Our miracle RAINBOW BABY BOY arrived 8/2018

1st IVF = BFN
2nd IVF = Baby A, born May 2015
3rd IVF = Miscarriage at 14 weeks
4th IVF = BFN
After we paid for 5th IVF, positive pregnancy without IVF!

Because the important moments in life just don’t fit in a status update! I started this blog when I was training for my first ½ Ironman, (70.3 miles) to record what I hoped would be growth and progress but ended up being a huge learning experience. Although fitness is one of the key ingredients to a happy life, it certainly isn't the only ingredient. My blog has evolved to document growth, progress and setbacks in other areas too. From my surprise proposal in Rome and wedding in the fall of 2013, to Mom's devastating stage IV cancer diagnosis and death 2 weeks after I found out I was pregnant. Who knows what shape it will take, but thanks for being along for the ride.

Wednesday, May 1, 2024

The Mysterious Man at Dad's Gravesite Service

We didn't inform anyone of Dad's funeral Mass beyond his friend, Sergeant Beverly, from his military days. The Mass was just family: the children and I, my husband and my brother, Glen. Mom had a small crowd at hers, but I wanted people there. Many people had been a part of her journey. I remember my friend, Jennifer, showing up with a lot of cleavage and saying, "Mom wouldn't expect anything less!" We had a nice tea reception afterward at our home (thanks, Margie!). I was newly pregnant, and so, along with the immeasurable sadness, there was the juxtaposition of hope and promise of new life.

But Dad's ending was more abrupt, and we thought he had more time. Heck, we even thought he might gain weight and come home. When he took a turn for the worse, it was so sudden. Although I am not generally this way, I wanted it to be more private for some reason. I did not want people to go out of a sense of obligation, and I didn't want to have to be "on" or make small talk. Also, with the passing of Mom, Dad's social circle had dwindled. He had a few life-long friends, but two of them were in other countries; El Salvador and England. The radical shift in how I approached Mom's service versus Dad's shows that not only is the process of grief different for everyone, but the process of grief can even be different for the same person, depending on the time and space in their life as well as a whole host of other factors.

So, for the gravesite service that followed at Riverside National Cemetary, I knew Beverly would be there, as well as a few friends of Glen. But that's all I was expecting. I was not expecting Richochet Rico (alias, for privacy purposes).

I was surprised to see that there were two men there about my age. I learned that they served in the military with Dad and found out that one of them actually lived really close to us, in a community just up the hill. The older I get, the less I believe in coincidences, and so we exchanged numbers, with the hope on my part of getting together and finding out more. Then suddenly, we found ourselves with 14 puppies and unable to host, followed by my husband's family scheduled to come and then my family flying from England to stay with us. This would be followed by a trip to Oregon for all of us and then our summer travels. All this while planning for her 1st Holy Communion and 9th birthday party. I began to realize that the earliest we could meet with this man and his wife would be August!

And so, I decided to ask him via text why he cared enough to show up at Dad's funeral. This is his response, which brought tears to my eyes:

Hi Megan, I guess the short answer is I realized after both my parents passed away that the people you care about aren’t going to be here forever, and when they leave us the least you can do is show up one last time and pay your respects. The longer answer is that Phil always treated me with kindness and compassion; when I was at the Aviation unit at Los Alamitos I was making my way through college, working at least one part time job and doing the weekend soldiering thing as well, so needless to say I was a little stressed. Then to top things off I got my girlfriend pregnant and became a dad well before we’d planned to. He could see and knew the pressure I was under, so would take the time to checked in with me to see how I was doing and offered words of encouragement. He’d even cover for me and get me out of busy-work duties so I could get away for a few hours and go study if I had a midterm or final coming up. Little things like that made a huge difference to me and I was always grateful for that and never forgot. Hope this helps 🙏🏽

What an amazing impact Dad made in this man's life through small actions. Dad likely never knew about the impact he had. Ricochet Rico's unexpected presence at my father's funeral was deeply moving and served as a poignant reminder of the impact of simple acts of kindness. Learning about the significant role my father played in Rico's life through his simple yet supportive gestures was both humbling and heartwarming. It underscored the importance of cultivating meaningful connections and leaving behind a legacy of compassion. This experience has left a lasting impression on me, highlighting the power of even the smallest gestures to touch the lives of others in profound ways.

We should all live our lives with that goal in mind: to impact someone enough that they take the time out of their busy life to show up at our funeral. We should all strive to have a Richochet Rico show up at our funeral, to have made an impact, whether we realized it at the time or not.