Stories: Who We Have Lost

Chocolate Milk Mustaches

Story aboutLovita Irby

Grandkids sleepovers: The highlight of summer and Christmas break. When we went to Gramps and Grammy’s you knew that you were for sure leaving with two things … A belly full of El Fenix and a chocolate milk mustache.

On top of the fridge, there was a black and white “moo mixer” that would swirl and twirl to make the perfect chocolate milk. We would practically beg for her to bring it down so we could use an unhealthy amount of chocolate syrup (it had to be Hersheys) with our milk. Time was a figment of the imagination though, seeing as how these sessions of dancing in the kitchen and fighting over who got to make their chocolate milk first typically happened as close as humanly possible to midnight after watching movies in PJs all night.

Don’t worry though. Amazon still has them, so these 20 and 24-year-olds can still enjoy our chocolate milk mustaches. Love and miss you so much Grammy. Today, we’re at the shop with Gramps and we’re going to the movies with him.

Love Notes

Story aboutGene Fitzpatrick

My husband Gene put sticky notes with words of love all over the house–in cabinets, drawers, etc. After he passed, I found one in a box that I’d never seen.

Thank you, sweetheart.


Story aboutMartin B. Coll, Jr.

After my dad died, I was sitting on the floor in his living room going through his wallet. Folded in half, I found a yellow post-it note with these words on it: “There is always – always – always something to be thankful for.” Even after he had died, my dad was showing me how to live my life.


Story aboutJames Vance

James was a police officer and we used the word “Always” to let each other know we were safe. If I was traveling, he would tell me to be careful and I’d reply “Always.” If he was at work, and something was bad going on, I would get a text “Always.” When getting that text, I knew he was ok and would call or message when he could. It became our stability.

Please Come Home Safe — Always
Be Careful — Always
Let me know when you’re there — Always

I Love you Always JD, I Miss you Always


Story aboutDuane Ochodnicky, Jr.

We were preparing for our upcoming wedding by attending a retreat out of town. It was February in Michigan and temperatures were extremely low. We were given the choice to stay at the center that was freezing cold or leave and come back the following day. We decided to leave and find a place to stay that had heat. Snow was coming down quickly and soon turned into a blizzard. Every hotel in town was booked, so we returned back to the center, only to find out that they had locked the doors for the night. We didn’t know what to do, so we decided that we could try to sleep in the car. Two adults in the backseat of a Dodge Neon is not very comfortable. We tried to cover up with whatever we could find in the backseat to keep warm. Magazines, newspapers, nothing seemed to do the trick. We just held each other tightly. Mostly for warmth, but also for comfort. I knew that as long as he was with me, I was safe and we could get through any situation. We often looked back on this story and laughed. It really was a good way to sum up our marriage. We went through hard times that would break most people and we got through it by staying together. We were a team.

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