Wednesday, October 7, 2009

unwanted anniversary

++++++++++ ++++++++++ ++


it's been 22 years now

you were just 22 years old then

much too young to go.

you left us in a hurry--

just how you always were.

no goodbyes

from you


from us.

life is short

much too short for some

but you are not forgotten.





people you never met


your story,

my stories of you,

others' memories.


we all wish

we could know your story

through you


live your story

with you still...


Sunday, May 3, 2009

44 years ago today, Mike was born...almost in the doorway of the E.R.!

Thank goodness Grandma Hardie didn't take another wrong turn, or he may have been born in her car!

Birthdays past

A classic:
On his first birthday in Dubuque, with a big bump and bruise on his forehead...

...he sits on my cousin Shelly's lap to blow out his candle.

I believe this is Mike's 10th birthday. Not only did he have tear drop shaped ear lobes, he also had a pointy little chin!

Oh, I remember that Central Mustangs T-shirt. I even remember picking out that wild mascot for our elementary school.

Our birthdays are only 6 days apart, so I'm not sure whose cake this was since we're both blowing out the candles. Maybe we were making it easy on Mom that year and shared a cake?

Mom, did we both always ask for chocolate with chocolate? I know I did!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

A Reunion

Last night was very sweet.

After 21-1/2 years, my mom and I were reunited with my brother's Army escort.

This kind man, Greg Ulibarri...

...brought his soldier home.

A difficult job that he did extremely well.

In his entire Army career, it was the only time he served as an escort.

Until last year, we had lost touch with Greg after he returned to Fort Bliss from Mike's funeral. Not that I hadn't tried finding him. Making the search more challenging was that my information had his name misspelled (leaving out an "r" in his last name), and he doesn't live in this country anymore!

Coincidentally, we unknowingly lived only a short distance from each other--not even an hour's drive--for a number of years here in Texas before he moved to Germany.

So, we met his lovely wife, Ann, and hugged and visited.

After the kids found out that Mr. Ulibarri had been a wrestler, they begged some tips on holds (e.g. half nelson) and learned some rules. Then, of course, they had to display their new-found moves.

Then the kids presented some pictures they drew for our friends to have.

My Mikey (named after my brother Mike) showing Mike's escort the pictures of Army vehicles he drew for him. *Sniff*

After a wonderfully warm visit and lots of laughing (and eating), we had come to realize what we had already guessed. Greg is an amazingly compassionate, thoughtful, and selfless family man...and always seems to have a fun story and comforting word.

Then we had to say 'goodbye' since they had an early flight back to Germany this morning--but not after some more big hugs...and our kids chasing them in their car down to the end of the block! (Who needs dogs when you have kids like ours?)

You know how some people are so warm, you think you've known them all your life and could consider them extended family? That's Greg and Ann.

Thank you again, Greg, for bringing your soldier--our brother, son, and uncle--back home for his final rest.