Marcia, Marcia, Marcia — Sharing is caring

It’s July 8th and it’s Heidi’s birthday; she would have been 50 were she here. I swear 1974 feels just like yesterday, and the 10 years since her passing, well just the blink of an eye. And yet, I have borne every single minute of the days she’s been gone.

When Heidi left us I knew we had been charged with keeping her memory and spunky spirit alive. She was so special. Heidi had many talents and she shared them whenever she could because she cared. She used them for good. Seems that’s what I’ve been working on this past decade; doing the sharing for her.

A discovery, made shortly after Heidi passed away, served as a guide … for that’s when we found a small lock box in her closet. Good thing it wasn’t locked … because it contained a folded piece of paper torn from a wire-ring notebook. It was a little worse for wear. Its blue lines were home to a list. A list of 20 things she wanted to do before she “perished.” The lines were numbered. Some had been checked off which meant “Done.” Others not.

For a decade now I’ve kept a white three-ring binder of things I felt were important to Ben and Margie … and things that I didn’t want to forget; things I wanted to make sure they knew. Things like: printed pages of posts from CaringBridge, funeral brochures, letters from friends, and also … the list.

I wanted the kids to see they were at the very tip, top of the list … her number one … “Have a baby … Be a Mom.” And Heidi was a great mom. Benjamin Thomas and Marjory Lee Alger continue to be her gift to the world. I love these smart, funny, very aware young people bunches and bunches.

Well, Heidi’s bucket list included the #16 beside which was written, “Contribute generously to community/charity.” So earlier this year, Ben and Margie chose Mourning Hope Grief Center in Lincoln to be recipient of gifts made in memory of their mom, and we decided to make Heidi’s wish come true.

Fast forward to June, 2024 … That’s when thanks to the caring and sharing of family and friends, we were able to make a $4,000 donation to Mourning Hope! We are grateful, humbled and honored to have been able to present this gift! It is beyond our wildest dreams. Rachel, of Mourning Hope, met with us early in June. She gave us a tour of their wonderful facility … what a gift it is to children, families and individuals who have lost their people. Folks like us. We spent an amazing morning there, hearing about their programs, seeing the many ways they meet people of all ages where they are in their grief journey. And when the visit was over we walked out of the yellow door signifying hope and smiled, took a picture, and put a check mark by #16.

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts … thank you for loving Heidi and embracing our family these 10 years since her passing. One of the last times I chatted with Margie I was lamenting being the 6 1/2 hours apart that we are and said to her … “If wishes were fishes …” Meaning, if they were, I would be closer! I asked if she had ever heard that phrase … she hadn’t. Her response prompted me to look up the origins of the saying I had used so many times … and turns out, it’s Scottish or maybe English.

I found an old Scottish nursery rhyme that likens wishes to fishes, by saying, “If wishes were fishes, we’d all swim in riches” which finds wishes impossible. It’s a rhyme with lots of versions like this one: “If wishes were fishes and cattle were kings, the world would be filled with wonderful things.” It’s a rhyme making fun of the absurdity of wishes, saying that if they were something simple like “fishes” we would always be able to have them come true.

So, in honor of Miss Marjory Lee I penned the following Lebanese-Scotch-Irish-Czech-German nursery rhyme which I now share with you:

If wishes were fishes and we weren’t apart, I’d see the world covered in colorful art.

If wishes were fishes and you lived much nearer, the world as a whole would seem so much dearer.

Yes, if wishes were indeed fishes my Marjory Lee, I could blink and then by your side I would be.

If wishes were fishes and they lived in a puddle, I would be there to give a big hug and a cuddle.

If wishes were fishes and my heart was light, the world would always be beautifully bright.

If wishes were fishes and I had the time, I would just keep adding on to this rhyme.

I’m bringing this offering to a bit of a pause, the reason is evident and it is because,

If wishes were fishes, my Heidi and me, would be walking and talking and filled with glee.

And if wishes were fishes and the sky always blue, the world would forever be remembering you. – marcia schlegelmilch, 7/8/2024

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