March 24, 2004
1. Today, I waited on an elderly couple. The way they looked at each other… you could see they were in love. When the husband mentioned that they were celebrating their anniversary, I smiled and said, “Let me guess. You two have been together forever.” They laughed and the wife said, “Actually, no, today is our fifth year anniversary. We both outlived our spouses and then life blessed us with one more shot at love.”
2. Today, I walked my daughter down the aisle. Ten years ago I pulled a fourteen year old boy out of his mom’s fire-engulfed SUV after a serious accident. Doctors initially said he would never walk again. My daughter came with me several times to visit him at the hospital. Then she started going on her own. Today, seeing him defy the odds and smile widely, standing on his own two feet at the altar as he placed a ring on my daughter’s finger.
3. Today, I operated on a little girl. She needed O- blood. We didn’t have any, but her twin brother has O- blood. I explained to him that it was a matter of life and death. He sat quietly for a moment, and then said goodbye to his parents. I didn’t think anything of it until after we took his blood and he asked, “So when will I die?” He thought he was giving his life for hers. Thankfully, they’ll both be fine.
4. Today, my dad is the best dad I could ask for. He’s a loving husband to my mom (always making her laugh), he’s been to every one of my soccer games since I was five (I’m seventeen now), and he provides for our family as a construction foreman. This morning when I was searching through my dad’s toolbox for a pair of pliers, I found a dirty folded up paper at the bottom. It was an old journal entry in my dad’s handwriting dated exactly one month before the day I was born. It reads, “I am eighteen years old, an alcoholic who is failing out of college, a past cutter, and a child abuse victim with a criminal record of auto theft. And next month, ‘teen father’ will be added to the list. But I swear I will make things right for my little girl. I will be the dad I never had.” And I don’t know how he did it, but he did it.
5. Today, due to Alzheimer’s and dementia, my grandfather usually can’t remember who my grandmother is when he wakes up in the morning. It bothered my grandmother a year ago when it first happened, but now she’s fully supportive of his condition. In fact, she plays a game every day in which she tries to get my grandfather to ask her to re-marry him before dinnertime. She hasn’t failed yet.
6. Today, I was sitting on a hotel balcony watching two lovers in the distance walk along the beach. From their body language, I could tell they were laughing and enjoying each other’s company. As they got closer, I realized they were my parents. My parents almost got divorced eight years ago.
7. Today, I told my eighteen year old grandson that nobody asked me to prom when I was in high school, so I didn’t attend. He showed up at my house this evening dressed in a tuxedo and took me as his date to his prom.
8. Today, my dad passed away from natural causes at the age of ninety-two. I found his body resting peacefully in the recliner in his bedroom. In his lap, facing upright, were three framed 8×10 photographs of my mom who passed away about 10 years ago. She was the love of his life, and apparently the last thing he wanted to see before he passed.
9.Today was the ten year anniversary of my dad’s passing. When I was a kid he used to hum a short melody to me as I was going to sleep. When I was eighteen, as he rested in his hospital bed fighting cancer, the roles were reversed and I hummed the melody to him. I haven’t heard that melody since, until last night. My fiancé and I were turned on our sides looking at each other in bed when he started humming it to me. His mom used to hum it to him when he was a kid.
10. Today, as I watched my seventy-year-old grandmother and grandfather being silly with each other and laughing in the kitchen, I felt like I got a short glimpse of what true love feels like. I hope I find it someday.
11. Today, my fiancé returned home from his last tour of duty overseas. Yesterday he was just my boyfriend, or so I thought. Almost a year ago, he mailed me a package. He told me I wasn’t allowed to open it until he got home in two weeks. But then his tour got extended for another eleven months. Today, when he got home, he told me to open the package, and just as I pulled the ring out of the box, he got down on one knee.
12. Today, I walked up to the door of my office (I’m a florist) at 7:00 AM to find a uniformed Army soldier standing out front waiting. He was on his way to the airport to go to Afghanistan for a year. He said, “I usually bring home a bouquet of flowers for my wife every Friday and I don’t want to let her down when I’m away.” He then placed an order for fifty-two Friday afternoon deliveries of flowers to his wife’s office and asked me to schedule one for each week until he returns. I gave him a 50% discount because it made my day to see something so sweet.
13. Today, my dad came to see me for the first time in six months since I told him I’m gay. When I opened the door he had tears in his eyes and he immediately gave me a huge hug and said, “I’m sorry, Jason. I love you.”
14. Today, my autistic little sister spoke her first word at the age of six – my name.
15. Today, my mother passed away after a long battle with cancer. My best friend lives 2,000 miles away and called to comfort me. While on the phone, he asked, “What would you do if I showed up at your house and gave you the biggest hug in the world?” “I would surely smile,” I replied. And then he rang my doorbell.
16. Today, as my ninety-one year old grandfather (a military doctor, war hero, and successful business owner) rested in his hospital bed, I asked him what his greatest life accomplishment was. He turned around, grabbed my grandmother’s hand, looked her in the eyes, and said, “Growing old with you.”
17. Today, as I was sleeping, I woke up to my daughter calling my name. I was sleeping in a sofa chair in her hospital room. I opened my eyes to her beautiful smile. My daughter has been in a coma for ninety-eight days.
18. Today, my grandmother and grandfather, who were both in their early nineties and married for seventy-two years, both died of natural causes approximately one hour apart from each other.
19. Today, at a jazz club in San Francisco I saw a man and woman enjoying a drink together. The woman was a dwarf and the man must have been six feet tall. Later in the evening they went out onto the dance floor. The man got down on his knees so they could slow dance together. They danced the rest of the night.
20. Today, on our tenth anniversary, she handed me a suicide note she wrote when she was 22, on the exact day we met. And she said, “For all these years I didn’t want you to know how foolish and unstable I was back when we met. But even though you didn’t know, you saved me. Thank you.”
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