By Jim Sollecito
That might be true, but who knows how long a lifetime really is? We recognize, but don’t always acknowledge, that the plants we’re planting today won’t last forever. Transience doesn’t diminish their value and beauty.
Our sweet Hannah Rose completed her life in 26 years. Our bond has not ended. It has merely changed.
Hannah was an amazing person. It was impossible not to like her. Her profound empathy came from deep within her heart. She could not lie, and would not speak badly of people. But she had absolutely no patience for people who were thoughtless or unkind. She changed the way I think about things.
She had an extremely well developed sense of humor. When she laughed, you had to laugh with her. Many times the laughter was so infectious that it went on until we cried. She formed friendships everywhere she went, and treasured them all forever. She had a deep sense of compassion for everyone and everything.
All I ever wanted was to be called ‘Dad.’ My greatest joy was to hear ‘Hi Dad,’ see a smile, and get a big hug from one of our daughters. All was well in our world for at least that moment.
One of my special connections with Hannah was through Cornell University. Oh, how she embraced Cornell. She loved those with whom she laughed, drank and studied. She found joy and enduring friendships through the Big Red band.
She recognized and knew every plant on campus, besides the gardens she visited around the world. Sure, throughout the years she helped out our family business, and certainly could have easily taken over someday. But that wasn’t her dream. She pursued her passion for women’s healthcare, working in development at Planned Parenthood.
We all miss those times when our children were growing up, because those days are not coming back no matter what. And with a loss, we find ourselves sad because the future’s potential is lost; but that future was not guaranteed anyway. Today, our friends cry and we sob because someone so precious is gone from our lives. The smell, the touch, and the sound of her voice became a memory sooner than we planned. Pain is the price we pay for love.
All I ever wanted was to be called “Dad.” My greatest joy was to hear “Hi Dad,” see a smile, and get a big hug from one of our daughters. All was well in our world for at least that moment.
I want to share something that has been on my desk since Hannah wrote it over 20 years ago. I believe it was the last piece she gave me:
“Dear Dad, Happy Father’s Day. I like you because you are so nice, because you take me places I have never been before. Love, Hannah.”
It was Hannah who took me to places I had never been. It was not the last time that she said, “I love you,” that I am grateful for.
It was an entire lifetime of them.
Jim Sollecito is the first lifetime senior certified landscape professional in NYS. He operates Sollecito Landscaping Nursery in Syracuse. Contact him at 468-1142 or firstname.lastname@example.org.