I am not going to bore everyone by listing everything that has held me hostage for the past year and a half but suffice it to say that it feels, to me at least, that it has been one thing after another with no breathing room.
Sometimes I have to remind myself not to hold my breath. It almost feels natural to hold my breath...waiting for what is next. Sound pessimistic? I suppose it does. The good thing is that my pessimism doesn't last long before it gives way to optimism and laughter. Sometimes I have to laugh or I will cry. But I've cried plenty too.
The latest thing to write on my slate of life experiences was the passing of my 33 year old nephew, Ricky. I guess over the course of his growing up people began to call him Rick but I still call him Ricky and always will. He was the son of my brother, Richard, who himself lost his life on March 31st of this year. Then seven weeks to the day, his son, my nephew, lost his.
My brother Richard died at the age of 53 of a massive heart attack. He had quadruple bypass surgery in November 2009 and began to suffer heart attacks periodically shortly after his surgery. Then in late March the doctors told him to get his things in order because if he had another heart attack he probably wouldn't survive it. And he didn't. Days later he left behind a wife and three grown children, his parents, two sisters and a brother. Now his son, Ricky, has left behind a mother, a sister and brother, grandparents and numerous aunts, uncles and friends. My poor sister-in-law. She has buried her husband and her son within 7 weeks. I can't think of much else harder than that.
Ricky was an over the road truck driver. He'd been driving for about 4 years, loved what he did and had hundreds of friends across the U.S. He was a hard worker and owned his own truck. Just days before his passing he had received his passport so that he could go on his first cruise to the Bahamas with friends. Life was bright for him and he was happy.
Here is a blog post from Land Line Media Blog about Ricky and what was called "Rick's Last Ride Home" as a trucker friend, Ralph Acocella, Jr., brought Rick's cremated remains back from Florida to deliver them to his mother in Wisconsin. It was his last ride in a semi-truck and through the states he'd seen many times over in his own travels.
There aren't words to properly thank Ralph for his final act of love and service to Ricky. What a tribute of friendship he has given to Ricky and his family. Thank you, Ralph. May you be greatly blessed for your efforts of the past week. He couldn't have had a better traveling companion than you, Ralph, on his last ride home.
*The picture at the top of this post is the picture that Ricky took in the window of his semi-truck and had as his Facebook profile.