Star Light, Star Bright,
First star I see tonight,
I wish I may, I wish I might,
Have this wish I wish tonight!
“Star Light, Star Bright” is a poem that I’m quite sure we are all familiar with. As little children and even as adults, we gaze up into the sky searching to be the “first one” to spot that “first star.” We are filled with expectant joy! And then our moment comes and our star is beaming like a beautiful diamond in the night sky waiting for our wish.
“I wish I may, I wish I might. . .have this wish I wish tonight”
We all have memories of straining our necks looking up to spot “the star.” My memory now is not of myself, but of my younger son Nick. He was a little guy then and my husband, myself and Robby, our older guy by four years, were vacationing out on Long Island. It was a beautiful evening and the sun was setting as we found ourselves walking leisurely around the lake. As we started to stroll back to the inn, a swing set emerged in our view and we made our way to it. It was a perfect evening for swinging and “wishing on a star.”
As we swung through the air gazing up at the darkening sky, the first star appeared and Nick caught sight of it! We started to recite the poem and then he made his wish silently. But he could never keep a secret back then and wanted to share it. After my cries of “no, keep it to yourself. . . otherwise it won’t come true,“ he blurted it out anyway!
“I hope that Grandad lives a very long time!”
Grandad was my husband’s grandfather, a wonderful man who you loved to be near and experience his joy and happiness. I could easily see Nick making that wish and his wish certainly did come true for Grandad lived to be near 100 years old!
Twenty Five years later or so, Nick would be the one to hear the request spoken from Rob’s lips to “free him“ as he lay in his hospital bed at Columbia Presbyterian in Manhattan. How long ago that memory must have been in my son’s mind now of Montauk and the “star“ as he heard these words addressed to him by his father. When recently discussing that memory, he said to me “maybe I should have made that wish for another guy!“
It was only recently, three years later that I asked Nick what did you say when Dad asked you to “free him?” Nick replied, “Dad, I really don’t like hearing this. . . but okay” and my husband quietly turned around and faced the other side of the bed. I was in such pain when Nick shared those words with me. I was sorry that my son had to be the deliverer of such news and now clearly Rob was asking for us to let him go. So we sat vigil at his bedside and prepared ourselves to let go and let God come and take Rob to his eternal home. I remember that “vigil time” with the following memories forever etched in my heart:
I remember visions of our older son, Robby, standing at my husband’s bedside with his iPhone playing music in his Dad’s ear of his favorite songs.
My daughter in law Samantha sleeping on the concrete floor beneath Rob’s hospital bed like a puppy, and family and friends coming to say their final good-byes.
We all hung in there . . .
And I literally prayed my way through the whole time, asking Jesus to give me strength and triple strength to our two sons and daughter in law.
Death is an entry into the “Eternal” and yet all of us hold on so desperately to life here on earth. My husband had suffered greatly with leukemia for 16 months and went through all the hospital and emergency room visits, clinical trials, medical tests, endless blood transfusions, chemo and all the side effects that he received as I mentioned in my last posting.
Rob was ready to go!
Who wouldn’t have been if you believe there is a Kingdom that is Eternal and suffering is no more?
Who wouldn’t want to say “free me!”
But in reality, that is for the person that is leaving and not for the family and friends that are left behind . . . especially the wife, the sons and the daughter in law, for our lives would be forever changed.
From a Tuesday afternoon to a Thursday morning, it seems all like a blur now. It seems surreal and you wonder if this was truly a dream or if we were really parting ways. For me, that’s where the strength of my God came in. I could never have done it without Him at my side. Never! Ever! He’s been there at every twist, turn and detour of my life and this moment wasn’t going to be any different. He would never abandon me now. I could count on Jesus! His Promise is Eternal.
This was probably the most horrific moment that I would have to experience thus far in my life and I needed my God like no other time.
Rob had been everything to me.
How do you explain a love like that?
We were soulmates. We were one!
And I think we prided ourselves on that.
We knew we were blessed with our marriage and with our two beautiful sons and daughter in law.
We knew we were unique in a world that spouts the “I.”
Rob and I were the “we.”
“We” did everything together for 44 years and now it looked like that was all coming to a screeching halt quickly.
Rob passed silently from this world to the eternal in the early morning hours when Manhattan was just waking up to traffic and the beginning of a new workday. Life went on “out there” on the streets of New York and you just wanted to yell out “Stop! Don’t you know that we just lost our beloved?” There’s no need to give a blow by blow description of those final hours or what we held in our hearts or experienced. That’s private and very personal and held close to the vest, so to speak.
But I will share with you the following:
One of the doctors walked into the room shortly after Rob died and as I sat in the chair, he knelt down before me on the floor.
He said, “Anita, I’m so sorry about Rob. . .
but I want you to know you have a beautiful family.
I’m sure you would have wanted more time with Rob!”
I remember I answered him with these words as Samantha, my daughter in law looked on.
“No. Rob and I had 44 years of a beautiful marriage, and some people don’t even get that!”
His face turned into a huge grin
and he told me that he never heard those words before
and how he wished he heard them more often.
Something tells me I made his day that particular morning. Of course, I would think later on as the months and years have gone by, “was I crazy to answer the doctor in that way? Yikes! What was I thinking?” Actually, I think it was God thinking and answering for me at that moment.
I began this blog posting with Star Light, Star Bright. Rob certainly could be described as the Shining Star of our family and for his friends as well.
Rob was so kind,
so very compassionate,
and so much fun. . .
He could do everything, make everything, cook and even bake!
He helped me clean, did laundry and even went food shopping!
Truly I cannot think of anything he couldn’t do or try to do. I was blessed to marry such a beautiful man who was not only a wonderful husband but also a beautiful father of our two sons. How grateful I am to our Loving God who created and breathed Rob into life here on earth and that I met him at that red light! He was a pure gift to me and to everyone that knew him.
In closing, I have a little back story to share with you concerning this particular blog and the choosing of a YouTube song to go with my writing.
I had pretty much decided to use an Enya song that seemed mellow and musically portrayed the sadness within as I wrote this posting. However, clearly an intervention was made and I saw my husband’s autograph all over it. You see, while I was happily lying on the couch listening to a serene and calming song that I wanted to include with this post, Enya got the boot and the theme song from The Last of the Mohicans started to play instead on a YouTube video. How did that happen????? I didn’t touch a button! My fingers were clearly away from the phone and the music changed as if a “heavenly disc jockey” decided to change it up!
Tears instantly welled up in my eyes for I sensed my husband’s presence. We absolutely loved that movie and watched it millions of times. We loved the theme song and we would find ourselves humming it time and time again. As I now watched the beautiful mountain scenery and images of castles, I knew this was the song. As the music reaches one crescendo after another, I could not help but think of the Soul’s Ascent to the Threshold of the Heavenly Banquet of which Rob had been invited to by his family in his dream. The YouTube closes with a close-up of a buck which Rob also had a great love for. Okay, Rob! I got it! “We” pulled this one together! So, sorry Enya!
“Love is Stronger than Death,”
would prove these words to be true
at his own Funeral Mass.
To be continued . . .
©2018 Anita Guariglia
Image by Pexels.com
Youtube – “The Last of the Mohicans – The Gael:
Royal Scots Dragoon Guards – Bagpipes