Archive for the ‘aging’ Category

Celebration Of Life ~ NY

November 4, 2019

One year ago today we celebrated the life of Florence ❤️❤️❤️
Through a broken heart this is what I was able to cobble together from her extraordinary life well lived and shared with the many who were there and for the many more who couldn’t be there (and for those since who have asked me to possibly share, with typos and all, today feels like the right time to remember her this way…

❤️ I’m so proud of her, Love truly won out! ❤️

Celebration of Life ~ NY

Thank you everyone for being here and thank you Ron, number 1 son, as his mom would say, for hosting this Celebration of Life for your mom. Really perfect energy.

Forgive me I will need to read most of what I have to share as I don’t share the same fearlessness of public speaking that Florence did…

Dearly beloved, It seems a bit cliché sometimes but then I realized it is so appropriate…Florence loved every single one of us here, dearly. And her capacity for Love was more then anyone I ever knew.

Now you will see some Hawaiian themed items around here today, just as we had on the beach here in August and on the beach in Seattle in October. Hawaii and Maui particularly were a huge part of our lives and our hearts. We spent a lot of time there in the 24 years we were together. So I have these fresh Hawaiian leis and some other little decorative items and even some sweet treats that Florence brought back from our last trip there in April. One of the many things we loved was the beauty of the Hawaiian culture and people. Aloha means so many things but simply it means both hello and goodbye…which feels appropriate today…In August with family on the beaches of Long Beach and in October in Seattle with family and friends on the beaches of Golden Gardens we cast out a lei with some of Florence’s ashes in a traditional send off. As per her wishes. Her final wish was for her ashes to be in Maui waters with the whales, the dolphins and the sea turtles that she loved so much. That will be completed in the not to distant future.

This heart I am holding is a gift she received from a dear friend on her 75th birthday this year in Maui. So I found that this would be the perfect talking feather like item I could find to hold while speaking of Florence. As I told the grandkids it is Gramence’s (that was Florence’s grandma name) or Florence’s heart…perfect… so you can hold Florence’s heart while speaking of her.

So We gather here today out of love and sadness but also celebration of our dear Florence, our dear Gramence – she was many things to many people, she was a loving partner, a mother, a grandmother, a singer, a performer, a teacher, a confidant, a colleague,, a friend…she was an incredibly loving person and fantastically joy filled and funny. And she loved to laugh!! A beautiful soul and a beautiful Angel that walked this earth plane for 75 years.

We are going to miss her tremendously. And though there is a giant hole in, and a huge gap to fill in our hearts and our lives let’s take a little bit of comfort from all the memories and the love and joys that will live on in us. And to know that though she has left us from the physical world she is still around us and in us through the spiritual world.

So, how do you wrap up the incredible person she was and the impact she had in a few minutes, a few paragraphs? you can’t but I will try too… And please forgive me if I bounce around bit as I have tried to consolidate a tremendously wide ranging life.

So she had an incredible range of talents and attributes and was an extremely creative person with many outlets to share her gifts with the world…singer, dancer, model, writer, poet, teacher, performer, healer, Angel channel, photographer and much more.

There was much she loved about life but, trying again to boil it down, I think her two major loves in life were…People, particularly her family, her friends and ultimately her community. Her second love was singing and performing. Both were a major part of her life.

She brought joy to so many through her singing and performing.

Straight out of high school in Florida she came back to NY where she had been born and began pursuing her childhood dream of singing, dancing, acting and performing. Working and living in the East Village during the 60’s.

Then after many years she made her way out to and ultimately laid down roots here on Long Island and raised her family with everything she had. She loved being a mother. And loved being a grandmother!!

During that time she gave birth to two sons Ron and Chris who she loved dearly. Mothered many and Loved and nurtured many more. And her adopted son by choice, as she put it, Ed held a special place in her life and her heart.

An activist for good from the personal level to societal level with equal passion Florence would help any one in need.

She touched so many people in a positive way we’re still learning about all the people that she had a positive impact on in this world. Of course we know firsthand how special she was, ultimately her biggest gift was touching our hearts and our souls in a loving and beautiful way.
She taught in the school systems, first via her company The Balloon & Bubble Gum company and then through the the Human Connections Institute teaching better ways for kids to connect and to communicate, feel love and be empowered. While working at the Human Connections Institute as a workshop facilitator for many years she developed the Warm Fuzzy workshop around her creation the Warm Fuzzy, which I believe still continues in some form to this day in the school systems on Long Island.

She was one of the Women at the forefront of working and raising a family.
She had to fight through a lot to win the right to a career and to pursue what brought her joy even though many in society including some family weren’t ready for it. Ultimately she was proudly part of the women’s and human rights movements.

She was actively part of the school system pta and such and many times advocated not just for her own but others she found in need.

She created tons of inspirational products via her company Conscious Concepts that she created for inspirational products… such as the Official hug pillow and shirts and mugs, Inner Child dolls, Expect Miracles products, Believing Is Seeing products, Angel bumber stickers, the light at the end of the tunnel is not a freight train Keychain flashlight, Warm Fuzzies, etc etc etc.

She wrote and directed plays and performances.

Later she was proudly part of the creation of the Long Beach writers group that she then participated in and enjoyed for many years, and which continues on strong as ever, but, with one less voice.

Here is what one member said of her that couldn’t be here today…

Florence was a unique woman who made us all like her right away.
I met her at one of my earliest LB Writers Circle classes, but she had been a member since the circle had been founded.
I was startled, but charmed, when she began to sing one of her stories, rather than just read it.
I didn’t expect that because I hadn’t seen it done before, but I was definitely impressed. I would have loved to do that myself, but I had neither the voice nor the courage. But Florence certainly, did. The lady could write and sing. A multi-talented woman.
She was sitting right next to me that Monday, too many years ago, but I did a lot of smiling during the session because of her.

And so with the advent of the internet of course she created in the new medium…
First we started YourAngels.com where we provided our Angel Readings and Energy Healing work the old fashioned way, in person, but also via the new technologies like email and instant messaging.
Then the eFlorence.net blog was created…e for Everything Florence, where she could share all aspects of her creative self, activist self and foodie.
So naturally …
FreshOffThePalate.com food blog came next,
AND then came social media…that kind of merged all these things…

In 2012 Hurricane Sandy sadly and abruptly took her long time house and family home, and then the ensuing nightmare of FEMA and the insurance companies was brutal and shocking and ultimately worse then the hurricane itself…social media became an outlet for sharing experiences and venting but also for helping each other and others that were going through similar. Or for those down the line who suffered flooding in other places around the country on what to expect and how to respond. One group was called Floodie Buddies. She became part of so many support and activist groups I’m still uncovering some!! It was all Soo Florence, how can I help someone else have maybe just a little less of a hard time then I?

She was always willing to help, always wanting to help, she could be counted on anytime day or night

She just beamed love and light and laughter and joy into the world, through tough times and good times always looking around to bring as many with her as she could.

Now when I said before that she was an Angel, does that mean she was perfect? Yes!!, she would learn from the Angels and no, she was in human form, so imperfect is perfection here. However she was always a spiritual being having a human experience, as she believed we all are. So, being in human form she went through all the challenges and struggles and good times and tough times that we all do. And though much of her adult life was filled with physical pain and disability and the challenges that come with that, she still always strove to be a better person.

When she saw or felt something she could improve upon she would strive to do better and if she didn’t know how, she would seek out learning more, or guidance and help from others so that she could evolve. All to the betterment of her self, her family, her friends and ultimately her community and society. Yes, the world is better because she worked to be better and she achieved that it in many ways. It was to the extent that she became a life counselor herself thru her healing work and Angel channeling and helped many others. Still though always looking to see how she could improve personally and in her relationships so she could be more fulfilled, offer more to others and by that example that others might take her lead.

Her creativity was sometimes sparked by the tough times…

For example, in her 40s while she was suffering through a tough divorce, she reached out and began a healing process that included some unfortunate forgotten childhood traumas. But in that process she discovered she had yet another talent…writing and write write write she did. Thru the discovery and healing process she wrote prose and poetry and short pieces and long pieces. She later compiled some of them into a book called Thorns Have Roses – Poems of Pain, Prose of Promise. Some became songs, that she then later worked on creating an album, The Promise, both are on the table in back. She later started working on a follow up book, More Roses, Less Thorns but we never did get it into finished book form. You’ll find in the back in her hand written notes that are now typed up, about what was to ultimately be a trilogy.

This is one of the many projects I will have over the next period of my life…sifting through the many creative endeavors and projects of hers. Most all projects we worked on together and it was always my honor.

In the end she truly believed that we wouldn’t be the people we are today without our experiences in life, and that we choose many if not most of them, the good and the bad, to create the best opportunity to become the people we wish to be in this life.

So, jumping a bit here… She also loved to travel the world, see new places and meet new people. Get new and different perspectives on life.

She was a foodie who loved to create for family and friends and try new things any chance she got, and then again share. nom nom.

She had the unique ability to make tough situations seem not so tough and could turn a good time into a great time!! Every day was a chance for a celebration, no matter what life threw at her.

Looking back and having discussed recently, in our 24 years together and over her entire lifetime she decided she had very few regrets. In our time together we did most everything that we could physically and financially do. Even with all the curveballs the universe and life threw at us we attempted to do as many of the things we wanted to do as we could. And I know she did this throughout her life. I know she wants all of you to live this way as well in your life times. Try to live each day as if it might be your last. That way you will have fewer regrets when it’s all said and done and it’s your time to go home.

As a creative person she always had multiple projects going either physically and/or in her mind. Forever in the creative energy flow. Always concerned that there wasn’t enough time or energy to accomplish all the tasks she was given. Fear that she would die with her music in her or with her words in her and that she would not accomplish everything she wanted to accomplish. Again she was always going to have ideas flowing through her.

But I came to realize in the hospital that Florence’s real role in this world, her real job and reason for being here was to spread the energy of Love and energy of Light around this planet.

Today we honor her for a job well done! she came to this world with many talents to share, ultimately they all really were simply vehicles for spreading love, joy and light through touching peoples hearts and souls in the numerous special ways she did.

Please remember that Florence, Gramence like any other loved one that has passed from this world as we know it, has only transformed back into the spiritual world that we all come from, she has simply returned home. And she is still with us in our hearts and all around us. We can call upon her anytime we wish, we can converse with her anytime we want, just as if she were still right here with us, because in reality she is, in spirit form.

Seattle

Ok, Ron suggested that maybe I mention just a little bit about Seattle and why she loved it, since most here know her NY story but maybe not her Seattle story…

Well, she fell in love with Seattle after we first started spending time there 18 years ago. And though I was born there I hadn’t been back as an adult until that time either. It spoke to our hearts immediately.

She loved the artistic vibe of the city and all the arts that are a part of the fabric of Seattle and are on display everywhere year round

Loved all the festivals and the low key nature of things there. The kindness of people.

Now this is a big one…The Thai food!! So many great restaurants. And as we discovered… a wonderful Thai community. Now we both had Thai food for the first time in the first week that we met, and were blown away by the spices and flavors. We then had Thai food at least once a week on average for all the years we were together. So we were in thai food heaven there. We made some great friends as well over the years with owners and members of the staffs of the many places we visited frequently.

For Florence sharing a meal was an event and when cooked and shared with kindness and Love she couldn’t help but befriend those who created and delivered it. And some even became like family.

Several owners and staff members of our favorite thai restaurants came to mourn and celebrate her there.

She loved food shopping in Seattle. There are many great markets, and she had her 5,6,7 favorites.

And we both loved the milder weather, less extremes, more beauty. And she never tired of the rain. Spring there is just amazing with all the long months of blooming flowers!!

And the place Golden Gardens, were we held her Celebration of Life…we watched so many sunsets there and shared so many memories. When times were tough we’d go there, when times were good we’d go there. The place holds a lot of our memories and energies.

She really loved the Seattle area and it gave her a place to rest and enjoy when other places in her life were tumultuous.

Being a social activist, Seattle was a community of like social minds.

One unique thing was when I was preparing the Celebration for her there I received emails from several friends of which a couple of them who couldn’t attend but said ‘thanks so much for giving us the opportunity to celebrate her” the response just surprised me and clearly showed how much they thought of her.

Some of her long time NY friends would frequently comment, they missed her being here, but could always see and feel the joy that she had and the peaceful energy of her while spending time in Seattle. It was kind of a common respite for us both, her from the strong and often tough and shifting energy of NY and me from the busy and changing energy of California. It is a beautiful place in the world…and we loved our time together there.

So, I could go on and on about my dear Florence. We were together for 24 years, brought together by an incredible experience of fate and then inseparable. And yet some days it feels like we just met and it’s impossible that she is already gone. But we did consciously know we were lucky and we did live and love…greatly. And with great daily gratitude. We hope you all do as well.

My Love, Florence, Gramence…we Love you, we miss you and you live in our hearts forever, until we see each other again…
❤️❤️❤️

Wotta Day

April 7, 2018

I went to the  doctor, who is new to me as I am to her and a good partner, who really listens, take notes, puts them into my file and quietly thinks over symptoms and what works and doesn’t for my specific needs.

She takes her time with me and makes gentle suggestions; combining her expertise of medicine and my expertise of my own being,

After quietly thinking over a really rotten adverse reaction to a mega antibiotic, which I told her felt like a bomb going off inside and into raging, doubled-over, can’t-tell-if you-want-to-stay-or-go pain, she hit upon a missing med for my most complete treatment and it was Bingo!  I-could-have-had-a-V8! moment.  I’d forgotten it myself.

Much to her credit, she did not give me the usual. sotto voce, ‘that never happens’ or ‘I’ve never seen this with anyone.’  She just truly wanted to get things right for moi, instead of the patented ‘one size fits all’ medical malaise/laze

Today, I can tell you, she got it right and health care really became care.

I told her that when I feel better, I’ll sing her 3 choruses of Rodgers and Hammerstein”s “Getting To Know You.” It took her a moment then she smiled.

I am her horse of a different color.

On the way home, after picking up my prescription, Tom and I stopped in to a new favorite Thai restaurant to get food into my stomach to take the first dosage the next stage meds.  They do a really good dish called “Family Rice.”

It is a fragrant, non spicy plate of fresh vegetables consisting of broccoli, cabbage, carrots, zucchini, thin soft slices of chicken, pork and tiny Thai sausage and an occasional shrimp.  So easy on the tummy, it coated the spot.

On the way out, we saw a young woman whose sweatshirt read on both back and front, “People Make Me Sick.”

Having been wearing a face mask to avoid giving or receiving germs for the last month, not to mention the twitstormtrooper regime acts of violence and rape of every decency and civility, in our country, I could totally relate.

We told her we loved her shirt. Shared lots of smiles. I just loved this gal.

On the way home, we stopped in at Trader Joe’s for stomach coating yogurt and rolled oats, on which I’m living.

The gal at the checkout stand was a tall, beautiful, tattooed, blue and magenta haired, happy camper.

“Hi! How are you doing today?” she asked.

I was a little grumpy. Some meds make you a little cranky. (understatement. They really should come with a sign you pin to your lapel; cautioning, “Run for your life. Run away, run away.”)

Odd little things had gone weirdly awry in the day, from frustrating to painful; like the credit card machine at the pharmacy ejecting and rejecting my brand new credit card…4 times!!!! For no good reason anyone could figure out, which made me have to stand longer than was my body could handle kindly and not being able to find a close enough parking space where I could schlepp bent over from car to door and there were more horrible scare tactics from the dick measuring and nation pissing content which are too overwhelming for me to hear with no skin on.

My too ready reply of, “Oh, just hanging in there!” stopped at the tip of my tongue as I noticed this effervescent woman was working a the register with one arm; doing all the things a two armed person would be doing…and capably and cheerfully.

My oral reply changed perspective as I womaned-up to an authentic positive answer: “It’s mostly a  great day with a few sprinkles of weird little handleable challenges.”

She smiled and rang me up…yeah, you guessed it. The card machine and my  card did their lil dance, requiring another manager. (Maybe it’s a need for connection and care thing in the electronic world).  She laughed when I told her this is a sample of the weirdness stuff today. It all got happily solved and she ran out from behind the counter waving my receipt into my hand, while I was turning to leave the store. She zipped somewhere behind me and caught up to me at the door with a bouquet of daffodils and placed them in my shopping bag, saying, “Here! These are for you. Have a happier, less weird day!”

And the surprised-out-of-my-sox me, thanked her in astonishment and told her she was the light in the day and “Keep shining your light. You have no idea how you brightened my entire week!”

That little bouquet of yellow petals sits in a slender vase in my kitchen where I take meds, pray they’ll work and cry in pain as the pit storm hits.

One flower out the bright yellow bunch is pale cream with a red hearted petal in the center.

This one armed angel was more capable, with greater heart than many.  Just being her best self gave me several gifts this day: perspective shift, heart, grace, humor, joy, unexpected kindness …hope that healing will be better than I can imagine, better than the best I can imagine for myself and our world.

Yes, hearts are all around us.

I feel grateful for goodness…earth angels who hold me in light, check in and call just to say, “I love you,” share some a laugh or two and connect just because they want to, kindly care, and I’m grateful for the celestials who complete this loving circle of light around me.

It is the receiving part of the circle of balance that is harder sometimes than giving.

I notice all and appreciate you all with my own well-armed heart.

So, I got to practice receiving and it’s in the surprises that show up where I am most stopped in my tracks.

Wotta day!!!

 

A Light Dusting Of Appreciation

June 5, 2016

by Florence Ondré    c. 9/5/11

 

Do they remember?

What do they remember; growing up; the good times; the bad; the joys;

the sorrows; the lessons I taught; the energy in which they were taught?

Do they remember the kindness; the silly; the serious; the laughter;

the love?

How do they perceive and pass on these things?

Do they remember the warp and the wealth;

the ills and the health?

And how did living with me affect them? In what ways were they shaped?

What ways do they pass on to their children?

Are their kindnesses, boundary settings with their children reflective

of my power of example, added to with the shine of joy they beam to their children?

What failing and mistakes of mine became their opportunities to find

their own better ways?

Do they remember?

Did they see the efforts on my Mother/Father part to give them more than I had?

Do they remember food stamps and welfare in proportion to prosperity?

Did they know the truth? Do they Care?

Do they have gratitude for the simple things?

Will they wonder these things years from now too?

I know I am eternally grateful for their being gifts every day of my life.

They grew to wonderful persons with family and paths of their own.

And I grew….older.

Do they have a light dusting of appreciation to occasionally waft my way in their busy lives?

I wonder.

I wish.

And then, at the end of a silver heartstring, I let go and simply keep on loving;

unconditionally loving… and letting go becomes the next gift.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Good Look In A Full Length Mirror

June 4, 2016

by Florence Ondré    c.7/5/99

 

there it was staring back at me

full of doubt, discomfort and discouragement

the image of frustration and fearfulness

the judgement of years of not good enough

a frame around a forever changing façade

years flying by in reflection

looking good for nanoseconds

still, never quite good enough

 

breathing in bits of courage

prying eyes from the want to turn away

I glance at the nakedness of the familiar stranger in that glowering glass

someone I’m afraid I’ll know and not like

a blink and every wrinkle, bulge, bone and contour

cling to the lingering lens

all that I did not like or approve of was waiting there

 

tremulous, almost too quiet for dogs ears to hear

the words slip semi-silently from mouth to air

“You are beautiful.

You are worthy.

I love you.”

‘oh, not good enough’ rings in my ears

and I feel foolish and false

day after day, the same act plays out upon this silver-backed stagepiece

cardboard-cutout rote

until the moment arrives when the foolishness fades…a little…

when awkwardness softens, my gauging gaze befriends

when the bulges become curves; bones artistic angles;

wrinkles warmth of wear; hair a halo;

when the voice inside attempts more than

a whisper of the extended hand of friendship,

in soft reply,

‘yes’

‘yes, I might be’ ‘yes, I think I am’

‘yes’ unfolding from within me, in each new day;

each new lesson; each new opportunity to stretch my wings

and notice that they are stretching far beyond my wildest dreams

I’m a butterfly, a bluebird, an eagle,

a metamorphosis of all I was, thought I was, am now,

wished I could be and am becoming

spirit flying free

 

so much more than good enough

this reflection that faces me from within..

within a good look in a full length mirror.

 

 

Once Upon A Wild Hair

December 6, 2014

by Florence Ondré

 

This morning I dragged out the 10 times magnifying glass and took a what everyone the sane world says you must do….a good look in a mirror!

Shock of shocks, the discovery was that I’d gone right past becoming my mother and straight to being my grandmother! …and every bushy, crazy looking, wild haired old woman I’d ever seen.

Yes, I was right up there on my own world list of wild haired women where I’d wondered, “how could she go out in public like that?  good god, how could she live with those crazy ass eyebrows?”

There in the light of day, I stood aghast at my window, peering thru my eyeglasses to the magnifying mirror (yes I need both to see anything now) and viewed my own eyebrows gone awry.

Wasn’t it recently I’d tweezed the errant chin hairs which so cruelly and capriciously grow when and where they want?  I took care of those little stubborn hard line, now thankfully white instead of dark colored bristles.  I may not be able to see you but I feel you and out you go.

Then I moved the glass to my eyebrows and saw I had farm work to do.

Hairs had sprouted like gmo wheat fields from my upper eyelid to my brows.  God, how could I go out in the world looking like a mad scientist!

Pluck pluck groom groom…gone gone.  Whew.

And then I spied the brows themselves…. Hey! Wait a sec!  Shouldn’t eyebrow hair be short?  What karma had I been dealt overnite, with some leaning into the maginot line; lengthy enough to hang down over castle turrets; long and strong enough to be braided for princes to climb upon?

What had I done to become Andy Rooney or deserve curls gone wild every which way but loose?

Memories of women I’d known whose facial hair seemed to explode in odd directions on their aging faces floated to consciousness and I reached the terminal at the end of platform ‘why me?’  I had become them.

I wondered if my friends who spend tons of money on face creams, depilatories and spas had arrived at this plateau, unhaired, or had they just had more time and money to hide the inevitable? s

Some whispered the truth.  Don’t tell me we are not all one.

Stow the baggage of judgement and surface ego on this trip called life.  It’s simply a matter of arrival time.  Just for today, I’m a bit dishevelled from that red eye.

And now that I’m momentarily presentable, where am I going?

To a children’s party… and you know these are our greatest critics!


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