You got to treat people like they matter. Like they’re the only thing in your world. ~ Roy Watkins

My first husband will always be special. We were married for a month in sixth grade. I was Claudia to his Pilate in a Christian school Easter play, and I DID NOT want to play his wife. Chuck was gangly and nerdy, but what eleven-year-old boy isn’t?

I didn’t want to be his wife, because he was so much more gifted than I was. He occupied the space and commandeered the audience, leaving my woeful lack of skill apparent to everyone. For the rest of my life, he will be one of the most talented, creative people I will ever know.

He died this year.

Those words catch on my tongue. I still can’t get them out. He left a wife and a son and so many people who miss him, because he treated people like they mattered. In high school, he put together a series of hilarious skits set to music, and he knew which classmate would be perfect for each role. At work, he organized functions and events to bring people together and build community. At home, he was a model husband and father, AND he created gourmet food he couldn’t eat for almost five years. Less than a year before he succumbed to pancreatic cancer, he attended my book event at his local library. He was gritty and tough and destroyed and brittle and amazing.

When he knew he was dying, he got out his computer and put together a series of photographs, scenes that mattered to him from his too-short life. In most of his pictures, he was with others, sharing their victories and cheering them on. Chuck treated others like they were the only things in his world.

I hope my good deeds carry his essence. I hope humanity remembers him long after others are forgotten. I hope I see him again someday.

———————–

This is part of a series of pictures about making memories. If you liked the story why not share it with your friends? Let’s meet on Facebook or Twitter. If you prefer pictures you will surely like my Instagram. I’ve collected inspirational things and more on Pinterest! Any comments? Write them below!

treat people like they matter

Don't Wait For Other People

“Don’t wait for other people to make special things happen. Create your own memories.” – Heidi Klum

 

I remember milepost 120.

MTM left me on a deserted parkway, fifteen miles north of Jackson, Mississippi. As I took the first steps of my second week, he drove east, twelve hours to resume a lonesome life at home.

I watched his car merge with the scenery, listened for the echo of his engine long after he was gone. Until my sobs obliterated it.

I missed him.
I missed our life.

What had I done? I heeded my soul’s whisper: Don’t wait. I undertook a stupidstupidstupid walk I couldn’t imagine finishing. I rubbed my temples and begged my migraine to fell me. I wanted to go home.

During my worst heartsickness, I stopped and made this video:

And I just watched it and cried all over again.

Almost two years later, I watch myself and marvel at a broken woman who never showed the true depth of her desperation. How I collapsed on that curb and sobbed for ten minutes and couldn’t force my limbs to straighten when I decided to plod onward. A memory I’ll always cherish almost died that day.

Life doesn’t promise us easy memories. Our most memorable events, the things we truly savor, usually involve some pain with a side of agony. Don’t wait for order. Don’t settle for ease. Don’t stop when everything screams, “Impossible!” Watch me in this video and know my glee at where I am today.

Create your own memories, snippets of life you’ll be proud to claim as you swim through tears. You won’t be sorry.

——————–

Photograph Credit: Andra Watkins

This is part of a series of pictures about making memories. If you liked the story why not share it with your friends? Let’s meet on Facebook or Twitter. If you prefer pictures you will surely like my Instagram. I’ve collected inspirational things and more on Pinterest! Any comments? Write them below!

remember moments

We do not remember days. We remember moments. – Caesar Pavese

Of my many moments, I recall this one in technicolor.

I stood in an art gallery at the back of the old Hotel Newburgh. I toured the old hotel-turned-homeless housing. Blundered through its lobby and missed the basement bar. Even stood on the barren Ritz Theater stage, where Lucy and Ricky launched their act. I breathed dust motes of Louis Armstrong and Nat King Cole.

Maybe the place spoke to me then. I don’t remember every detail about the day.

But I can’t forget these moments.

My assistant goes through my extensive photography collection and creates these memes, and I make words to fit them. Her efforts on my behalf have finally given me brain space to create again. I hope these Monday stories remind you of moments you used to savor here.

I’m not ashamed to admit I’ve cried with gratitude, because my brain threatened a bloody exorcism. Characters would spew. Jendi saved my sanity and helped MTM avoid a mess.

I’m revising a novel, a sequel to To Live Forever, partially set within these walls. I bungled around the spaces, my stories stoppered with steel and cement and bricks of insecurity.

Until these moments bansheed through my fingers and morphed into a scene. A vanished woman tackling what may be her final chance at redemption. A West Point cadet whose only option is brokering his soul. A villain determined to destroy them both.

I didn’t expect this outcome when I kissed a painted fish.

Can you recall a few moments made more significant with distance and space? What happened to make them matter?

——————

Photograph Credit: Andra Watkins

This is part of a series of pictures about making memories. If you liked the story why not share it with your friends? Let’s meet on Facebook or Twitter. If you prefer pictures you will surely like my Instagram. I’ve collected inspirational things and more on Pinterest! Any comments? Write them below!

P.S. I have another great memory that involves kissing Elvis.