First Heartbreaks, First Loves, and Dreams Come True
Richard Marx, “Right Here Waiting”:
Visiting my grandparents’ mint green, three-bedroom home in Norwalk was nothing new for me at eight years old. Before they moved from California to New Hampshire in the early 1990s, my siblings and I would be there daily. On July 23rd, 1990, the morning of my ninth birthday, this commonplace trip changed my entire family’s life forever.
“Stay here in the car,” my dad commanded. Next, he turned to my mom and said, “You need to talk to your parents.” Without saying a word, my mom slowly crept to the door as we watched from inside our station wagon. When my grandfather appeared behind the screen door, it did not take much for me to understand something was seriously wrong. I will never forget the scream that escaped my mom’s lungs as she collapsed into my grandfather’s arms and disappeared with him into the house. At that point, my dad told us it was time to go inside.
Just the night before, we had sat with my grandparents and my uncle, the baby on my mom’s side, planning my birthday party. My uncle Stuart was heading out to be with friends, but he promised me that he would be back the next day to celebrate with us. At only 20 years old, Stuart had the kindest soul and was my favorite uncle. He would babysit us frequently and had so much patience with all of us.
Upon entering the house this summer morning, I shockingly learned that Stuart had fallen asleep on the freeway in the middle of the night and had driven his car into a ravine and a tree. He had passed away instantly. My dad broke the news gently as I watched my mom and grandmother cling to each other as if holding onto life itself. As a child, I struggled to make sense of all this until four years later.
Fast forward to the night before my 13th birthday - July 22nd of 1994. I had cried myself to sleep, feeling so bad that my birthday now brought so much pain to many people. However, this night changed my whole perspective.
That night, I had the most vivid vision; I do not say dream because this was much more real than that. In this vision, I saw a figure sitting by the side of a pool with his back to me. As I put my hand on the shoulder of this person, he turned around. Staring at me with the most peaceful, radiant smile was Stuart. The warmest, most joyful feeling engulfed my whole being. Stuart said to me: “I am OK.”
He was gone right after that, and I woke up with no pain and Richard Marx’s “Right Here Waiting” constantly on my mind. My mom told me later that this was Stuart’s favorite song; it was also the song playing in his car when he died. They said the police found his cassette tape stuck on that song. Whenever I hear this song, I feel, in my soul, that my uncle is at peace and I will see him again. This experience was undoubtedly God’s message to me that there is hope. This song will always remind me of my solidified faith and knowledge that we have not been left alone in this life or with our grief.
New Kids on the Block, “You Got It (The Right Stuff)”:
This song introduced me to my first love: Jordan Knight of New Kids on the Block! I will never forget entering the room while my older cousin watched this video on MTV, back when the station actually showed music videos.
“That’s Donnie Wahlberg in the cutoff jeans,” my cousin Kelly explained. “He is my favorite!”
“Who is the one with the dark hair and the long braid?” I asked her. And the rest was history!
This band has led me through many moments in my life; they got me through my uncle's death, my parents’ divorce, and my first breakup. They also introduced me to a great friend named Jamie in 2008 when they reunited after a 15-year break. This brings me to my next song:
New Kids on the Block, “Click, Click, Click”:
This was the opening song to the NKOTB first reunion tour. The feeling I had when I watched them enter the stage for the first time in my life will never be matched by any other moment. Because of Jamie, I could afford to spend the money on a meet-and-greet ticket for the 2009 New Kids on the Block tour and again in 2010. Within those years, I also purchased meet-and-greet tickets for two of Jordan Knight’s solo projects. Again, thanks to Jamie’s help. Meeting her at my first New Kids on the Block concert opened the pathway for a childhood dream to become a reality several times. I will always be grateful for that and cherish the memories of meeting my first love!
About the Creator
I have a daughter who is halfway through high school, I am a wife of more than 20 years and a high school English teacher. It is all about writing for me every day, whether it's getting my thoughts down on paper or grading those essays.