It was OTP’s own Jeana Lomprez who posted this quote on New Year’s Eve. I shared it on Facebook, and then used it to top my quarterly newsletter. Except for a few edits, this is what I wrote:
I love the glitter and glow of Christmas, and display holiday cards and ornaments throughout the house. But once my brother, Aly, who battled cancer for almost six years, began to fail in early December, and wound up in the ICU, I didn’t feel like decking the halls. But I went ahead and did so on the 9th and 10th of the month. I even bought a live tree, a four-foot beauty I placed on a cabinet in the dining/living area.
On December 11, at 3:30 a.m., I got the phone call. Aly, who appears frequently in the memoir of my teenage years, Only You, published by Oak Tree last spring, and who told me he “loved” the book, was gone. His wife and three children were at his bedside. After the incredible sadness of the wake and funeral here on Long Island, my family and I decided to celebrate Christmas together, as we always have – siblings, mates, children, grandchildren, cousins. We all decorated, and some sent out greeting cards.
Uncle Al/Dad/Grandpa was very much there with us in spirit, and will always have his place at the table.
There are messages in all this. One is to write that novel or play, biography or memoir sooner rather than later. And be with your family – mending fences, if you must – now. Travel, study, connect with old friends – do whatever you think of doing but don’t.
“Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.”
“Someday is not a day of the week.”
As a memoirist, I’m so glad that I wrote about the relationship I had with my three younger brothers, and that it pleased them. On Sunday morning, February 8, I’m speaking at our local theater on “Writing About Your Life.” Aly’s name will surely come up. I’ll feel good knowing he’s there with me, as part of the show and as a continuing part of my writing, teaching and lecturing life.
Only You . . .