Reaching Out to Hold Someone's Hand

It is a crazy thing that we all live so far away from each other. My high school friends all live in different states, my family is located from coast to coast. Two of my children are now 8 hours away. I do remember when I was graduating from high school, all I could think of was where is my next place to go? What state can I live in next? I so understand the need to go new places and see new things.  

But, now that I have gotten older and look back at the friendships and relationships that are still deeply rooted in my heart, it is those friends that knew me in middle school, high school and those crazy fun college friendships. So….we email, call, text and of course, I send them bracelets. Today as I pondered how my week went, I realized that so many people reached out. Stories of loss, stories of birthdays of a loved one that are gone, wanting to be there for a friend, and I realized…this is where sending a bracelet feels like you are holding someone’s hand when you cannot. Having something physical to hold on to to remember that someone loves you and is there for you, even if they are miles away.

My faithful friend, Eileen, that wakes up every morning and meets me at her mailbox, lost a precious uncle this week. She is a rock and is going to take her mother up to New York to attend the funeral. This was the uncle that everyone felt like was their own grandfather; this was her mother’s brother that really was the “glue” for the family. This will be the moment when everyone comes together to truly miss a very special person that had really loved, not only his own family, but every member of the family tree. Of course, as we finished our run on Friday, I wished her luck on her journey to New York. What a heavy and sad trip it would be for her. What a precious daughter to be escorting her mother so she can go and not be overwhelmed by the details of this trip. 

It will come as no surprise that I felt overwhelmed with the desire to make bracelets for her to take with her. Eileen has been one of the very first people to know about my new hobby and passion  of “tying knots” and making them into bracelets. She has listened to every little detail of this magical journey. She is patient and interested at all times. How she does it I will never know. One of my favorite things is when I see someone that knows Eileen and they always tell me, “Oh, I saw Eileen and she had on one of your bracelets.” Eileen and I never see each other during the day...only in the dark in our sweaty running clothes. So when I get these reports of her actually wearing the bracelets, it makes me smile. I never know if she is just letting me do my usual ramblings or if she really gets it…and she really gets it.

Still, she did not ask for bracelets, I had to make them anyway. I made 4 bracelets. Each bracelet has 68 beads. That is how old her uncle was when he took his last breath. It had nine beads of one color in a row. This symbolized the family that he left behind and loved so much. His wife, two daughters and five grandchildren. I kept sending Eileen pictures and she kept thanking me. I thought maybe his wife, daughters and Eileen’s mother might want to carry his story on their wrists.to remember that he is always with them and that the love he shared with his family will always be with his family.

I dropped the little brown bag in her mailbox Friday night, knowing it made me feel good to give her my gesture of love. It will be interesting to hear how her trip goes. Maybe the bracelets will stay in the bag and it won’t be the right thing to give them away. Maybe what we wear in Texas is not quite the same for the people in Staten Island. It is okay. There was something about tying those knots for my friend that made me feel like I could hold her hand during this trip...that I could put a blanket around her heart to make the sadness melt away. We do the silliest things to try to love each other when words are not enough. Eileen has been there for me morning after morning, and I just want to be there for her.

Having an amazing uncle to love is one of those beautiful miracles, and losing that person makes you realize how precious our family ties really are. I, too, have an uncle that is the glue for my family and for me. Maybe today I need to call him, write him a letter, make him a bracelet. Maybe I need to thank him for taking time out of his life to love me. Maybe that is all we ever need to really do. Appreciate those that are in our hearts….and take a moment to let them know. We are so very busy, but what is in your heart and who put it there?? Maybe today is the day to stop and tell them.  With a call, with a flower, with one still moment and two precious words…"Thank You!"

To all of you…Thank You! Have a beautiful week.

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