A Poem To My Cardinal In Heaven

A Poem To My Cardinal In Heaven

I dedicate this poem and everything I do, in loving memory of you.

Not a day goes by,

That we don’t think of you and want to cry.

No matter how many years you have been gone,

Your memory will always live on.

Papa, I just want you to know,

We can never, ever, let you go.

I hope that we have all made you proud,

When we think about you, our hearts pump loud.

Everything we do, we do for you,

And when you swoop by, we know it’s your way of saying you love us too.

I think about how we used to play Pretty Pretty Princess,

And you let me dress you up, even though you looked like a mess.

You would always “be in the neighborhood” to just drop on by,

And when I saw you I would jump for the sky.

You liked to bring me a lot of new toys,

These are some of the things that I enjoyed.

Although our time together was cut too short,

I never doubted that I had all of your support.

I dedicate this poem and everything I do,

In loving memory of you.


Your Little Buddy

Cover Image Credit: The Barkan Family

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I Remember Grandpa

A Memory to Live By

Sitting on the porch, his foot propped on a stool.

He said, “Don’t wait for anyone to do anything for you”

Whetstone, whittling knife and a block of wood were his tools

I sat at his feet, happy in Grandpa’s school.

Don’t wait for anyone to do anything for you.

If you don’t know how, learn!

Sitting at his feet, I was attending Grandpa’s school.

He spat on the whetstone and laid the blade in turn.

Learn then you’ll know -

Swiping, to and fro, removing imperfections.

He spat on the whetstone and laid the blade just so,

smoothing away all the rough edges.

No more imperfections,

he takes knife in hand -

a smooth blade, no rough edges,

chipping away at the wood as he planned.

He takes his knife in hand

like he lived his life -

Chipping away as he planned,

sculpting his wood and his life by design.

I have such fond memories of my grandpa. I followed him everywhere and watched everything he did. I learned to play checkers and dominoes. I was only 9 years old when he passed away, but he taught me so much. The lesson that I remember more than any other was, "Don’t wait for anyone to do anything for you. If you don’t know how, learn!"

Cover Image Credit: Mary Barringer

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My Heritage Does Not Have To Be Genetic

My DNA may not say it, but my heart does.

Since I was a little girl, my heritage has always meant a lot to me. My family has always been big on our heritage, too. We are a family mostly made of Irish, English, and Polish heritage. My mom and brothers truly embrace the Irish part of our heritage. They become very excited about St. Patrick's day and anything surrounding Irish culture.

My mom will always point out the shamrocks or St. Patrick's day apparel in any store we go to. If my brother is with her, he will pay attention and look at it with her. If she is with me, well here's the problem: I couldn't care less.

It's not that I don't care for Irish heritage or want to disrespect it, I just don't feel I belong to it. I have always felt like the outcast when it came to my family's love for Irish culture, as well as English and Polish culture. So then comes the question: how can my heritage mean so much to me when I say I don't feel a part of it? Well, I do love my heritage, but to me, I'm not Irish, Polish, or English; I'm Chinese.

I know that may sound strange, but let me explain. My grandfather was one of my best friends when I was younger. I loved him more than anything. My grandfather's name was Richard Chin; now if the last name doesn't make it obvious enough, he was Chinese. Now, according to geneticists and anyone who studies heritage, I would not be considered Chinese.

This is because my grandfather was not related to me by blood, but he was related to me everywhere it truly counted. He was the only grandfather who I bonded with and who I felt completely comfortable with. He made me feel like I belonged to Chinese culture.

One of my grandfather's favorite places was Chinatown. We would travel down to Philadelphia and walk the streets of Chinatown as often as possible. My family would all go for Dim Sum, a traditional Chinese meal, which is a personal favorite of mine. After we ate, we would go to all the shops and bakeries we could find. This is where I fell in love with Chinese culture.

My grandfather and I bonded over this love. We also bonded over our Chinese zodiac sign. We were both born in the year of the dragon. This meant a lot to us and would be something we would share forever.

Sadly, my grandfather passed when I was only seven years old. Even at that young age, I knew I had to carry on my Chinese heritage. I beg my family to go for Dim Sum any time we are near Chinatown. Every time I am there, I purchase a new Dragon figurine in honor of him. I research Chinese culture whenever possible. I look into all their holidays and Chinese New Year. I embrace everything this heritage has to offer me.

I am the white girl who uses chopsticks any chance she gets. I am the white girl who can make her way around Chinatown with her eyes closed. I am the white girl who will take cha siu bao over a burger any day. My blood doesn't define my heritage, my heart does.

Cover Image Credit: Lexy Gierszal

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