Removed

(to Faith on her 13th birthday)

So far removed from where I once was,
I often fear you will not find me;
yet, when you do, I’m reminded,
I’m never far removed from you.
I know one day, no one will remember.
And one day, no one will care.
But as long as I’m still breathing, I will carry with me, the flutter of your movements, as if to say, “I’m a fighter, Mom, and so are you.”

I know I have the promise of holding you forever.
And I know my struggle will finally be over
when God places you in my arms,
And me into yours,
never to be separated again.
And only then, my child, when I rest in peace,
will I finally rest in peace.

An Ode to Ol’ Pam

Pam and I on the ferry to the Statue of Liberty in 2009.
Pam and I on the ferry to the Statue of Liberty in 2009.

We’ve often kidded about the day to come,
when one of us ups and leaves this place
(and we always knew it would be you, cause you know, you’re older and all).
We thought it interesting to be so close to someone for so long,
Yet to know if one of us left (again, you, cause you are older), it would probably
be the last we’d ever see of the other.

We’ve had two decades of jesting about a day we never truly considered,
yet here we all are to say farewell to a dear friend on a new journey.

Your days ahead are well-deserved.
While beating your own odds against death
and dodging the bullets of your life,
you showed up every day to inspire,
encourage and guide thousands who were
stuck in ruts they couldn’t get out of.
You, my friend, were the difference in them making it or not.
What’s more, you were a sounding board for
many of us who worked alongside you,
and dare I say, a cornerstone to that place on the hill.

From Broadway to Hard Knocks,
we have traveled many roads together.
From tornadoes to floods and from raising kids to losing loved ones,
we have laughed so hard we cried and cried so hard we laughed.

I raise my glass to you, my friend!
You are the last person I go to when I don’t want to hear what I need to know,
and you are the first person I go to when I need to know what I don’t want to hear.

May you leave here knowing
how much you are loved,
how much you will be missed
and know this…

While we may have joked about not seeing each other again after we part ways and start new lives, I need to confirm my reservation at your place for August Conference. Oh, and can you make me some of that zucchini stuff and green sauce stuff I like so much? And find us a good play to go see while I’m there.