A time to gather with friends and family.
A time to spoil each other with little gifts to say you care.
A time to fill your bellies.
and especially a time to spend a little extra time in church.
This year's Christmas was a time also of remembrance.
It started out normal. I hit up training on Saturday then hit the road for an extended drive home. I was so excited for this year - my grandma and step-grandfather were flying in from Jersey. I don't get to see her much and she is the cutest little old lady (especially now with the diminishing filter between thoughts and mouth). Everyone was here - even my expecting sister and brother in law.
We sat around the tree and tv the past few days. Hugging and snuggling. drinking tea and playing games. I even went for my christmas day run!
This morning started out jsut the same. we got up. i packed the car ready to hit the highway back to virginia. we were meeting my brother for a lunch before all the travelling back to our repsective homes got under way. Then it happened. about 10 minutes before we were to leave for lunch, my step grandfather collasped in the family room. we all knew what was going on. mom used to be an ER nurse and she and i were there when my dad passed. The ambulance, fire, and police flooded the street. About an hour later at the hospital, at 12:13pm, he was pronounced dead.
Merry Christmas, i think. Then i think about it. He was flying tomorrow - imagine if it happened in the air. Imagine if it happened when my grandmother and him were home alone. I am glad I could be there to hold my grandma and cry with her and know that she wasn't alone. He lived 90 long years even being wounded in WWII and he and my grandma were able to share 19 years of wedded bliss together and end it with a fabulous christmas surrounded by family. (they married after meeting at the pool of the "grandma neighborhood". yeah she's a babe in a swim suit)
I might not have the new year's eve that i was looking forward to, but i will be with my family as we start a new year. together.
So it will be a crazy few days and weeks, but this is a time to be with each other.
I will miss your NYC accent and the smell of your pipe. I will miss your jokes. Thank you for being there for my grandma over the years. You will always hold a place in our extended family's heart.
John Richard Casazza
Cheers to all of us being happy and healthy. Having great families at home and our amazing triathlon fmaily. And being healthy to participate is the sport.