A Legendary Sendoff for a Legend

All people walk through life making a ripple, one that perhaps seems bigger with hindsight, but there are some who create a wave all their own, visible from the very start which only gets taller and more powerful each day. Our Uncle Brian was that sort. I say our because he can be claimed by so very many. Large families are like that. But for those whose family extends far beyond bloodline, those titans are impossible to possess solely. Titled by those who called him brother, cousin, husband, uncle, god-father, father, grand-father, boss, colleague, even competitor, Captain Brian Anthony McAllister’s list of affiliates is endless. Who among us could not call this man ours?

Legends demand a status all their own, clearly larger than average, yet touching us all. Brian was tenacious, persistent, generous, patriotic, often crazy and certainly wild, but with a contagious laugh, and the ability to make you feel as if you were the very best. Waking a man with this largess easily filled rooms with people, each also laughing even while they shed tears, all remembering his stories and their stories with him, in vivid happiness, recalling his prodigious love, feeling gratitude for their connection to him.

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A quiet Farewell to a dear and lovely Lady

In a family as large as ours, small gatherings are a rarity, but due to an abundance of circumstances, this farewell was a small one. Our dear Aunt Pat, Catherine Buckley McAllister, passed in mid-May, but it was yesterday we gathered in her Montreal to celebrate her long and meaningful life. I am so grateful for her love, her ability to listen, and her attention to me through different stages of my life. She was a true lady, elegant and smart, strong and steady, and I am so grateful to have had such a mentor in my corner. As I contemplate the loss of yet another mother, I am reminded of how lucky I have been to have had so many powerful women to learn from and admire, always, and this Aunt is most certainly among that list.

As we are often reminded at funerals, we, family and friends, are forever woven together, each impacting another in endless ways, from the simplest of encounters; and it is often in those quiet moments that we can feel those timeless ties. This lovely lady will always remind me of the good stuff. Like beauty. And joy. And slowing down long enough to really hear and see each other. Such a wonderful teacher, and teaching, especially in the chaos of today’s world. Rest in Peace dear Aunt Pat. We will all miss you.

On to Normal

Well, not normal fully, yet. But pretty darn close if you ask me. You see, for a decade or longer, every February, I have hopped a flight west to hang with my kiddos for a week. Except in 2021. Yet, here we are again, rolling on to normal like that blip was a bad dream because I’m back with the one who gets us laughing. I’m so glad he does. Always.

He’s a sunset guy too. Whole days can be built about catching the dip. You know the moment when the sun sinks below the horizon? We always make a plan to witness that spectacular and brilliant instant. Afterwards we keep our eye on the sky as the orange and blue shifts to a pink and purple. Oh on to normal looks so very good.

Not too many mother’s rush their youngsters out and on to their own lives, but I did. Not that I didn’t ache with missing them, or shed those hard tears each time I watched them pack up and start out on their next adventure, but still I couldn’t hold them back. My mother never did. Instead she came to join in whatever we were doing, and with that in mind I do my best to arrive ready to do whatever they are doing. Happily.

Of course, seeing them means I get in the Pacific

and I’m once again mesmerized by palm against the blue with graffiti below

and seriously, cactus are such a fascination that I find myself yearning for more and more

while all the flowers in such bright hues crack my winter blues, to simply intoxicate.

How can I resist staring out into the space where the blue meets more blue? Yeah, I can’t.

Life is one twist and turn after another but getting together with family steadies me for what may lie ahead. 2020 taught us all that family is more precious than gold. I watch as my adult children navigate each sharp curve and straight away on their own roadway, thankful that our journeys continue to meet at the crosswords. Just long enough to remember all the standout sights. And longer still to soften the hurts too.

There is not much I would invite back from COVID, nope not much. But finally flying clear across this crazy, enormous country to laugh with my loves with less fear and more cheer helps the pandemic to fade further from view. I am so proud of our extraordinary scientists and medical community for making the impossible possible. At day’s end, I’m grateful for all their efforts to get back onto normal. To see that big sky of hope.