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Been Awhile

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OK Rooster, it’s time to get back in the saddle, you’ve been away, life’s gotten in the way, some negatives have happened. Time to move on.

In early June we lost our dog Maggie. She was my constant companion, my wife’s step buddy. The two of them did 3-5 miles a day without a problem. She was only eight and succumbed to an Aneurysm. My wife was in Connecticut caring for my sister at the time. I’ve never felt so alone. No wife, no dog. Just the darn cat, Simon, to share the grief with. Yeh, I really do like the critter.

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Maggie and the Mrs, just back from a walk in the late winter..

I’ve been fortunate in life to have had three sisters and a brother. I’m the eldest and as I’ve always said, “the only one from the original litter.”  My parents had me, called it quits and moved on. Most likely one of me was enough.

My mother remarried and she and my step father had two girls. Half sisters be they. One, Robin, lives in Florida, the other, Megan, in Virginia.

My father remarried and my step mother already had a daughter by her previous marriage. Now I had a step sister, Donna, at age seven. She hated me by the way. By the time I was ten, my step mother gave birth to a son, now I had a half-brother and his name was Richard. So I’m really the eldest of five.

For twenty years of our life we were next door neighbors to my step sister Donna. We moved south to MD twenty-eight years ago this month. Every Saturday morning for all of those twenty eight years my wife and Donna would catch up on life’s goings on via telephone. Theirs was a sisterly bond, plus they were both life long nurses. They even split seven-day a week jobs over the years.

Donna would retire as a nurse of 50 years last October. In early November she and her husband of forever would journey south to visit us for a long weekend. We had a great visit, spent time on the shooting range, ate well and reminisced. While at our home she mentioned she had a physical and some blood work was off and would get the follow-up results next week.

The next weeks follow-up proved devastating, Donna had Cancer. Really, no one needs that hand from that deck of cards.

Donna would die on July first surrounded by her husband, children, grandchildren, brothers spouses and some close friends at home. Mary Agnes, her Saturday morning phone contact, provided care off and on for the past several months. Oh, and Donna complained about that care constantly (in jest!). Donna died at home and she will be missed immensely. For the last two weeks of her life the Mrs. and Donna’s daughter Sue were at her side so she could remain at home.

My eldest daughter wrote a Eulogy for my sister that I would like to share with you now.

Maya Angelou said……

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, they will forget what you did but they will never forget how you made them feel.”

Aunt Donna, Donna Mae Brodin, was a woman who made each one of us feel that we were the only person in the room, that we mattered and that we were important. Last Thursday we celebrated her and all she was… A wife, mom, sister, aunt, grandmother, friend, neighbor who did so much for each and every one of us.

My sister and I have been reminiscing, sharing stories of Aunt Donna for the past several weeks, evidence of all the things she did for so many and the multitude of ways she made us all smile

Here’s a few memories…

She grounded us – She took us to summer bible school at the Lutheran church – Summer fun!

She did work outs with Jane Fonda and who was the curly-haired crazy man? I hear there is even a video of her on a treadmill…..

She always got us the good sugary cereals since our mom was a Sugar Nazi!

One thing she did – for the majority of her life, was her vocation…. Her love – She was a nurse…. From nursing kittens…. (Litter after litter) She nursed family, friends, and her patients back to health. She recently retired from the VNA. One of her proudest moments was when she was recognized with the Florence Nightingale award in 2013. She inspires me today to be a better nurse by making a difference with each and every patient.

It was not unusual for Aunt Donna to buy food, clothes or other things for her patients. Her generosity knew no bounds. She nursed all of us when we were sick and always made sure we had Vicks cough drops! She showed amazing generosity to her family. She and Uncle John hosted lots of house guests for extended stays, Uncle Rick, Uncle Bruce, Sue, Johnny, Mylie, Timmy….

She was funny! And she had an amazing laugh! It was not uncommon for her and my mom to show up at the bus stop dressed up in some outfit to make the bus driver laugh and humiliate kids. I hear her friends at VNA also experienced her great sense of humor.

She and our mom talked every Saturday. Oftentimes I would come over on Saturday morning and my mom would be on the phone, laughing hysterically as they solved the problems of the world through the power of Verizon!

Aunt Donna could “DO”Christmas and for that matter, any event. Any time she hosted an event she would always make sure she got the one special thing any guest would like. For me, at Christmas it was cashews…. And the Robert Goulet Christmas record.

She truly personified Maya Angelou’s words…. she made us feel special each and every day.

Thank you Kathryn, well said.

Aunt Donna would never get seafood however. We love you Aunt Donna.

Thanks for listening and allowing me to share my sister and Maggie with you. To all my Facebook and Twitter friends, thank you for your messages of support and condolences. To the messages in Allen’s “Missive” and those you serve, you are all so very special. The damn sand between my toes is a pain in the ass though.

God Bless America, and God Bless Donna Brodin and a special companion, Maggie.

Rooster LogoSemper-fidelis


6 Comments

  1. Paula Wright says:

    WELL SAID, GREAT MEMORIES

  2. I’m sorry about your dog. I’ve been through that myself – three times.

  3. Bun Karyudo says:

    I was saddened to about your sister’s passing. Cancer is a terrible thing and can strike with little prior warning. My own family has also suffered because of it a number of times over the years. Your daughter’s eulogy to Donna was beautiful and heartwarming.

  4. marijo1245 says:

    I’m glad you’re back! I understand loss all too well and its necessity in this life, but would not wish it for anyone. I lost my dog and my mom within days of one another. The sting of death just plain stinks. Prayers always!

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