When You Have to Write a Eulogy

As many of you know, my precious warrior Eddie passed away on July 11. Since I’m still in grief mode, I’d like to share this piece I created for my brother’s funeral. Seems like it took forever to gather my scattered and torn thoughts, but here goes:  

“Everyone here has a treasured memory, or more, of Eddie and his unique place in their lives, and these are only a few of mine because there are too many to mention.

Not all of them were pretty. Some are linked with being raised in a dysfunctional family living in a small town where everyone knew your business and it sure wasn’t easy being the sister of a kid who barked at my friends and occasionally even bit them.

Most of the memories I cherish stem from the times he and I were simply brother and sister, and not me acting as the guardian or him as the protected. The times when we made faces on the Mac monitor or played Lady Gaga videos so he could dance. On the occasions when I took him to dinner, and he thought it was acceptable to tell our female servers how beautiful they were while trying to pat them on the butt.

We also called him Casanova.

I also cherish our childhood when we simply ran around in the woods playing with cap guns or went to our neighbor’s house for watermelon parties and to roast marshmallows.

I’m privileged to have had this pure soul to care for, and although I spent a great deal of time trying to figure out what was in Eddie’s mind, one can only guess the enormous challenges he faced on a daily basis.

Eddie loved the Easter bunny and Santa Claus and Smokey the Bear, King Kong, Mighty Joe Young, and Mr. Ed, the talking horse, along with Cowboy and Indian movies. He was as innocent as a person could be and had a rare conception of time during his daily routines. Like most of us, he didn’t like diversions or going to what he called “work” at the day program. In fact, one of his happiest days ever was when I advocated his retirement from the day program so he could stay home and watch his favorite programs which also included Animal Planet.

Regarding the way he measured time was vastly different than the way the rest of us do – the only way I can explain his conception of time was how it fell between holidays and his birthday, year after year. Once his birthday in March was over, he was asking what was happening for Easter.  When he was younger, he wanted to know when he could visit our mother or me, or both, and so on until October when it was time for Halloween. Thanksgiving was important to him when he was able to eat, but Easter, Christmas, and Santa Claus were his all-time super favorites –

Eddie stuck to the same topics of conversation when we talked on the phone or during a visit and it never differed, and he had a memory that was better than most. Some of what remained in his mind wasn’t very pleasant, but sometimes we were able to laugh at situations or people who he remembered with the special humor he was known for.

Sometimes our chats were serious, like when my brother who is a paster visited Eddie, and inspired me to continue where he left off. That Eddie talked about baby Jesus, Heaven and God were blessings that I hope were comforting to him –   

The night before he died, we sang Christmas carols about baby Jesus, sang hymns about Jesus too, and even though his voice was raspy and failing, and my voice is terrible, he mimed the words while I whispered the tunes.

After my children and I left the hospital during the ride home, I felt comforted knowing Eddie’s spirit was probably still in that hospital room even though he’d died half an hour prior, and that he was smiling at us during his journey to heaven, much like he is now.

Here’s the kicker – the one question he’d always ask whenever we talked on the phone or in person – and that one I will miss the most is, “What’s my favorite dog?”

About a year and a half ago, I wrote a nonfiction book about what it was like to be raised with a special needs sibling in the 60’s when there weren’t any support organizations or groups – in those days, probably around the 1950s there weren’t even any specialty physicians to tell my parents Eddie’s diagnosis. Anyhow, the book was well received by those who were interested in such a topic, and was a finalist in the RONE AWARDS in 2021.

The book is available in all venues and on sale for 99 cents. https://books2read.com/u/mVaNqM

Whew, let’s get to some comic relief, shall we? One of our Cute But Crazy Collections hit the Amazon Best Seller List AGAIN today, and we couldn’t be happier! https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09GYKGCGM

OR – Why not grab all four of these awesome, bestselling collections for beach reads, weekend laughter, and some R&R on a rainy day? https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B085RWNNWH

Thank you for reading and I hope you’ve entered our monthly contest – or if you’re looking for books and bundles by Authors’ Billboard authors, Click here.

Womb Mates and Then Some

This is the family’s newest mate, my grandson Jax, but please bear with me as I take a stroll down memory lane.

About a decade ago, Joe and I traveled to Virginia for a family reunion. My aunt was about to turn 83 years young and we were also going to celebrate a cousin’s milestone birthday, too. I felt crazy excited to be going because I hadn’t seen my aunt since 2009, shortly after my mother passed.
Over the course of the weekend, my aunt and I shared some spirited conversations about life in general and what we’d been doing since last we’d met. However, comments she made most mesmerizing were sharing how it feels to be the surviving twin, once a beloved sibling is gone.
Aunt has always referred to Mom as her Womb Mate. Mom was a dependent kind of woman, while Aunt was independent and a doer. She stood close by her sister and took care of her, emotionally and financially, especially after my parents divorced. Whenever Aunt visited us, she used her gifted wit to keep us all laughing.

I can’t remember a time that Aunt didn’t have Mom peeing her pants with her outrageous sense of humor. They were two of a kind in that department, and although Mom was needy, she never lost her own good humor, or the ability to love and be loved. Mom was also a talented artist and her paintings grace the walls of every family member’s home. That she relied on others bothered no one, because she was a shining star in her own right.
So, when we arrived at my aunt’s house, I was totally taken aback by her resemblance to Mom, perhaps for the first time ever. Mom and Aunt are fraternal twins, but as they grew older, their mannerisms and speech patterns became nearly identical. It was like seeing my mother once more.
The visit we had shared proved to be a powerful reminder of how much we both loved and missed Mom. Aunt is now half of a whole and I think she may miss Mom more than I if such a thing is possible. Those two had a special bond not everyone has the pleasure to share. They were conceived and born of one woman’s body. This makes them Womb Mates. And that’s kind of cool when you think about it…

My womb mate’s my brother, Eddie – although we didn’t share space at the same time, providence declared us mates just the same. We are so close I wrote a book about him and me, and what it was like to be siblings in the sixties when one of us was a special needs child. When people didn’t understand and how we persevered as children with an abusive father. Now, not only am I his Womb Mate, I’m also his guardian.

The story is called Running on All Fours and is the only nonfiction story I have ever penned. Because I lean towards romantic humor and suspense, writing the story was both a challenge and a labor of love. He is my best friend after all.

The book is currently on sale for 99 cents everywhere. https://books2read.com/u/mVaNqM

Because of Covid, I haven’t been able to see my Womb Mate as often as I’d love to, but here’s our Easter Sunday photo:

Anyway, I know you’re looking for humor during these trying times, or just because you like reading this fun genre – so kindly check out our Cute But Crazy Trio!

Yep! THREE of them! CBC3: Enjoy 8 side-splitting tales of love & screw-ups from USA Today & NY Times Bestselling Authors. CUTE BUT CRAZY 2 – DITZY DUDES – the follow-up boxset: Laugh at the 3rd bringing love & joy into UNIQUE AND UNPREDICTABLE!

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I hope you enjoy the rest of your summer and wish you many blessings.

Have you checked out The Authors Billboard’s Monthly contest for July yet? There’s still time to savor Free and Bargain books – for beach reads, of course. https://authorsbillboard.com/

Thanks for reading – xo


From Humor to Realism

Writing humorous romance has always been a blessed outlet for me, and it’s even more so now. I enjoy entertaining readers the way my flower trees bring me enjoyment.With that in mind, I created a fun story for the third and new installment in our romantic comedy collection Cute But Crazy – this one is subtitled Unique and Unpredictable.

My tale’s called The Charming Chameleon and here’s the description: Can karma inspire a mismatched couple to forgo masquerading and reveal their true identities for love?

Please Do Get the ENTIRE SET: “Grab your Kindle and get ready for a laugh-filled ride into the world of make-believe in this Romantic Comedy Box Set created by nine New York Times, USA Today, and Award-winning authors of THE AUTHORS’ BILLBOARD.” https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08PC9MLVV

The Great News? You can grab all three of the Cute But Crazy RomComs here and read for free on Kindle Unlimited:  https://bit.ly/CBCseries

True to the changing times, I’ve deviated from my norm and written several stories that aren’t really stories at all, but narratives based on true events that happened during my life, past and present. The first is a standalone about growing up with a handicapped brother and abusive father decades ago called Running on All Fours and is available on all venues.https://books2read.com/u/bwoVY0

My latest labor of love is the third and final saga from the Cindy’s Crusades series that began with the award winning RomCom Dinosaurs and Cherry Stems. It’s entitled DON’T BRUISE THE BANANAS – Currently on preorder and releasing May 3rd.

“A Free Pass For a Lifetime…
Intense emotion, leading to prose or poetry, cannot be described in any other fashion… I embrace Jay’s existence with the honor he deserves, because he always got me, even when I didn’t get myself.”

https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Bruise-Bananas-Cindys-Crusades-ebook/dp/B092S65SK2

Thank you for taking the time to read my post and wishing you continued good health and a joyful Spring. Sure took it’s time getting here!

Please make sure you take advantage of the wonderful opportunity by entering this month’s Authors’ Billboard contest. Here: http://: https://authorsbillboard.com

My Personal Website Was Hacked

GRRRR! I’m pretty angry – Although I know it’s not the end of the world (and it’s probably my own fault), when I was looking to update my website after a LONG absence, I discovered my pages were hacked and riddled with spam.

Lion

 

Life’s been tough enough for all of us, with Covid 19 and all, and I’m glad to share I’ve been keeping up to date with my writing just fine. However, with Joe heading to heaven not long ago, my focus has been keeping occupied with making sure my family and friends are safe, and entertaining my readers.

Why do these idiot demons insist on ruining what we try so hard to achieve by hacking our social media??? I know I am not alone; plenty of other have to deal with hacking, too.

Anyhow, I’m bailing out from my old domain and pleading for advice: What are my options, in your opinion, and the easiest website for me to begin anew? Please leave your suggestions in the comment section below – I’d consider your help a major favor.

In the meantime, please consider two of my new stories for your Kindle – the first is on pre-order, and I promise it’s a fun read. You can preorder it here: https://www.amazon.com/Tumbling-Into-Midnight-Loves-Salvation-ebook/dp/B08ZY4W4RL

https://www.amazon.com/Tumbling-Into-Midnight-Loves-Salvation-ebook/dp/B08ZY4W4RL

I’ve also changed up an oldie but goodie titled His Sacred Vow – New Cover, Updated Content, and I hope you’ll be pleased. https://www.amazon.com/His-Sacred-Susan-Jean-Ricci-ebook/dp/B071F5NWTS

I hope by the time you get this post, the update is live – both of my stories are just 99 cents or Free on Kindle Unlimited.

INVINCIBLE DESTINY

This is a collection you won’t want to miss!
“Whether you’re just starting out or starting over, losing your love or finding a new one, a first chance, or a second…maybe even a third, destiny is in your hands. It’s in your grasp. You find a way, you work hard, and you believe enough to make it happen.”

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08RZ6SKZ4

Now about those website suggestions…I’m seriously needy and totally need your assistance!

Happy Passover and a Blessed Easter to Everyone Who Celebrates from my granddaughter!