By Susan Dromey Heeter
There is something completely joyful about creating, affirming, celebrating, and remembering connections. And as I muse joyfully on the connections celebrated at my recent 35th high school reunion, I think fondly of one in particular.
Biaggio not only had the best name in the sea of Marys and Stephens and Johns graduating from Cathedral High School Class of ’81, he was funny, kind and while a CHS graduate, a Holy Name Grammar School grad as well. I’d known Biaggio when Nixon was in office, when leisure suits were en vogue, when perms were given at home. So when I saw him last month, it had been over 20 years since we’d last connected. And it was pure joy; I had news that was not meant to be said on line, via Facebook or over the phone.
My dear mother, Nancy, knew Biaggio as long as I did. Nancy was diagnosed in October 1995 of pancreatic cancer and anyone who knows these words, recognizes that pain and sorrow that will be attached to this diagnosis. Fortunately, my mother had great hospice care and was enveloped by loving family and merciful pain management towards the end. And as a result of her medications, her final phrases and words were incoherent and nonsensical most of the time.
When she passed on in May of 1996, a few of her final utterings included, “I love that Biaggio.” And in seeing Biaggio, I finally got to tell him this face to face. “Biaggio,” I laughed, “my mother’s last words were not, ‘oh my dear daughter Susan’ I love you so much,’ rather, they were about you!” And we laughed and thought of my mother and our giggles brought her back. And we connected back to Nance and our shared past.
Connections do that. We get the energy from plugging into the past, remembering moments, recreating life. When Biaggio told me of the locket he’d wanted to give me in fifth grade, we laughed again. Suddenly we were not white haired and bald, we were 10. A good connection takes away time and pain and moments passed. A good connection brings energy and life and memories are in fluorescent technicolor. It’s fun to be 10, fun to connect with old friends.
And the beauty of connections is they can last, can be momentary, can be whatever we choose them to be. As we enter into this season of Christmas, my connections are not with Toys R Us or Kohls, rather a piece of ribbon candy can bring me right back to Christmas 1976. Do I want to stay there? Oh dear, no…but I love the quick visit back.
Returning to see old friends, family members, those we are connected to regularly or just once every few decades is lovely. I muse joyfully over these connections, may you enjoy yours, too. Bask in the energy of the spark and a deep heart-felt laugh. And if your Mom has passed on? May you find a connection to her during this holiday season – in her final words, her last moments, her legacy of loving all – maybe even Biaggio.
Susan Dromey Heeter, a writer from Dover who recently let her hair go au natural white, debuts her new column “Joyful Musings” at InDepthNH.org. Dromey Heeter is a secondary Spanish Teacher at Dover High School and the mother of two teenage daughters. Writing has been her passion since her English majoring days at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. Dromey Heeter has lived in The Netherlands, Alaska and currently basks in all things New England, including the frigid winters. An avid swimmer, Dromey Heeter’s great passion is to bring back body surfing as most children have no idea how to ride waves without ridiculous boogie boards. She also writes about thrift shopping and all things frugal in a column called “Budget Vogue” for the New Hampshire Union Leader.