“Well, drive safe, I’m sorry,” she said.

I found his death notice online the next day, and read about Carmen who worried about us until we got home each year; Dad called him as soon as we pulled into the driveway after our 18-hour drive to let him know we made it.

I read through memories people shared in the online guestbook. As I searched online for other memories to bring Carmen “back to life,” I found a heartwarming – sad, in retrospect – message that he wrote a little more than a month before his own death in a guestbook for his “buddy” who died Sept. 19. Carmen wrote that he’s considered him a cherished friend since they were introduced in 1982, that his friend brightened his life and that he knew what a bundle of wisdom he was. But the last two lines were hard to read: “I’d just like to have just one more drink with Steve. I will see you on the other side.” Carmen didn’t know how soon he would be reunited with Steve – on the same date, two months later.

Carmen’s life was, in my own definition, a miracle; read what the church defines as a miracle on Page 3. He was always spontaneous and creative – during our visit last year, he had each person stand up next to the fireplace at the front of the newly built “party” house, to share his or her name, age, workplace or school and favorite food. He then asked each person anything he wanted while they were in the “hot seat.” I don’t remember the questions, but I remember the laughter; Carmen was family.
The miracle lies in his existence, words of wisdom, love and that he shared some of his precious time on earth with my family and me. I’d like to have just one more hug from Carmen, one more, “I love you guys,” one more “How ya doin?” in his drawn-out, Italian accent. Until then, I will be thankful for the miracle and gift of Carmen that God shared with me. Our trip to Florida will never be the same without you, Carmen.
I will see you on the other side.
Being faithful and having a supportive and loving group of family and friends has helped me cope with loss and life, but I’ve also found a few iPod applications – which are on Page 5 – that start my day off right, remind me to slow down and trust in God. If you can, try them.
I hope you had a wonderful Christmas, MyFaithers. May God bless you and your loved ones this year.