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Smile Because it Happened

Many years ago, while mourning the loss of my Mom, a friend and co-worker walked into my office, closing the door behind him. Ron knew that I was struggling with Mom’s death and he decided to share a story.

Ron lost his mother when he was 12 years old. Even at that young and impressionable age, Ron embraced the wisdom of an older relative who persuaded him to not focus on what will never be again in this life, but to be thankful for the times he did have with his Mom. “Cherish those times and those memories”, Ron was told. “Let them curb your sorrow.”

The conversation was an awakening and it opened my mind to a new outlook while lightening the load on my heart. Ever since, that’s how I choose to deal with death, guided by faith.

Fast forward to May 14, 2018…

At 3AM that day, I awoke from a dream about my Dad who was in the grips of a losing battle with pancreatic cancer. The end was drawing near. Dad didn’t say anything in the dream, just looked me dead in the eye and smiled from ear to ear with brightness all around him. The look was very much like the picture below even though at that time, Dad was much older and extremely frail.

Smile because it happened

The image of Dad in my dream was strong. It really blew me away and I couldn’t fall back to sleep. So, I got up to get some work done before heading over to my sister Ronni’s later that morning to help out with Dad.

At 4:25AM my cell phone rang. It was my sister, and without answering the phone, I knew that he was gone. The dream wasn’t a dream at all. Dad was saying goodbye.

His words of wisdom live on, just like our cherished memories. These things, and our love never die. Never! Here’s to you Pop. I hope you’re on the first tee, looking at a lush fairway kissed by the sun. Have a great round…

May 13, 2021

Yesterday I went to visit Dad, Mom and my grandparents at the cemetery. As explained in my Mother’s Day article, “Hi Mom”, the only time I go there is on Mother’s Day. This Mother’s Day didn’t allow the time to make that visit so yesterday was the day for my annual journey to their memorial. I brought along some flowers.

I also awoke yesterday to a collection of thoughts about all of them, as well as some other dear family members who have passed on. Those thoughts, probably triggered by the anniversary of Dad’s passing, gathered together and organized themselves into the following poem:

You seem so long gone, yet never far away.
I wonder often how things might be different, if you were still here today.
The mark you left upon us indelible, we carry you always in our hearts,
The lessons you taught, the love you left behind, never keeps us far apart.

We are sometimes somber when we ponder what you’ve missed,
Yet we cling to the times we shared, and consider ourselves blessed.
I stand here today to honor your everlasting memories,
To share my love and remind you how much you meant to me.

You live within each of us, your love carries on and on,
I sometimes feel melancholy, and fret that you are gone.
Are you near us? Can you see us? I often wonder how you’ve been.
What I’d give to touch you, to embrace you once again.

Until that day comes, may our love conquer our sorrows,
May the beauty of our yesterdays with you, shape all of our tomorrows.
And in our moments of weakness, when we miss you and feel somewhat saddened,
Remind us not to cry that it’s over, but smile because it happened.

If I’ve helped just one of you lighten your heart’s burden, well then this article was well worth the time.

Blessings to you all and have a wonderful weekend…

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Tony Lombardi
Besides his work here at Thumbs Up 247, Tony is the founder and His work has been featured on various sports websites and he hosts The Russell Street Recap. Among his favorite things in life are his wife, kids, family, friends, The Beatles, Breaking Bad, Gladiator, The Godfather, Guinness, orange crushes, meatballs and Key West, not necessarily in that order. Follow Tony on Twitter @RSRLombardi. Drop him a note at

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