I think I am in a place in life that makes these letters a bit challenging. I wrote them religiously in
my 20’s I think because I was complete amazed by how quickly things changed and how
desperate I felt some need to keep in touch with those that I love. I write them infrequently in my
30s because, well I think I am partly terrified by how quickly time goes by and because I talk
often to those that I love so most you getting this are up to date. For those that are not
“updated”, I find the re-connections that happen randomly much more exciting. so a yearly letter
has not driven me as it has in the past.
So why this year? I think mainly because I am ready. Ready? To understand this (kind of)
indulge me a bit and stop reading and become aware of your own breathing for a moment. It will
make sense later. Stop < Breathe > I have become critically aware of the simple beauty of
catching my own breath. Yeah well and the events of our family have made me nest a bit more
around this time of the year. It still seems ironic that I once detested the winter so much (and a lot
of the Holiday bustle), only to become completely engrossed by the true meaning of Christmas
(mostly because of how joyful this time makes Chris). Having that foundation helped me get
through the deaths in the family and now three years later to be able to focus on the joy of the
season. So, ready for what?
[If this confuses those of you who may not be entirely up to date, you may want to check out http:
//www.randymarcotte.com/papawjoshjennifer.html or http://www.randymarcotte.
The joys of 2005!!! It is hard to be ready for that much joy. I began with a resolution be subtle,
or possibly understated in my ways. That did not work out so well, but I am completely OK with
the joy that my more “outgoing” ways creates. I can almost hear my closest friends snicker:
Randy, subtle? Nice try. I do however think 2005 was one of my most active and focused years
Some highlights: I taught as faculty at Cal State Hayward in the same program I received my
MPA, Chris and I celebrated 9 years together, we vacationed to Vancouver, Hawaii, to see
family and with friends. Work at www.xtelesis.com has been exciting and as the VP of Sales I
really feel like I am making an impact on how we do business. I love my work. Plus, it is fun.
Mostly I count my blessings of friends and family, good meals, travel, the cats (still fat, lazy and
holding down the bed mostly between eating and sleeping). I did a couple of half iron men (or tin-
men as I call them, for I am never HALF anything) and I toy with the idea of a full ironman.
Chris and I continue to grow in our respect and love for each other.
Some good stuff really, but why then post it here? I think mainly because of two lessons I learned
this year. The first was (yet AGAIN) about death and the other (thankfully) about love.
My mom died this year after some nasty complications from a stroke and the emergency surgeries
necessary shortly thereafter. I was stunned by how quickly after my dad’s death mom’s passing
came… hadn’t this family endured enough? Click here for details.
But here is the irony for me- the death of my mother has brought me closer to my family and
helped me realize I had become the person I was always working so hard to be. I started
attempting a meditation practice in 05 and as my mom drew closer to death (February 21st) our
family drew in close. In brief all eight sisters and brothers, some grand children and great
grandchildren, her nieces and her sister stood in vigil. For part of her dying she seemed to gasp
for a new life. When she died at home we all witnessed her last breath together. We stood there,
a family of smart-ass talkers, silent, reverent and loving. I had often heard of a few family
members witnessing death, but to have all 8 of her children with her for the week leading to her
death was simply incredible. I learned in those days that my mother’s capacity to love each and
every one of us so much was strong enough to bind us all to one another despite our quirky
differences. We are far from perfect kids, but our time together was close to perfection.
I did a lot of breathing with my mother that week and during her dying I used a simple breathing
meditation to help stay prayerful, aware and frankly, patient with her dying. We all did in some
way and it was awesome to witness her birth into a new life. As the coroner came to move my
mother’s body I stayed with her. When they lifted her from the bed I had the intuition to feel the
warmth of her body leave her bed. I lifted her pillow to my face and felt the last of her warm
leave this earth. My mother’s final hug... It took my breath away.
So after a terrible and beautiful death, I found myself 35 years old without parents but more
aware of the love they gave to their family and thereby a stronger man because of it. Which
brings me to the second lesson of this year: love.
The family has not been all collected together since February and I am not sure if we ever will be
again. We are changed now forever, but since them I have found my connections to my siblings
more meaningful and more important. Additionally, my adult family- those friends and Chris that
make up my California life have sustained me tremendously. I have heard that many people feel a
sense of aloneness when both parents die, but I must admit that is the furthest from the truth for
So I spent the rest of 2005 feeling the love. A dear, dear friend invited me to her home in Hawaii
around Mothers day. Her invitation was this: “you spend a lot of time taking care of others, come
here and I will take care of you and we can take care of each other.” How could I refuse? So I
spent a week in a little bit of Hawaiian paradise called Hawi. If I have not told you about it,
please ask. I love to talk about how that time changed my soul and confirmed many of my hard
learned lessons in life. I left feeling more grateful, blessed and energetic that I had since the day
Chris and I got married. It gave me a chance to reflect on the trauma of death, to grieve as I
needed and to celebrate life. I had a chance to breathe. I left appreciative of love.
For Thanksgiving Chris and I went back. I know, ANOTHER week in paradise. It is a place
where the air is so sweet and the pace of life so inviting that a piece of me longs to return. What
was so important about that trip is that I realized how completely “one” Chris and I have become
(I know..how cliché and sappy… I am a romantic!). There was a point in the trip when I could
see that Chris drew pleasure by simply experience the things that gave me strength on my last trip
in May. It helped tie the whole roller coaster of 2005 together and if it were not for the joys of
living in the bay area, our wonderful home and the draw of our friend and the kitties, I might not
have come back. (Well until I wore out my welcome…)
Much more could be said about 2005, about death, about love, but for now I will end with the
hope that life fills you with the opportunities to be challenged and embraced as I have. I am a
better me because of my opportunities.
Have a happy and safe holiday (whichever one you celebrate… I try to celebrate them all…) and
feel free to give me a call or drop a line. Old friend of new, I just love to connect.
And so if you do nothing else other than breath deeply and give thanks in 2006, I think are off
to a great start.