Hello, all. As I write this, I am sitting outside a hotel in Pasadena. A few days ago, my husband Manny’s father passed away. It was very sudden. He died of a cardiac arrest. Manny and I got on a plane and headed to his hometown of Los Angeles to be with his family and for him to be here to help with the arrangements. 

This is the first time that I have met most of his family. I had met his brother, Eladio, when he came to Omaha about a year ago. Now I have met his mother, his three other siblings, and their spouses and children. As you can imagine, these are not the best of circumstances, but they have made me feel welcome.

I knew when we got on the plane that this would be a challenging trip for Manny. He left Los Angeles to join the Navy when he was 18 years old, and he hasn’t lived there since. Manny talked to his father on a weekly basis and has been back several times in the last few years to visit. When Manny called to tell me that his father had died, he said, “I was going to call him today.” Manny and I are working together to get through this challenging time.

When we had a couple of hours to spare, Manny drove me around to show me his hometown…where he lived, played, and went to school. I had only spent time in this large megalopolis once before, when I was 16 years old. Now, I’ve seen the Rose Bowl, Hollywood, Santa Monica Pier, and the Queen Mary…just to name a few. It is astounding to me how many famous landmarks are here. (Manny and I have discussed how many popular songs include references to these landmarks.)

Manny suggested that we get a hotel in Old Town Pasadena, which has been just perfect. It’s only about 15 minutes from his mother’s house. It’s a very quaint, peaceful community that is a nice respite from the rest of L.A.

I have had some time to reflect while I’ve been here. Manny’s entire family is still in shock at the very sudden passing of Manny’s father. What it has done is remind me, once again, that life is short. If you love someone…please tell them, show them, listen to them, and respect them. Manny always finished conversations with his father by saying, “I love you.” Let’s all hope to be so fortunate when someone close to us passes. 

Have a great Thanksgiving, all. We will talk next month.


Positive Thought of the Month

“Death ends a life, not a relationship.”—Mitch Albom

Janet Van deWalle,
National Publisher

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