone outside my family with the exception of Adam, even with him it took a little time because our friendship blossomed over time. We had conversed for many hours via the phone or ICQ. With Lisa though, it was different. Sometimes it’s hard to put this into words.
I went to bed on the 14th feeling very melancholy. I had been fighting off tears and finding it very hard to sleep because I knew what the 15th was going to bring. I always hate leaving family. Margaret and Judy I grew up with. It hurt to leave them too. I started crying as we pulled away from their place and headed out towards VPS. I wanted to be brave for Lisa. I didn’t want to break down and cry in front of her because she’s hurting too. She has lots of things to sort through. I am thankful though that we had two magical weeks together. We drove all the way from Huntington, West Virginia to Philadelphia, PA. We then drove from Philly to Crestview, Florida with a drop off in Augusta, Georgia for Sandy. I had always wanted to do a road trip and Lisa was great company as well as driver. I will never forget the fun we had and a few scares too with crazy drivers.
I am writing this on the 16th of June in Las Vegas at my eldest sister’s house. I know we will enjoy our 5 days here and then fly to Los Angeles for 4 days before we fly back to Australia. Yesterday was hard but aren’t we always parting ways in one shape or another? In this journey of life, I am beginning to realize that I am always parting ways with others. Sometimes the connections are very short but the ones with the most meanings are outstanding. They really impact you in your life. I can only speak about my own realizations. I firmly believe that things don’t happen without a reason. God sends us blessings in mysterious ways even when we are parting ways. God is love and love lasts forever.
Maybe you have been reading my thoughts for a while and maybe this is new to you. I always try to keep things light and breezy. I know I don’t like being the one who is dark and gloomy. Who likes being around somebody who is all doom and gloom? Realistically it’s not possible to be little miss sunshine either but I do try to stay positive.
My husband and I traveled to America for my brother’s Memorial and decided to turn the trip into a month-long vacation. We were hoping to come back on happier terms. You have to make the best of a situation however you come across it. I think that is a no brainer. We wanted to do this trip next year. We had wanted to see all my siblings individually. We are doing this now; it’s just been expedited. I had wanted to be reunited with my brother, Kevin, to hug him and get to know his lovely wife, Lisa, and his step-daughter Sandy. I did get to see Kevin when we face-timed. Nothing though can compare to actually being in the same room with the one you love. I do take solace that I had got to see him even if it was through a video link because I hadn’t seen his face for over 20 years. We laughed and looked forward to seeing each other. Every thing though changed for us all as it is apt to do.
We are getting to go places that we had never been to before. Adam and I have never been to West Virginia. We have gotten some really great quality time with Lisa and Sandy. I know Sunday the 15th is going to be a very hard day for Lisa and myself. We have been pretty much inseparable since I have hugged her on the 21st of May. We felt as if we had known each other very well even though it had been long talks on the phone or typing on Facebook. I am dreading the 15th pretty much. We are going to have to part sometime. I know we will stay in contact because Kevin got us together. I feel very strongly about this.
I asked Lisa to join me on a road trip to see my brother Chuck in Philadelphia and my sisters Judy and Margaret in Florida. I would love to take her to see my other sisters in Nevada and California but Lisa has things she has to take care of back in West Virginia. We fly back to Australia on June 24th. The 25th won’t happen for Adam and myself because we will be flying across the international date line. We are used to losing and gaining days when we fly back and forth to the USA. Lisa and I had a great time traveling together down the eastern seaboard of the USA. I had never driven that much in the United States. We even took a trip to NYC with Chuck. Chuck was born in Brooklyn and I had traveled to NYC in 1996 with my mom, my sister Judy, and niece Cassie. Sandy, Adam, and Lisa were the “virgins” in NYC.
We started off in West Virginia and drove to Philadelphia. After Philadelphia we drove to Georgia so Sandy could stay with her cousin Mary. We then continued down to the panhandle of Florida to the city of Crestview. It’s sort of funny but I lived in the Fort Walton Beach area 20 years ago. It was interesting seeing all the changes and growth in the area. I looked forward to showing Adam the places I used to work and play at. We played in the Gulf of Mexico for a little bit. Today we are going to get our hair cut.
On the 15th we fly out to Las Vegas and Lisa returns back to West Virginia. I can’t wait for her to get her passport so I can show her our little piece of paradise. I know we are going to have a blast like we have had here. She has things though that she needs to sort out first before her trip to see us. I do know we are going to see each other again which is making me look forward to the reunion we will have. I know another post will be happening when that happens. After Las Vegas, we are heading to Los Angeles and then it’s back across the Pacific Ocean to Australia for us.
Yes, I know I had better laid plans in my head for our trip in 2015. I meant to take more time to visit friends as well as family but sometimes life happens and you have to make do with that you can. I know things didn’t turn out the way I had expected or desired. It’s not a perfect world. I had to make the most of what I have even with the sad ugly bits. I can build on what I have to make things better even if it’s just a little change.
If I can make someone smile or lighten the load even a little bit than I know I have done something good.
It’s Memorial Day here in Huntington, West Virginia. Adam and I arrived in the USA on 21 May to attend a memorial for my brother, Kevin which was on 24 May 2014. It was a very hard day for all of us who knew him. This Memorial Day is layered for us with sweet and bittersweet memories.
Lisa, Kevin’s wife, Sandy, his step-daughter, Piper, their faithful dog, Adam and I went to Ritter Park to enjoy the weather as well as lunch that we picked up from Arby’s. We watched the things going on around us. I got a thrill seeing a squirrel. I even recorded a video of a squirrel munching on a curly fry. I wanted to share this with Australians or anyone else who never got to see a squirrel munch on a curly fry. It seems like it’s been over 5 years since I saw a squirrel and to see one eating a fry was just really special to me.
It was great to see families out enjoying the day. Memorial Day in the USA is a day when the military is remembered for their service to the USA during war and peace time. It is a lot like Anzac Day for Australians. There are parades around the nation. I got to listen to Lisa and Sandy reminisce and I even reminisced about Kevin too. I got to walk where his feet trod.
I hadn’t seen Kevin in over 20 years. We had tried to tee up meeting together when I would return stateside but something always happened and our best laid plans went down the gurgler. I regret not being able to see him again in person. The pain of my loss is very raw. It is easier though being with his family. It was good being together with my siblings even though it was a sad occasion. My brother Chuck did a wonderful eulogy for Kevin. I wanted to cheer and clap. My sister Judy also stood up and spoke some touching words about Kevin. I just couldn’t manage it at the moment. I wish I could write more about him. Words though just can’t seem to do justice for the way I feel about Kevin. It’s something I find hard to express. I think my poem Hero was the best I could do. I guess I could have stood up and read that but in that moment I just didn’t have the strength to do so.
This Memorial Day for me was filled with laughter. We didn’t cry today. I know we will still have tears. It’s part of the grieving process. I will always miss my brother. I will always remember this Memorial Day because for me and I hope for Lisa and Sandy, this Memorial Day seemed to have many different meanings. I will never forget this Memorial Day because it was a treasure to be with the ones Kevin loved.
He is our hero.
We are two sides of a coin.
You are his lover, his partner in life.
I am his sister who loves & wonders though distance is great.
He is so charming.
He loves so distinctly yet completely.
We both adore him.
Some may say love is weakness
But we know love is strength .
Love in every form can be a hero.
Our hero is love.
Love sustains us.
Love remains to comfort us when all else fails.
This poem was inspired by my brother Kevin, his loving wife, Lisa & of course my feelings about him.
I wish I could claim this idea as my own but I know it isn’t. I love the implication of it all because we all need positiveness in our lives. It’s so easy to stay glum but turning those negatives into huge positives helps me both physically as well as mentally. Wellness is something that I am beginning to really value especially as I get older.
I had recently gotten hired for a job. It was agreed that I was to be trialed before they decided if I was to be given the job. I was pretty sure that it was a few weeks. I did 4 days and was called Monday when I knew I would be need on Wednesday. I was informed that I was not needed because they wanted someone with more experience. I was devastated. I had never been let go like that over the phone. I was really low for two days. Adam wasn’t impressed either with my employer but these things do happen. As I pondered on what I did or didn’t do right, I realized that maybe it was a blessing in disguise. I loved what I was doing but maybe I wasn’t really the right person to work for them. I decided that perhaps their loss would be someone else’s gain. I would be taken on some place where my personality would shine enhancing the workplace I would work for.
Yesterday I was just puttering away on Facebook catching up on the happenings of family and friends when one of my game friend’s thanked me for being there for her 2 years ago. I was really touched by this. I try to treat people the way I would like to be treated. I had a most wonderful conversation with her that cheered me up tremendously. It was exactly what I needed at the moment. I am still feeling all warm and tingly inside thinking about it. I really look forward to typing with her again. She said she looked at me like a mother figure which pulled on my heart strings because I am childless. I always wanted children. Things just worked out the way they have for me which I am not sad about most of the time. (I do get clucky but my dogs are a great fix for that motherly instinct I have.)
Today I am on the last day of a temping assignment that was for 2 days. I am enjoying temping because I get great variety. My skills base is growing too which is lovely. I get to meet new people. I get to drive on the Pacific Highway to Coffs Harbour checking out the lovely scenery as well as progression of the upgrade between Sapphire and Woolgoolga. It can be a challenge at times trying to get to places on time but they say there is a price to pay for everything. If getting better roads means I have to wait, I will deal with that.
I am going to remember to have an attitude for gratitude because I love being grateful for things as they happen. I try to embrace being in the moment. I know there are others out there who feel the same way. Will you join my challenge and show attitude for gratitude?