I'll Always Remember Us This Way

Shared by Barbara Paronto on November 22, 2018


by Lady Gaga

That Arizona sky burning in your eyes
You look at me and, babe, I wanna catch on fire
It's buried in my soul like California gold
You found the light in me that I couldn't find

So when I'm all choked up but I can't find the words
Every time we say goodbye Baby, it hurts
When the sun goes down and the band won't play
I'll always remember us this way

Lovers in the night Poets trying to write
We don't know how to rhyme but, damn, we try
But all I really know - you're where I wanna go
The part of me that's you will never die

So when I'm all choked up but I can't find the words
Every time we say goodbye Baby, it hurts
When the sun goes down and the band won't play
I'll always remember us this way

Oh, yeah
I don't wanna be just a memory, baby, yeah


When I'm all choked up but I can't find the words
Every time we say goodbye Baby, it hurts
When the sun goes down and the band won't play
I'll always remember us this way, oh, yeah

When you look at me and the whole world fades
I'll always remember us this way.

Shared by Nanci Neilsen-Young on May 10, 2017

Happy Mothers Day!! 
I know I'm a little early but I have a busy weekend and may not get to a computer so I wanted to chat and wish you a Happy Mothers Day now so I wouldn't miss it!  I still miss you like CRAZY and trust me, you will NEVER be forgotten!!   
I luv and miss ya MUCH!!!  xoxoxoxo Nanc

Shared by Nanci Neilsen-Young on September 20, 2015

Here we are Dar!!!  Our 5th Annual Six in the City Memorial Walk!!
You are loved and you are missed more than I can say!!! 

Today and every day!!

Shared by Nanci Neilsen-Young on March 20, 2015

What else can I say.....


This just about says it all

Thinking about you always but

some days are more intense than others

and of course....

today is one of those days!!

LUV YA,  Nanni


Describing a Funeral to a 3-Year Old

Shared by Barbara Paronto on February 23, 2015

Recently, one of Skip's cousins lost her husband to a sudden heart attack.  He was only 62.  I was telling Hailey Darlene that Papa and I had a "meeting" to go to.  She asked what it was for.  I told her it was a funeral.  (Actually, it was really the visiting hours.)  She asked me, "MeMe, what is a funeral?"  I told her it was our last chance to give someone we love a hug and to say we love them and good-bye before they go up to Heaven.  She immediately responded, "With Dar!"  I said, "Yup, Dar is going to take care of them up in Heaven."  Hailey went on to point out to me that her mommy's puppy, Bella, was in Heaven with Dar, too, and the baby mouse that her daddy brought home was.  I told her that Dar was taking care of three puppies for me, Tia Maria, Camper and Winston.  

Watching her take it all in, she wasn't at all sad or made perfect sense to her.  She has been taught since Day One that Dar was a VERY special person that we all love...and she loves Dar, too.  To Hailey, going to Heaven to be with wasn't a bad thing.  Such perspective.

Shared by Nanci Neilsen-Young on February 21, 2015

What more can I say????   This says it all!!!  xoxoxo  Nanni


Shared by Barbara Paronto on December 16, 2014


I’ve heard about this Baby Boy
Who’s come to earth to bring us joy
And I just want to sing this song to You
It goes like this - the fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift

With every breath I’m singing, “Hallelujah”

Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah

A couple came to Bethlehem
Expecting child, they searched the Inn
To find a place for you were coming soon
There was no room for them to stay
So in a manger filled with hay
God’s only son was born, oh Hallelujah!

Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah

The shepherds left their flocks by night
To see this Baby wrapped in light
A host of angels led them all to you
It was just as the angels said
You’ll find Him in a manger bed
Emanuel, your Savior, Hallelujah!   

Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah

A Star shown bright up in the East
To Bethlehem, the Wise-Men Three
Came many miles and journeyed long for You
Into the place at which You were
Their frankincense, gold, and myrrh
They came to You and cried out, “Hallelujah”   

Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah

I know You came to rescue me
This Baby Boy would grow to be
A Man who’d one day die for me and you
My sins will drive the nails in You
That rugged cross, was my cross, too
Still every breath you drew was “Hallelujah”

Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Another Christmas without you!

Shared by Nancy Neilsen-Young on December 10, 2014


I want to talk and laugh

about the things we used to do.

I want you be remembered

by me and others too!!!

I will remember and I will reminise.

I will laugh and I will wish!

So, don't ever worry, you're missed ALOT

and never fear you'll NOT be forgot!!



TODAY by Joshua Radin

Shared by Barbara Paronto on September 28, 2014

Shoelaces untied
You can dry your eyes
Perfect shadows alive
Behind us
This is the day I make you mine

The way your hair lies
sometimes unrecognized
All the way from these today
on a train
Nothing to say if theres still time

You are the one
I've been waiting for today
Here comes the sun
That's been baiting on today

Lately I've lost my tongue
Today you found this out
I know not long has grown
Well I thank God you came along

You are the one
I've been waiting for today
Here comes the sun
That's been baiting on today

You looked right through me
When there was no one else
I sat beside you and became myself
Today... today

You are the one
I've been waiting for today
Here comes the sun 
Thats been baiting on today

4th Annual "Six In The City" Memorial Walk!

Shared by Nancy Neilsen-Young on September 16, 2014

Hey girl!!!  Love doing this walk!!  I KNOW you're smilin like crazy!!  Probably have a few "tips" you wish you could give us too, huh??? Anyway,  this is for you!!  Luv & miss ya MUCH!!!

phone call

Shared by Nancy Neilsen-Young on July 4, 2014

Can't "call" you but I can write... thanks to "B" and this site!  I think I'd go crazy without it! Anyway, I saw this and thought of you so here it is.

I luv & miss ya MUCH!!!  Nanni

One of these days I'll get my head and mood together and write you a poem of my own again!   :)


YOUR Space, Dar!

Shared by Nancy Neilsen-Young on June 20, 2014



I saw this poem and it just FIT!!!  It is so true!!

Like "B" says...... You will NEVER be forgotten for

we are your   REMEMBERERS!!!!

I luv ya and miss ya MUCH!!!!!!



Heart's Tribute to Led Zeppelin

Shared by Barbara Paronto on January 17, 2014


There's a lady who's sure all that glitters is gold
And she's buying a stairway to heaven.
When she gets there she knows, if the stores are all closed
With a word she can get what she came for.
Ooh, ooh, and she's buying a stairway to heaven.

There's a sign on the wall but she wants to be sure
'Cause you know sometimes words have two meanings.
In a tree by the brook, there's a songbird who sings,
Sometimes all of our thoughts are misgiven.

Ooh, it makes me wonder,
Ooh, it makes me wonder.

There's a feeling I get when I look to the west,
And my spirit is crying for leaving.
In my thoughts I have seen rings of smoke through the trees,
And the voices of those who stand looking.

Ooh, it makes me wonder,
Ooh, it really makes me wonder.

And it's whispered that soon, if we all call the tune,
Then the piper will lead us to reason.
And a new day will dawn for those who stand long,
And the forests will echo with laughter.

If there's a bustle in your hedgerow, don't be alarmed now,
It's just a spring clean for the May queen.
Yes, there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run
There's still time to change the road you're on.
And it makes me wonder.

Your head is humming and it won't go, in case you don't know,
The piper's calling you to join him,
Dear lady, can you hear the wind blow, and did you know
Your stairway lies on the whispering wind?

And as we wind on down the road
Our shadows taller than our soul.
There walks a lady we all know
Who shines white light and wants to show
How everything still turns to gold.
And if you listen very hard
The tune will come to you at last.
When all are one and one is all
To be a rock and not to roll.

And she's buying a stairway to heaven.

Shared by Nancy Neilsen-Young on December 16, 2013

Well, Here's a poem I found that I wanted to share with you.

Things sure are different without you and                                                                   you are missed more than I could ever put into words!!

So, here goes..... let's see if it works!



Shared by Nancy Neilsen-Young on December 2, 2013

"Pennies from Heaven"

I found a penny today
Just laying on the ground.
But it's not just a penny
This little coin I've found.

These pennies come from heaven
That's what my Grandma told me.
She said Angels toss them down
Oh, how I love that story!

She said when an Angel misses you
They toss a penny down,
Sometimes just to cheer you up
To make a smile from your frown.

So don't pass by that penny
When you're feeling blue.
It may be a penny from heaven
That  your Angel's tossed to you.


Shared by Barbara Paronto on August 1, 2013

Tell me what does it look like in heaven

Is it peaceful?  Is it free like they say?

Does the sun shine bright forever?

Have your fears and your pain gone away?

Cuz here on earth it feels like everything good is missing

Since you left

And here on earth everything’s different

There’s an emptiness

Oh, oh  I -  I hope you’re dancing in the sky

I hope you’re singing in the angel’s choir

And I hope the angels know what they have

I’ll bet it’s so nice up in heaven since you arrived.

So tell me what do you do up in heaven?

Are your days filled with love and light?

Is there music? Is there art and adventure?

Tell me are you happy? Are you more alive?

Cuz here on earth it feels like everything good is missing

Since you left

And here on earth everything’s different

There’s an emptiness

Oh, oh  I - I hope you’re dancing in the sky

And I hope you’re singing in the angel’s choir

And I hope that the angels know what they have

I’ll bet it’s so nice up in heaven since you arrived

I hope you’re dancing in the sky

And I hope you’re singing in the angel’s choir

And I hope the angels know what they have

I’ll bet it’s so nice up in heaven since you arrived…since you arrived.


Another memory

Shared by Nancy Neilsen-Young on July 18, 2013

Hey Dar,

I was at your house yesterday and I was all by myself. As I swam in the pool and sat on the edge with my feet dangling in the water I had a forgotten memory hit me and it made me smile all over!!

Remember the time I came up and we sat and watched Jumping Jack Flash and tried over and over to copy Whoopie"s dance in her slippers???? Then we went outside and into the pool area and went skinny dipping!  Well, to be more accurate ...... I went skinny dipping and you sat on the edge of the pool with your feet dangling in the water laughing at me!!!

Those were some really good times!!! I miss those silly things we used to do!!

As I sat at your house yesterday I had MANY emotions go through me and I cherish ALL the feelings I get when I think of you and then that wonderful memory just popped up like a movie playing in my head, it was awesome!!

I miss you and your crazy ways.   So, I hope you know that you are NOT ever going to be forgotten!!   In fact; I cherish the times that  I get to sit back and  remember and reminise about you and all the times we used to have!!!  So be comforted to know that you are.........


I luv & miss ya MUCH !!!     xoxoxo Nanni    :)


Shared by Barbara Paronto on June 27, 2013

Every time I see your face
it reminds me of the places we used to go;

But all I've got is a photograph
and I realize you're not coming back anymore,

I thought I'd make it the day you went away
But I can't make it til you come home again to stay

I can't get used to living here while my heart is broke, my tears and cries for you
I want you here to have and hold as the years go by and we grow old and gray

Now you're expecting me to live without you
But that's not something that I'm looking forward to

I can't used to living here while my heart is broke, my tears and cries for you
I want you here to have and hold as the years go by and we grow old and gray

Every time I see your face it reminds me of the places we used to go
But all I've got is a photograph and I realize you're not coming back anymore

Every time I see your face it reminds me of the places we used to go
But all I've got is a photograph and I realize you're not coming back anymore

Every time I see your face it reminds me of the places we used to go....

Someone Special

Shared by Barbara Paronto on May 21, 2013

I once had something special that money could not buy,
I had a special person, but I had to say good-bye.
If I was asked one question, Why I thought the world of you?
I could give a million answers and each one would be true.
The heartache and the sadness may not always show,
People say it lessens but little do they know.

Meet me in my dreams, please, and talk to me once more,
Ease the everlasting pain that makes my heart so sore.
The road without you is so long, a tear for every mile,
But I know one day when I reach the end,
YOU'LL be waiting there with a SMILE! 

(I WILL) SEE YOU AGAIN by Carrie Underwood

Shared by Barbara Paronto on April 21, 2013

Said goodbye, turned around

And you were gone, gone, gone
Faded into the setting sun,
Slipped away
But I won't cry
Cause I know I'll never be lonely
For you are the stars to me,
You are the light I follow.

I will see you again, oh
This is not where it ends
I will carry you with me, oh
Till I see you again

I can hear those echoes in the wind at night
Calling me back in time
Back to you
In a place far away
Where the water meets the sky
The thought of it makes me smile
You are my tomorrow.

I will see you again, oh
This is not where it ends
I will carry you with me, oh
Till I see you again

Sometimes I feel my heart is breaking
But I stay strong and I hold on cause I know
I will see you again, oh
This is not where it ends
I will carry you with me, yeah yeah

I will see you again, oh
This is not where it ends
I will carry you with me, oh
Till I see you again
Till I see you again,
Till I see you again,
Said goodbye turned around
And you were gone, gone, gone.

Shared by Nancy Neilsen-Young on February 20, 2013

     Just remember,
in the winter, far beneath the bitter snow,
lies the seed, that with the sun's love,
in the spring, becomes
  "The Rose."

Wanted to write my own poem but my brain isn't co-operating so here's lyrics I know you love.

Green Thumb

Shared by Nancy Neilsen-Young on January 27, 2013

Hey Dar!! 

Well, I'll never forget the laughs we used to have about how very bad I was at keeping plants alive!!  You even bought me a cactus and said "There, now you have a plant that is sooo easy to take care of that you CAN"T kill it!"  But boy were you wrong!, it died and probably in record time!!  I always envied the fact that you could keep any and every thing alive and make them look so beautiful; indoors and out!!  Well, the year you left, I bought a poinsettia at church and dedicated it in memory of you and your life.  Well ..... guess what!??!  it's still alive!! and not just alive but (hold your hat) it's blooming!!! YAY!! So, thanks for passing on a bit of your wonderful talent with plants to me and reminding me that you have NOT left me!!!.   OH,  how I miss you and wish you could still be HERE with us!!  Like the shirt I'm wearing says ...... "Always and forever alive in my heart!!!" That will never change!! I luv and miss ya MUCH!!  xoxoxo Nanni

Without You

Shared by Nancy Neilsen-Young on December 20, 2012

When I wake up in the morning, 
I ask myself
How will I get through this day
Without you.
As I dress and prepare to start my day
I wonder
How will I go on
Without you
As the day slowly slips away
I remember how you made me laugh
And I smile
Without you
At the end of the day
As I prepare to close my eyes
I know in my heart
I couldn't have gotten through the day
Without you!!

I love this poem cuz it says exactly how I feel!!
You can still make me smile and....
Yup,  you're STILL gettin me thru the day!!
Luv and miss ya much!!  xoxoxo nanni


Shared by Barbara Paronto on November 28, 2012

Dar, here's a story that Uncle George shared with me.  I have edited it a little bit, but I just KNEW you'd love it:

There was a young woman who had been diagnosed with a terminal illness and had been given three months to live.  So as she was getting her things "in order," she contacted her Pastor and had him come to her house to discuss certain aspects of her final wishes.
She told him which songs she wanted sung at the service, what scriptures she would like read, and what outfit she wanted to be buried in.  Everything was in order and the Pastor was preparing to leave when she suddenly remembered something very important to her. 

"There's one more thing," she said excitedly. 
"What's that?" came the Pastor's reply. 
"This is very important," the young woman continued. "I want to be buried with a fork in my right hand." 

The Pastor stood looking at the young woman, not knowing quite what to say. 
"That surprises you, doesn't it?" she said. 
"Well, to be honest, I'm puzzled by the request," said the Pastor. 

The young woman explained. "My grandmother once told me this story, and from that time on I have always tried to pass along its message to those I love and those who are in need of encouragement.  She had said,

          ‘In all my years of attending socials and dinners, I always
that when the dishes of the main course were
           being cleared,
someone would inevitably lean over and say,  
           'Keep your fork.'  It was my favorite part because I knew
           that something better was scrumptious
           German Chocolate Cake or some other wonderful dessert -
           the best part of the meal!'

"So, I just want people to see me there in that casket with a fork in my hand and I want them to wonder "What's with the fork?" 
Then I want you to tell them: "Keep your fork, the best is yet to come." 

The Pastor's eyes welled up with tears of joy as he hugged the young woman good-bye.  He knew this would be one of the last times he would see her before she died.  But he also knew that she had a better grasp of heaven than he did.  She KNEW that something better was coming. 

At the funeral people were walking by the young woman's casket and they saw the fork placed in her right hand. Over and over, the Pastor heard the question, "What's with the fork?"  And over and over he smiled. 

During his message, he told the people of the conversation he'd had with the young woman shortly before she died.  He told them about the fork and about what it symbolized to her.  He told the people how he could not stop thinking about the fork and that they probably would not be able to stop thinking about it either.  He was right.

So now when I reach for my fork I am reminded that you are already enjoying dessert.
I think I'm gonna KEEP MY FORK
Meet ya at the dessert table!


Dar's Legacy

Shared by Barbara Paronto on November 5, 2012

Dar, I was asked to do a reading again this year at Connecticut Valley Home Care and Hospice's annual Community Remembrance Candle Lighting Ceremony.  I chose to speak on the legacy that our loved ones leave us, even if it isn't money or a claim to fame.  I also wrote a poem called, Dar's Legacy.  Here they are:

The word “legacy“ is defined as a gift, by will, usually of money or other personal property” or “something received from an ancestor”.

No, the loved ones we’ve lost were not famous for inventing something life-changing, like penicillin or the personal computer; and no, they didn’t leave us a lot of money.  Every one of our loved ones left a legacy of some kind.  As beauty is seen through the eye of the beholder, so, too, the legacy someone leaves may be viewed differently by each of us. 

The word ”legacy” used in another context might also define someone’s achievement of greatness in life.

Ok, so you didn’t inherit the family heirloom, the gold watch, or a large sum of money; and quite possibly your loved one doesn’t hold world-wide fame for some life altering invention or achievement. 

Instead, perhaps, he taught you about honesty, hard work, respect and true patriotism, and a love for God and country;

Maybe he was at every one of your games to cheer you on and teach you about good sportsmanship – win or lose;

Did she take in every stray cat in the neighborhood and teach you compassion and a love of all creatures;

Perhaps she was a pre-school teacher who every kid loved so much they thought she was their own personal grammie.  

Or that she taught you to live in the moment, to crank up the tunes and dance your bad day away;

In the face of illness were they still able to teach you about vulnerability, humility, forgiveness, confidence, humor in the face of fear and anxiety, that it’s okay to cry, okay to be afraid of the dark. 

Whatever their legacy, once you recognize it, embrace it and treasure it, because it is your gift from your loved one. 

In speaking today, I was undecided whether to stop at this point or not.  Since this is a memorial service, I still wanted to include this poem that I wrote called Dar’s Legacy.


                        DAR’S LEGACY

She sat on the side of her bed and thought,
What can I leave my family?  What have I got?

How will they remember me after I’m gone?  
I can’t leave them money because I have none

The trinkets I have are not special, as such   
Just household items that don’t amount to much.

I have nothing of value to remind them of me
Will they know how I love them – will they see?

She knew in her heart that material things would tatter
Still she worried one day that her life wouldn’t matter

She thought if she gave us each some special gift
It would brighten our days – give our spirits a lift.

What she left us was far more precious than gold
The stories we tell seem to never grow old

She was one of a kind – and there will be no other
The love for her family she learned from her mother

Her laughter and dry wit made everything fun
You wouldn’t believe some of the things she has done

Her tireless energy for work and for play
To make gifts by hand that we proudly display

She lives on in each of us in memories held dear
Butterflies remind us that she still lingers near

Somehow she feared that her life would be measured
By what gifts she left and if they’d be treasured

Funny thing is, I’m happy with her sweater
Bought at a thrift store ‘cause no clothes are better

I miss her each day and I know this won’t change
But it’s part of God’s plan that I can’t rearrange.

Shared by Kim Deline on October 1, 2012

The Paulette's-John, Meg, & Marlee


Shared by Barbara Paronto on September 26, 2012


You're running through the underground
Hiding your real first name,
I always said you were the real star
You move like a hurricane through the pain.
You said, "Don't forget about me
Don't forget about me"
Like I'd ever forget about you!
How could I just change my mind?
When all the sun shines down on you,
Everyone's a lie but you're so true.
You're symphonic, you're the light of the moon
How could I forget you?

There's a whisper in the limo
Thousands of miles away,
But there are no lies in your blue eyes
Only a summer day, oh, a sweet summer day.
When all the sun shines down on you,
Everyone's a lie but you're so true.
You're symphonic, you're the light of the moon.
How could I forget you?
You're a star, a dream that never ends,
Fireworks around the bend,
An angel on the river Thames
You must know
You're all the lights on new years eve,

Quiet on the raging sea,
How could I forget you? 
How could I forget you!

You said, "Don't forget about me
Don't forget about me"
Like I'd ever forget about you!
How could I just change my mind?
When all the sun shines down on you,
Everyone's a lie but you're so true.
You're symphonic, you're the light of the moon.

How could I forget you?
When all the sun shines down on you,
Everyone's a lie but you're so true.
You're symphonic, you're the light of the moon.
How could I forget you?

You said, "Don't forget about me.
Don't forget about me"

Dar's Birthday Love Letter to Mom

Shared by Barbara Paronto on September 2, 2012

So, today is Mom's 77th birthday.  Nanny asked her what she wanted for her birthday (she always says "nothing").  This year, she unfolded a letter and asked Nanny if there was any way the letter Dar gave her for her 70th birthday - which she had saved - could be put on Facebook.  

Mind you, Mom doesn't have a computer, doesn't use a computer, and isn't on Facebook.  But, she does know that many aunts, uncles and cousins, as well as childhood friends and schoolmates, have re-connected and "caught up" on Facebook. She knew that sharing Dar's letter would be a way to share with the world what a loving person Dar was.  Of course, those who knew Dar, already knew that, but, I guess putting Dar's letter on Facebook gives us all a little reminder.

And so, for her birthday Mom didn't get flowers that she would fret about keeping alive, or a trinket she would feel bad for, she got a reminder from one of her children of how much she is loved by ALL of her children.  

I am absolutely certain that Dar is taking great delight in still being able to tell Mom how much she loves her.  Oh, Dar, you've done it again!  :)

If I Could Be Where You Are

Shared by Barbara Paronto on April 20, 2012


Where are you this moment?  Only in my dreams
You’re missing but you’re always a heartbeat from me.
I’m lost now without you, I don’t know where you are
I keep watching, I keep hoping, but time keeps us apart.

Is there a way I can find you?
Is there a sign I should know?
Is there a road I could follow?
To bring you back home.

Winter lies before me now you’re so far away,
In the darkness of my dreaming the light of you will stay.
If I could be close beside you, If I could be where you are,
If I could reach out and touch you, and bring you back home.

Is there a way I can find you?
Is there a sign I should know?
Is there a road I could follow?
To bring you back home
…to me.

Dar, this song says it all.  Nineteen months ago our lives were forever changed with losing you.  Those of us who spent our entire lives with you as our sidekick are finding it most difficult to carry on.  This song by Enya truly expresses the melancholy feeling that overcomes us at times.  She obviously "gets it".  It feels good to hear a song that truly says so beautifully what's in my heart. 

So many people expect that those of us who were close to you will "move on", "get over it", "return to normal", or whatever phrase they use.  That will never happen.  There is a hole in our hearts that will never heal, but rightfully so because it is your space and yours alone. Try as we do to be there for one another, we're not trying to take your place or fill the void that you left.  (A) because we couldn't no matter how hard we tried - there's only one Dar, and (2) that's what the "new normal" is - reserving that special place in our hearts for one so deserving.  [ notice that I used your "numbering system" haha]

Like the expression goes, you left a hole in my heart that I tip-toe around every day and fall into at night.

And so, we get together from time to time and fondly remember the good times, the one-liners that would catch us all off-guard, you puttering around the kitchen whether it be making your famous purple chicken for the kids, munching on rice krispie treats, or eating eggs on toast "done right", your pitcher full of glasses (still) planted on the kitchen counter, you cross-stitching baby quilts and spending as much time unraveling the tangled knots as you did doing the pattern, you chasing down Curt so you could nibble on his ears, the looks you gave Natalie when she went a bit overboard with the "princess" bit, you cranking out the tunes and gettin' down to some good ol' rock 'n roll, or tending to your garden and proudly making your own spaghetti sauce and pesto, comforting you when John was in Holland and you missed him so desperately (even though you were camped out in his apartment with a webcam!), you on a mission to make every kind of jerky and fruit roll-up for John's hike on the Appalachian Trail, how you lovingly "mothered" your nieces, Kristel and Jess, on love, relationships and life in general, as though they were your own daughters, or the sparkle in your eye when you tackled Mikey over the kitchen counter just to grab a kiss.  When we get together we often catch ourselves giving each other "the look" and undoubtedly someone will say, "I can just hear Dar sayin'...."   

I know you're watching all that goes on here.  You must be so proud of how Mikey has opened up and how fondly he cherishes your memory, of Kimmy and the amazing woman, nurse, mother, wife, sister, niece and friend that she has become, so loving and nurturing, outspoken like her mom, too!, and Amy, how she so lovingly cares for her family, how Addison loves every aspect in life to the fullest - something as simple as blue bath water puts a gleam in her eye, and Ms. Mily, you can already tell she's got a bit of "Dar" in her - she's gonna be a tiger protecting Addi from the world, Curt is so laid back (like your Johnny), and Natalie is so good with the babies; I know you're not missing out on seeing John so happy with Meghan and Marlee, he is SO in his element being a dad; and I know that you've managed to form a bond with Madi Mae and Hailey Darlene - they both recognize your picture and their eyes light up when they see you! You know Kristel, she absolutely adores you - and that will never change; same with Jess.  While both love you and keep you close to their hearts - they don't "wear their heart on their sleeve" like me and Nan do.  And me and Nan, well we're doing the best that we can.  Thank God "we're on the same page".  

I know you haven't gone far....the butterflies are a constant reminder. THANK YOU!  They brighten my day every time I see them, whether it be on Hailey Darlene's jammies and clothes that get handed down from Madi Mae, a piece of jewelry at the store, clothes when Nanni and I are thrift store shopping, a card, or actual live butterflies fluttering around the yard.  I miss you, Dar, XOXOXO   "B"

Okay Dar, here's another attempt at writing!

Shared by Nancy Neilsen-Young on March 20, 2012

The promise

I know that we all promised, that we would not forget.
And trust me my dear sister, that promise we have met!
You're with us all each morning, with the rising of the sun.
You're with us in each thing we do, in the sad times and the fun.
You're with us thru the daytime, in each and every chore,
We talk about you always, so your memory is assured.
You're also in our evenings, with the setting of the sun.
We keep you nestled in our hearts, long after the day is done.
You're with us in our every thought and in everything we do.
We love you and we miss you and to our promise we'll be true!

Written just for you Dar by me!  :)  xoxo  :)


Shared by Barbara Paronto on March 20, 2012


For many years a nurse named Bronnie Ware worked in palliative care. Her patients were those who had gone home to die. Some incredibly special times were shared with her as she was with them for the last three to twelve weeks of their lives. People grow a lot when they are faced with their own mortality.

She learned never to underestimate someone’s capacity for growth. Some changes were phenomenal. Each patient experienced a variety of emotions, as expected, denial, fear, anger, remorse, more denial and eventually acceptance. Every single patient found their peace before they departed though, every one of them.

When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again. Here are the most common five:

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life that  others expected of me.

This was the most common regret of all. When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled.  Most people had not honored even half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made. 

While I don't believe Dar fulfilled all her hopes and dreams, I don't feel like she didn't pursue them either.  I think she always followed her own compass and did what she wanted to do.  I'm confident that this was not one of her regrets.

2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.

This came from every male patient that she nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret.  But as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners.  All of the men deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.

Dar was a very "busy" person who loved her work but never sacrificed a moment of family life for her work.  Anyone who knew Dar knows that family was always first and so this, too, would not have been one of her regrets.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming.  Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result. 

Don't really need to respond to this one, do I?  Dar was pretty free to express her feelings and, if she didn't express them directly to the individual, she certainly did not suppress them.  She'd at least vent to someone close to her.  That way, she released her frustration without harboring bad feelings or hurting someone's feelings and damaging a relationship.  Nope, I'd say this was not one of her regrets.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

Often they would not truly realize the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved.

Again, happy to report, not one of Dar's regrets.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realize until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives.  Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to themselves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again. 

she made EVERYTHING she did FUN
for herself and everyone with her!  

So, take a lesson from Dar.....




Shared by Nancy Neilsen-Young on January 29, 2012

Dear Dar,

We tried our best to tell you,   before you went away,

But in case you didn't get it,   here's what we tried to say.....

Please ALWAYS know we love you,  and no one can take your place,

Yes, years will come and go, but your memory won't be erased.

You are so very special and truly will be missed,

and every time we think of you, we also send a kiss.

Tho the days may start without you, we won't be far apart,

Because we'll often think of you and your ALWAYS in our heart!!

written with Lots of love by Nanci

Thinking of you Always Dar!!    Luv ya MUCH!!, Nanni

Thoughts on Dar

Shared by Barbara Paronto on January 24, 2012

We can shed tears that she is gone, 
or we can smile because she has lived.

We can close our eyes and pray that she'll come back,
or we can open our eyes and see all she's left.

Our hearts can be empty because we can't see her,
or we can be full of the love we shared.

We can turn our backs on tomorrow and live yesterday, 
or we can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.

We can remember her only that she is gone,
or we can cherish her memory and let it live on.

We can cry and close our minds, be empty and turn our backs.
or we can do what she'd want:  

Smile, open our eyes, love, and go on. 


Dar Mattered

Shared by Barbara Paronto on November 7, 2011

You might have heard, Oprah now has her own television network.  She hosts a series called “Life Class” in which she revisits highlights of her talk show through the years and tells of the life lessons learned.



A few weeks back I watched Life Class.  Oprah was talking about the segment in 2004 when she began Oprah’s Wildest Dreams Come True Bus and went around the country granting people’s greatest wishes. 


The first recipient was a fella by the name of Paolo.  He worked in the family grocery store but aspired to become an actor.  He was held back by his obligation to his family.  He didn’t send just one email, or two, he had sent Oprah hundreds of emails about his dream of becoming an actor. 


Now, Oprah received thousands of wildest dream wishes from people in some very desperate circumstances and yet, she chose to grant Paolo’s dream wish first.  True to form, Oprah was able to get him a walk-on speaking role in the tv show Will and Grace.  He was thrilled to pieces.  Oprah was genuinely touched by his joy and appreciation.  She called it Joy Rising. 


What stuck in my mind, though, was when Oprah said that the greatest gift you can give someone is to let them know that, “You were seen – You were heard – You mattered.”


When our beloved Dar was told that her cancer was terminal and that nothing more could be done for her.  It wasn’t death that she feared.  It was that we, her family and friends, would eventually carry on with our lives as though she didn’t matter.  It's not like she was famous or anything. 


Ah, but she left a mark.  When I look at how each and every one of her family and friends feel the loss of her dry wit, her ability to make you laugh – out loud, her busy ways, her love and care, we are deeply affected each and every day by her passing. 


So, I just want to say,

Dar, You were seen – You were heard – and You did matter – to me, to your family and to your friends – and You STILL Matter.



Shared by Kim Deline on August 11, 2011

It was in the afternoon on this random Monday that I received a phone call from Eric Adams, mom's physical therapist (located at Twisted Fitness on Pleasant St in Claremont).  He told me that mom came in for her scheduled therapy and just "didn't look right".  When he asked her if she felt ok, mom burst into tears and told Eric that, infact, she did not feel ok but she didn't feel sick, she couldn't explain how she felt.  Eric asked mom to do some very basic tasks, to which she could not do (and she knew it and that scared her); for example, Eric asked mom what time it was; she couldn't articulate the time; Eric asked mom to call someone to come get her; She couldn't dial the phone; Eric asked who he could call; She couldn't reply except to have Eric scroll down the address book in her cell phone until she recognized my name and told him to call "that one".  Being that I live, literally, just down the street, I physically ran to Eric's office.  I went into the therapy room and saw her eyes; Her big blue "cow eyes" (as my mom's dad would say to her as a child) were glassy and red from crying, with a look of fear and relief all at the same time in them; fear of what was happening but relief that she had someone familiar to get her the care she obviously needed.

I took the Rav keys from her and we went straight to Valley Regional Hospital.  I retold the story, just as I explained above, to the emergency room doc.  Because her symptoms somewhat resembled a possible stroke, the doc ordered a CT scan.  Of course, while waiting for the CT scan, they drew a bunch of blood work too.  I made calls to dad, Amy, and John. John joined me at VRH.  Mom had the Ct scan while I called Grammy Connie to tell her what was happening.

So, mom's on a gourney, I'm to mom's left and John is to mom's right when the ED doc comes into the room.  He has a smile on his face, which subconsiously put a smile on all our faces too, He claps his hands together and cheerfully says "I know what's wrong with you".  None of us expected what we were about to hear.  He continues with "you have a brain tumor".

I immediately looked to mom.  The look on her face is seared into my brain forever, her smile quickly faded, her eyes immediately welled with tears, her lower lip beginning to quiver, while she asked in a whispered voice, "what?".  The doc further explained the size, where it was located, the fact that her symptoms were associated with this tumor, AND that he ALREADY had spoken with a neurosurgeon at DHMC and that they would be expecting her this evening.  He then asked if mom wanted us to drive her to DHMC or if she wanted to go in an ambulance.  I leaned over her and hugged her head, trying desperately to hold back tears and told her "it's alright, it'll be alright, we will get this taken care of".  I turned to the doc and told him that we would be bringing her up to DHMC.  John staied with mom while I stepped out to call dad, Amy, and Grammy.

Having to call dad at work was so hard.  I explained everything and told him that we were going to be heading up to DHMC.  He said he would meet us there (dad works in Lebanon right down the hill from the hospital).  I then called Amy.  I asked her if she was sitting down, then I told her she needed to sit down.  I explained everything that the doc said.  Naturally she got very upset.  Amy made arrangements to have Addison watched while she also came up to the hospital.

We arrived in the DHMC emergency room sometime in the mid-evening (6-8 range).  We ended up talking to a lot of doctors until almost midnight; we had to retell everything over and over.  They did neurological exams on mom in routine intervals.  These consisted of touching your nose while your eyes are closed, holding your arms out straight with palms up, etc.  It was similar to a sobriety test.  They told us that there would be more tests to come but the first thing was they needed to get mom on the surgery schedule to have the tumor removed.  They briefly explained what needed to happen in terms of surgery but didn't go into too much detail then.  Why should they, they are only ED doc's, right?  It wasn't until very late until mom got a room.  I believe it was like 1:30 am or some rediculous hour.  Amy and I saw mom up to her room, Johnny and dad had left a short time before us.  Mom told us what she wanted from home and what stuff needed to get done.  Amy and I kissed her goodnight, told her we loved her and that we would see her in a few hours (because we would be back by 9am the next morning).

I brought Amy home.  We didn't actually get home until 2am or later.  Amy came over to my house for a little while because we were both WIDE awake and our families were sleeping.  We sat on my living room sofa and realized that life as we all knew it was forever changed somehow.  We wouldn't know just how much all our lives were changed (especially mom's) until the coming days, weeks, and months.

It's almost been a year since mom has passed.  It's obvious just how mom's life changed.  I kow most of us are still struggling with how our lives have changed since mom's diagnosis and subsequent passing.  I feel pretty confident by saying that I believe we were all changed for the better for what mom taught us all in her last 13 months.  She may not have said much of anything but she taught us all compassion, vulnerability, humility, forgiveness,confidence, humor in the face of fear and anxiety,that  it's ok to cry, it's ok to be scared of the dark, it's ok to carry a "blankie" when you're in your 50's.  I'm still trying to put all of these lessons into play in my life; I'm sure everyone else is too.

I miss her every minute of every day and love her so much!!!  -Dolly-

Shared by Nancy Neilsen-Young on August 7, 2011

Hey Dar,

Yesterday Barb,Kristel,Hailey Darlene and I went for a trial run of YOUR walk.  It was nice to do the walk in rememberance of Brides Night. It was hot but it was great to be outdoors and see all the flowers in bloom and the butterflies fluttering around while remembering you. We stopped by your house to cool off and YES I took a dip (so did Hailey). Sometimes when I'm at your house it intensifies how much I miss you,I look over at the couch and can't believe you're not there.

Today is Sisters Day and I wanted you to know I'm thinking of you,as always.

This coming week Barb and I are going to White River for a visit and see who we can run into and I also hope to make it to the cemetary this week or next to check on yours and Dads flowers and stuff.

Well, I just wanted to keep you updated as to what is going on and to wish you a happy Sisters Day.

I luv you and miss you!!    Luv Me!


What Now?

Shared by Nancy Neilsen-Young on July 23, 2011


This isn't a story, just some thoughts. There never seems to be enough room in the tribute section so I'm writing here.


When I'm alone, my thoughts instantly go to you and how very much I miss you!! I'm having a hard time regaining my spark, my energy, my excitement for life. I really am trying but I can't seem to muster up the same (or anywhere close to the same) feelings that I used to have. Sometimes I wonder, what's the point of my life? what matters anymore? and then Madi Mae comes and gives me a hug and a kiss and I think maybe it's to be a good Gram to her, but I still feel like I'm missing something. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE being a Gram but I feel like I should be doing something helpful or bigger or I don't know, just something important, something that has to do with you. I'm hoping that when we start planning and putting together your memorial walk, that will help me feel like I'm doing something worthwhile.

So many people have told me they have had dreams about you and  OH how I wish I would!! I'd love to just see your face and your smile again. To be able to be in your presence and hear your voice and your sense of humor again would be so wonderful! I miss that,I miss you.

Well, enough of my rambling I guess. This definitely isn't as good as talking to you, but it is kinda therapeutic and makes me feel like you'll get and  understand my feelings if I write them down, crazy huh? Well, you already knew that about me anyway.

I miss you Dar! Keep looking out for me okay? I love you!  Nanc

So much to so many

Shared by Nancy Neilsen-Young on July 1, 2011

I can't get over how very much Dar meant to so many people.  I always knew that Dar was the center of things, she always knew what was going on with everyone and was willing to help any way she could.                                            I knew how very much she meant to me and how very important she was in my life but I thought that was special between her and me, but the more I hear people talk, the more I realize she meant that much to so many other people too. She had so many different qualities that made her extremely important to so many people.                                                                                           I'm not sure how one person could be the core and strength of so many  people but our Dar definetely was.                                                      Like Barb wrote,  Dar "got" you.  She really did!  No matter who you were or what you were talking about or going through, she "got it", she understood.    I really do miss her so much.  



Shared by Barbara Paronto on May 15, 2011


Did you ever notice that Dar was one of those few and rare people who "got you"?  She got the joke, she got your take on a story, she got your sense of humor, she got your point of view - she just plain got it.  I miss that.  I miss her. 

I'm able to reconcile the fact that our fragile and sweet Dar is gone.  I saw her go.  But it's hard to believe that the old Dar is gone.  Just vanished.  Every now and again it just hits me - and I just can't believe it's real.  I get a big lump in my throat and I can't swallow. 

It sucks. 

I hate cancer.  I hate chemo.  I hate medical people who treat patients like folders and cases, not people, and I hate the fact that what they consider treatment is not a cure, it's a poison.  I hate the fact that our country is so friggin' worried about exploring outer space instead of finding a cure - an actual cure - for cancer.  And I REALLY hate the fact that her doctor got away with misdiagnosing her many early symptoms of cancer - dismissing them as more of her maladies - and suffers no consequence.  I often wonder how she sleeps at night.  How she can continue to practice medicine.  I hate that Dar's treatment options were so limited and that by the time we all realized that her cancer wasn't being "treated" it was too late to save her.  If only I could turn back time.  I would have been her voice.  I would have asked more questions and demanded better answers.  

I'm sad for her.  I'm sad for me.  I'm sad for all of us who loved her so very, very much.  And I'm so very sad that our grandchildren will not grow up knowing first-hand what a truly cool person Dar was! 

A sample of Dar's love

Shared by Nancy Neilsen-Young on April 19, 2011

My daughter,Jessica, and I were reminiscing and we remembered a time when Dar was.. so,well....Dar!! Jess and I were at one of the family reunion's at Jim and Anita's house and Jess was about to lose her first tooth. She'd been trying hard to get it to come out for I don't even know how long and it finally did at the reunion. The problem was, she was standing on the outside deck when this happened and yes she dropped it. It went between the boards of the deck and underneath the deck was their wood pile. Jess was heartbroken so I commenced to searching for it amongst all the wood and of course Dar joined right in and helped me look for it. Well, after who knows how long, I got tired of looking and wanted to join back in with the reunion so I told Jess I couldn't find it and maybe I'd look again later. But Dar wouldn't give up,she kept looking. Well, the day wore on and Dar couldn't find it but she said no way was she sending Jess home without a tooth, no kid should be without their first tooth, so she drove home and came back with a baby tooth from one of her kid's that she'd saved. We pretended that she'd found it and presented it to Jess and the happiness on her face was priceless! She was so excited that she had her first tooth to put underneath her pillow for the tooth fairy. Dar did all that so my kid would have a tooth to put under her pillow and have a happy memory of her first tooth. That's just one example of Dar's love and commitment to her family. Thanks Dar!! We love you and miss you lots!!

Dar's still here In Spirit

Shared by Barbara Paronto on March 27, 2011

John and Meg's baby, Marlee Mei, was born Monday, March 21st.  They brought her to visit her Papa on Saturday.  Me and Nancy went over, Kim, Damien, Curt and Natalie, Amy and Addison were all there. 

Mike held Marlee for a few minutes and we all grabbed our cameras, of course!  Then it was Amy's turn.  Amy was holding Marlee and Kimmy was looking on.  I took this photo.  I took a close-up of Kimmy planting a kiss on Marlee's head, then took a few photos of Nancy holding her.  All together I only took eight photos.

I came home and uploaded the photos so that I could print off a few for Mike.  When I saw the orb in this photo, my first thought was that it was Dar.  Then I thought, "Wait a minute, check the other photos and see if there is anything similar going on in them."  Nothing.  I looked at the photo on my camera and zoomed in.  There is a perfect sphere in the photo.  There was no dust, no moisture, no reflection....

Now I was sure it was Dar.  So I decided in addition to printing a 3 x 5 set of all the photos, I would print off two 8 x 10 copies of this photo for Kim and Amy.  I sent the print request to the printer and it printed off the two photos but kept on printing.  When it had printed four photos, I thought, "Hmmmm...what did I do? Did I tell it to print the wrong number?"  I hit the "back" key and looked at my print request.  It said 2.  And yet, the printer was still printing.  I hit "cancel" on the printer and it continued to print - even though the window said "printing cancelled".  Usually when I cancel printing, it will stop mid-print and spew the paper out - but not this time.  I shut the printer off, waited a few minutes, turned it back on, and, yup, you guessed it, it was still printing!  I put more paper in and started texting Kimmy.  I just felt like Dar was sending me a message to make sure I knew that, yes, it was her in the photo.  And so, I let the dang thing print till it was done.  I don't know why, but I now have twelve of those 8 x 10 photos.

I firmly believe that Dar's spirit still lingers in her home.  She probably didn't want to rush off because there were special moments she wanted to witness firsthand.  Personally, I think she met Marlee Mei Saturday evening, and that gives me a "warm and fuzzy" feeling inside.

She hugged me good-bye...

Shared by Kim Deline on February 25, 2011

The Friday before mom died, I was at her house hangin' out.  The last few months that mom was still with us, I was over at the house as much as I possibly could be.  Each time I was there I would tell her how much I loved her and she would tell me that she loved me too.

This one particular Friday (9-17-2010), however, was very different and I knew it immediately when I walked through the door. 

The experiences I've had over the last 10 years in nursing, as well as my nursing education require me to know the signs and symptoms of death and dying. 

Mom was very restless (called terminal restlessness), couldn't get comfortable, and to top it all off she wanted something but couldn't articulate in words what it was that she wanted.  In fact, she was barely able to verbalize at all that night.  Once she finally settled down a bit, I observed her breathing.  Her breathing was very rhythmic with periods of apnea (apnea is when you stop breathing for a short period of time-usually just a few seconds).  This type of breathing is called Cheynne-Stokes breathing.  It's a rhythmic breathing pattern that is usually one of the first indicators that death is imminent.

Anyway, Barb was getting ready to leave for the night, dad was home from work, and Nanny was spending the night.  Nanny staid over night with mom almost every night through the summer to help mom be more comfortable, decrease her anxiety, and to help let dad get some sleep.  Dad and Nan both had observed moms breathing.  I couldn't bring myself to tell them what it was because as it was I was trying to hold myself together and not cry because I knew at that point that moms death was fast approaching.

So, she woke from a nap around 8pm-ish and sat up on the side of the couch.  I went to her because I didn't want her to fall.  At this stage of the game, she had taken many, many falls and thankfully never broke any bones.  Oh sure, she had plenty of bruises, bumps, and scraped but that was all, thankfully. 

Because she wasn't able to verbalize, I asked her if she wanted to get up and she nodded her head slightly.  I helped her to a standing position.  Once I had her to her feet, she put her arms around me and hugged me tight!  I put my arms around her teeny-weeny frame and held on just as tight as she had hold of me.  We stood there and embraced each other.  I whispered in her ear that I loved her and that it was okay for her to go to Heaven when she was ready.  Once I whispered into her ear she squeezed me.  I helped her sit back down on the couch and I knelt in front of her.  Again, I told her that I loved her and that I would be right there with her when she was ready to go.  She looked me straight in the eye slightly nodded her head again, closed her eyes and laid back down on the couch.  I wished her a good night's sleep, kissed her on the forehead, told her I loved her again, and said I would see her the next day.

It was the next day that dad called me at work to tell me mom was having some breathing problems and she had taken a turn for the worse.  She took a pretty bad fall that day too.  After the fall she was unresponsive and never regained consciousness.  She passed on 9-20-2010. 

After she passed, it hit me like a ton of bricks, she hugged me good-bye.  She knew that I knew what was happening.  Even though she couldn't speak, she was still able to convey to me how she felt and that she knew what was happening too.  I explained the hug and the circumstances around it to Grammy Connie, Nanny, and Barb.  They were all supportive of what I felt to be true with moms hug.

For the rest of my life I will never forget that hug.  I will cherish the fact that we shared that moment forever.  Mom and I were close, close enough to convey our love for each other, mother and daughter, with a hug.  No one can EVER convince me otherwise that the hug we shared was anything but her letting me know she loved me and she hugged me good-bye.

A poem for Dar

Shared by Nancy Neilsen-Young on February 20, 2011

God looked around his garden and He found an empty place.

He then looked down upon this earth and saw your tired face.

He saw the road was getting rough and the hills were hard to climb

So, He closed your weary eyelids and whispered,

"Darlene, Peace be thine"

He put his arms around you and lifted you to rest.

God's garden must be beautiful, He always takes the best.

It broke our hearts to lose you, and we'll never be the same,

So your memories we'll hold so dear, until we meet again.


Shared by Barbara Paronto on February 19, 2011


I smiled and thought of you again today.  Nothing new, really.

Our hot water heater is trying to crap out and it will need to be replaced as soon as the new one is shipped.  Skip had to remove a temporary wall in the mudroom so that we can get the old hot water heater out.  I had lined the inside of the wall with 4 inch wide strips of styrofoam insulation 8 feet long that were left over from building the house.  They helped to muffle the sound of the water heater when I'm trying to work. 

Anyway, I decided to line them up against the wall in the downstairs bathroom.  They are so tall that they kept leaning and tipping over like wet noodles.  I probably looked like Lucy Ricardo trying to grab 'em all.

Anyway, I thought of you because I knew this would have been the ONE AND ONLY situation that you would have run like the wind and NOT helped me - because, as anyone who knows you knows, you absolutely can not tolerate the touch or sound of styrofoam rubbing against anything!  Like nails on a chalkboard!  Of course, fingernails on a chalkboard never bothered you.  Again, more proof that you were one of a kind.


Being teens

Shared by Nancy Neilsen-Young on February 19, 2011

If you read the page about Dar's life or if you knew Dar, then you know she had a period of time when she ran away alot. Well, I went with her one of those times. I can't remember all the details but I do remember Dar and I walking on the railroad tracks, talking and laughing,( about what I have no idea because we didn't have food or drinks, warm clothing, sleeping stuff or anything.) I think we had some change and we had each other's company and that was enough. We walked for awhile and decided we were hungry, so Dar looks over to the side and sees a field of corn and says, hey we love corn on the cob, let's get some. So, we go into the field, pick some corn and husk it and try to eat it, yuck! uncooked corn. Okay, so we need to cook it. No pan, no water, so we'll just have to make a fire and cook it over that. Well, we tried but we only had some twigs and husks(so... not much of a fire) but we stuck the corn into the fire anyway and yes we ended up with burnt kernels of uncooked corn on the cob. We must have eaten enough to take care of the hunger because I don't remember feeling hungry after that. We walked more and it was getting later and later and getting darker but I don't ever remember feeling scared. Well, the rest of the story is insignificant, we got caught, was brought back home and continued with our life as teens. The point of the story, I guess is, I always had a good time with Dar even under less than desirable circumstances. She could make anything fun, even eating burnt yet uncooked kernels of cow corn!! Dar was definetely one of a kind!!

Dar's Message from Heaven

Shared by Barbara Paronto on January 15, 2011

This message comes from Heaven where I live with God above                              There are no tears or sadness just eternal love.                                                   Please don't be unhappy because I’m out of sight                                          Remember that I’m with you every morning, noon and night.

That day I had to leave you cuz my life on earth was through
God took me by the hand and said “Darlene, I welcome you”.
“It’s good to have you back again, you were missed while you were gone
“As for your dearest family, they’ll be here later on.”
God gave me a list of things that He wants me to do
Topping the list is to watch over and look out for all of you.
So when you think of my life on earth and all those loving years
Because you’re only human it’s bound to bring you tears.
Do not be afraid to cry -  it does relieve the pain
Remember there would be no flowers if there wasn’t any rain.
One thing is for certain though my life on earth is over
I’m closer to you now that I ever was before.
And when it’s time for you to go - from that body to be free
Remember you’re not going - you’re coming here to be with me.
And I will always love you from heaven up above
We’ll be in touch again soon.         P.S.  God sends his love.

“IT’S ONLY HAIR” she said

Shared by Barbara Paronto on January 6, 2011

If you knew Dar, you knew that she was not one to play with her hair – styling and all. Sometime between 1983 and 1987, Dar went to the New England School of Hair Design for a hair cut. She got a “punk rocker” spike. Mind you, this was before hair care products in every bathroom were the norm. Basically, hair care products at this stage of the game consisted of an old jar of Dippity Do and a can of Aqua Net hair spray. Not every bathroom had hair care “appliances” either. One might own a blow dryer – or not – and/or a curling iron. Possibly an antique set of electric rollers. Anyway, Dar didn’t want to mess with any of that. She just wanted a wash and go no fuss haircut that would require little to no maintenance. When she showed up at our house with her spiked do, Skip commented that she was the only person he knew who could get away with a hairdo like that - that, in fact, it fit her personality perfectly. Dar soon learned that in order to maintain the spike she would have to return to the beauty school quite frequently because if the hair got too long it would not spike, it wood flop over and lay flat. Like I said, no haircare products like wax were in use at the time. 

Well, it didn’t take Dar long to show up at my doorstep requesting a haircut. I asked how short and she instructed that the hair had to be an inch or less otherwise it wouldn’t spike. She wanted her whole head of hair cut to one inch. Dar had very thick hair. She sat in a chair in my livingroom down in Beauregard Village and I commenced to cutting. I was hesitant – she was insistent. And so the cutting began. It took the better part of the day. Skip walked passed Dar a few times and made some remarks – she ignored him, I kept to the task at hand. When I finished the hairdo didn’t resemble what she wanted at all. It was bad. I felt absolutely horrible. I remember thinking that if I’d had a haircut like that I would hibernate. Not Dar. She shrugged, and said, oh well, it’s only hair. We laughed. I still felt terrible. At the time Dar worked at P&C Supermarket. She wore bandanas on her head for what seemed like forever. Of course, everyone thought she was ill, but she wasn’t. She didn’t care, the joke was on them. And, afterall, it was only hair.

LIVE, LOVE, LAUGH - That We Did!

Shared by Barbara Paronto on January 1, 2011

It was the fall of 2007 and we were all trying to figure out what to get Connie for Christmas.  I think it was Bruce who suggested that we all get together for a family photo - no in-laws, no grandchildren - just the six Neilsen kids.  There's no way we would EVER be able to get all six Neilsen kids, plus their spouses, their children, their spouses, etc. together.  Anita is quite talented in photography, so it was suggested that we all meet at Butch and Anita's. 

At this point, Dar had not been diagnosed with the brain tumor and cancer.  She had undergone some behaviorial changes but no one knew why - now we know.  Anyway, the most obvious change in her behavior was that she avoided family gatherings.  Certainly NOT the Dar we all knew and loved!  So, in planning the photo shoot, we were all sitting on pins and needles wondering if she'd be a no-show.  What good is a family portrait if one of the family is missing?  Well, she came through.  Word is that she was reluctant about going, but with her heels dug in, so to speak, forced herself, saying the whole while that she was only gonna stay for 5 minutes and get it over with.

So, we're all at Butch and Anita's trying to behave ourselves so that Anita can get a decent photo of us.  Anita would take a handful of different poses then go upload them from her camera to her computer to see if there were any keepers.  We're all hanging out doing our usual story telling, joking, and laughing with one another about nothing in particular.  Anita began video taping us and says, "You know, Connie would love to just have a video of you guys just being yourselves."  At some point someone suggested that we all sing, "We Wish You A Merry Christmas" to mom as part of the video.  So we all start singing.  I wanted to make sure that no one went on a tangent and sang all the verses that so few people actually know - just stick to the basic chorus, ya know?  We also decided that, at the end, we'd spread our arms out to end the "show".  Well, who knew that you'd have to choreograph something so simple?  What fun we had, though.

The evening was full of stories and laughter, no tension, no anxiety - like the good ol' days. 

It was a very cold night and my gas tank was nearly empty.  I had no cash on me and wasn't sure if I even had enough money in my checking account to use my debit card.  I mentioned that I wasn't going to warm up my car because I needed the gas just to get home.  Dar very discreetly comes over and offers me $20.00.  I declined, but, for someone who had shut me out of her life for two years after being "glued at the hip" for a lifetime - I was touched.  On the way home Marilyn and I were talking and she commented that she'd had a really nice time.  She said that so often over the years at family gatherings when the six of us had gotten together, she'd felt more like a bystander than "one of us".  This night she felt like she belonged.  Huge.  (By the way, word has it that Dar was the LAST to leave Butch and Anita's that night.)

Anita printed and framed a photograph and made the DVD for Mom for Christmas.  She also made each of the six of us a photo and a copy of the DVD.  (Thank You sooooooo much, Anita!)  In watching the DVD now, I see where Anita was coming from.  The content of the conversation makes little sense - it was definitely a "you had to be there" night.  It's quite likely that no one, and I do  mean NO ONE, outside of the family would have any interest in re-watching the DVD from that night.  But, one thing is perfectly clear when you watch the DVD is that we were all LIVING, LOVING and LAUGHING - together.  Priceless.

My momma's dolly...

Shared by Kim Deline on December 31, 2010

Ever since I could remember, my mom always called me "dolly". 

I finally asked her, once when I was probably 8 or 9, why she called me dolly.  She proceeded to tell me that ever since she could remember, she had always wanted a baby girl of her own, that she couldn't wait to be a mom.  She told me of the times when she was a little girl and plaied dolls with her sisiters.  She told me that even though they would all play with the dolls, that she always pretended that the doll was a real baby.

The story of the nick name "dolly" unfolds even more when she finally meets and falls in love with my dad.  She told me how once she met my dad, she knew that her dreams of being a mom would come true with him.  That he's the man she wanted to have children with.  They hadn't been together very long before mom was pregnant with her very first, real, live dolly!

I was born October 11, 1978 to a very happy Dar and Mikey!  So, on that day, moms dream of playing "real-life" dollies came true.  She even had a shirt made while she was in Myrtle Beach when I was 9 months old that had a scanned image of my face on it and underneath the picture says "She's my dolly".

Mom always called me dolly; she would address cards to me that way, and whenever she or I was having the best or worst of times she would comfort me by calling me dolly and hold me like I was one.

I miss those arms around me but if I close my eyes and think about her I can still feel her arms around me.

I miss you mom.  There isn't a minute that passes that you aren't on my mind.  I love you so much and I will forever and always be your dolly!

XOXO Kimmy...AKA. Dolly


Shared by Nancy Neilsen-Young on December 27, 2010

Okay, so if you knew Dar then you know she had a thing for glasses. She collected sunglasses and reading glasses, sometimes she'd be wearing more than one pair at a time even. She'd have a pair either on the top of her head or actually on her eyes and a pair on a string around her neck. She had an old fashioned water pitcher that was FULL of glasses that she kept on her counter so she'd never be without a pair of glasses. Well anyway, one day while I was with Dar we decided to go do some errands. Not many, she wasn't feeling that terrific but she wanted to get out of the house for a little bit. So she grabbed her pocketbook and keys and off we went to the pharmacy and the post office. As we were driving, the sun came out really nice and bright so Dar looked in her purse for some glasses, yup you guessed right, she had none in her purse. She said, "You'd think with all the glasses I have there'd be some in here right? But there wasn't. So, I just happened to have 2 matching pairs of big blue framed sunglasses and I said here try these. So, she put them on, (mind you I was wearing the exact same glasses)turned to me and said "hey, we're twins". Then with a little shoulder shimmy she smiled and said "Oh yea, we're COOL!!"   Yea it's probably one of those times when you had to be there to get it and I'm glad I was cuz I'll never forget her smile,her humor and the cuteness of her wearing my big blue sunglasses.

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