I Need to Plant Some Roses So I Can Wake Up and Smell Them!

Lately, I have been waking up in the middle of the night with my mind racing with a long list of things to do, bills to pay and loved ones to worry about.  Last week I had a nice lunch reminiscing with two good friends from high school days, and yesterday I received an email from the one who had just visited. She had moved away many years ago.  She remarked how nice it was to spend time with old true “friends” who have known each other most of their lives and shared both good and bad moments along with laughter and tears. She won her battle with breast cancer, but sadly her younger sister died last year at age 58 of the same disease on the very same day my dad died in 2005 – Bastille Day, July 14.  Every anniversary my mind drifts to the French Marseillaise and the lyrics “le jour de gloire est arrive.”  My other friend had lost her husband to lung cancer a decade ago when they were both only 49.

I am blessed with many more old friends who have ridden life’s roller coaster with me. My rat pack from Skidmore College includes about a dozen of us, including my sister Nancy, “the original Snookie” who was nicknamed by our dad.  We have all been giggling and crying together since we were 18 and continue to do so.  Most recently they threw a surprise 60th Dragon Diva birthday party for me at Fresco’s in Manhattan. (Tiaras and Bobby Socks) Most of us were all born in 1952, the highly celebrated Chinese Year of the Dragon.

I just watched an interview with Danielle Steele on The View about her new novel, Friends Forever.  She told Barbara Walters that her many long-term friendships inspired her to write the book. She also expressed concern that the ability to develop true and lasting friendships is fading in today’s fast-paced texting generation with hundreds of “friends” on social networks.

I have worked for the same physician, Stephen DeFelice, since 1974 when I was a mere 22.  Many people consider this to be a bit freakish and odd. Some find it incredible. That was something which was considered very normal in my father’s generation when loyalty and dedication were honored, but these qualities are not nearly as strong today.  Dr. DeFelice and I share a 38 year history of very interesting experiences and stories with a globe full of characters. Never dull!  He is truly a conglomerate of one.

On a somber note, last week a young man of 21 was murdered in my quiet suburb of Montclair, New Jersey.  Brian Schiavetti was from Connecticut and was gunned down in the hallway of a residential building in the middle of our town.  To this day, no one knows why. The 21 year old young man who executed him was eventually caught after an intense manhunt.

I can’t stop thinking about this horrible tragedy, especially about his heartbroken mother and how she can possibly cope with the loss of her son. He had a loving family and a world of life’s experiences ahead of him. He was about to enter his senior year at Villanova Business School and was working as a summer intern at Thomson Reuters in Times Square. Oddly enough, my son is entering his junior year at Villanova and is also working as a summer intern at the same company.  Initially, some even thought he was the victim of the murder when they heard it on the news.

So I am back to thinking about how very fragile and unexpected life is and how critical it is to treasure each day with family, friends and life in general. Keep in mind the opening stanza of To the Virgins, To Make Much of Time by the 17th century English poet Robert Herrick.  “The over-riding message of Herrick’s work is that life is short, the world is beautiful, love is splendid, and we must use the short time we have to make the most of it.”

Gather Ye rosebuds While Ye May, by John William Waterhouse, (1909) – The opening stanza in one of his more famous poems, “To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time“, is as follows:

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,

Old Time is still a-flying;

And this same flower that smiles today,

Tomorrow will be dying.

And so, I plan to plant some roses, gather some rosebuds and wake up each morning to smell them!

Pink Promise roses planted in loving memory of my friend Cindy’s wonderful husband, Jon Carr. They are in the backyard garden of her home in San Diego. She wakes up and smells them every morning.



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