Dear Dad. Sigh. I Have No Dad. (Father’s Day 2013)

Clouds

Clouds (Photo credit: Moyan_Brenn)

Dear Dad,

I’m searching for you in the clouds as we drive along the highway, the sun-bright, the sky blue, the clouds bulbous but I don’t see a clue or a symbol or a sign. It’s hard to be without a father when father’s day is rapidly approaching, I’ve written about this for eleven years now. Do you know what? It doesn’t get easier and I thought for sure it would. All I find in the clouds are a wispy bouquet of flowers, like an all white wedding bouquet and it reminds me to be thankful that you were at my wedding. I need to look at things that way now.

I know, Mom would say “I am torturing myself for no reason” but I do need to put my feelings down on paper otherwise I just explode with sadness. It just hit me hard on the head, the other day, why I was feeling so anxious and unsettled, I had no idea why until I realized that Father’s Day was being advertised everywhere: on tv, the radio, ads, every store I walked into I was assaulted by the fact that other people had dad’s and I didn’t.

Daddy, Do you remember when you offered to pick me up from Brooklyn when mice ran across my feet and over the bed in my street level apartment?   I remember feeling so relieved, so safe, because you were always there when I needed you, you could always make things better.When I bounced my first check by accident, when I thought I had done something by mistake, you were the first one I called.

I remember that one of the first times I came to visit you and mom when I was first pregnant with your  grandson (and I had inherited your serious lack of direction,) you posed as a traffic guard with signs and all, in the middle of the street, telling me (and everyone else) where to go. I still remember my shock, surprise, amusement and  love. I will never forget that image, but I think I made up the detail that you wore an orange hard-hat.

You used to call my daughter, your granddaughter, Princepessa, and you let her cheat at games for way too long. I remember you laughing when she cheated and I  would tell you not to let her but of course you continued to do so. And, when my son slept over for the first time in your house, waking you up every hour on the hour, Mom growled and yelled but you were gentle and kind. That was your nature.

I’m watching over mom, she seems a little out of sorts, just a little down and bored, nothing serious. I had a nice lunch with her the other day and boy, she has taken over for you in the eating department! That woman can eat!!! You would be so proud. She used to eat like a bird and now, “mamma mia”, she eats a lot. While she used to complain that I was too chubby she is now complaining that I am too thin. Go figure. I can’t win. But, I know she loves me to pieces. She bought me a slice of rainbow cake for last night’s dessert, and it was yummy. I know she was trying to fatten me up.

My hubby is good to me, really, he is a great husband and father. He would do anything for me and the kids and while we are from two very different parenting styles, we’ve actually become more alike, it’s scary. We have blended together, but I guess after 24 and a half years of marriage you tend to do that.

I think about you all the time, Daddy, not just on Father’s Day but you know that, I know you do. There’s no doubt in my mind from the messages you send me. I smell the scent of your cologne, when there is no one else in the room, see the special numbers you show me, your initials…all the signs. They came much more often at the beginning and that was great, I needed that, but now I know for sure,  if I needed you,  you would be there with me. There is no doubt in my mind.

Happy Father’s Day, Daddy

You may not be on this physical earth but in my heart and soul, you will always be very much alive.

Love, Me

Also see: Father’s Day Without Fathers hibernationnnow.wordpress.com 2012

In Memory of My Father

In Memory of Zach Sobieck, Clouds

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Carry on Tuesday: My Favorite Things

Daffodills in St. James', close

Daffodills in St. James’, close (Photo credit: existential hero)

Don’t you know that it is human nature to be able to list the worst memories in your life more easily than it is to remember the best ones? Why is that? Why do we all remember, more clearly, things that we don’t like at all instead of all the things we do?  Maybe because sad things leave us scarred emotionally, we remember them because they wound us like a deep cut into raw flesh. Your skin is deeply cut, blood seeps out, you’ll probably have that scar for the rest of your life and it will remind you, forever, of what happened to cause that pain.

When I am feeling lonely or blue I try to think of peaceful things, the things that make me happiest, my favorite things: the ocean, dogs, collecting seashells while walking on the beach, the mass of yellow daffodils that come up once a year in the same place in my neighborhood. This year I only saw the start of the meadow of yellow flowers, when they barely started to bloom. It rained every day for a week after that, it wasn’t an auspicious start to summer.

It is harder for me to remember the happiest days than the worst days. There have been moments of magnificence in my life, with my husband, certainly the birth of my two children, but other than that, my head is cloudy. I can’t blame everything on Fibromyalgia,or Fibro-Fog as we call it. I don’t think I could have come up with this before anyway.

Perhaps tonight I’m steeped in self-pity, oh yes, now I know why. I just figured it out. The great unconscious, the biggest moment, months, years of grief: the death of my father. Father’s day is two weeks away. It gets to me every year around this time and every year I forget. How on earth could I forget that my father is dead? I know he is dead. What is wrong with me? Every year since his death, eleven years ago, I still go to the Father’s Day section for cards, or this year I picked up a new pen that I knew he would love, forgetting that there was no physical him anymore. I guess I will never stop doing that.

I will make a concerted effort to continue to think of past, happy, moments and will jot them down. The word “magnificent” sounds like an over-rated French movie. I’ll stick to happy but the point is, my memory can remember the pain first, the pleasure, second.

For all those women* who do not have a Father on Father’s Day, this is for you. I know how you feel, from my broken heart to yours. Do whatever you can to make your own life a little easier, a little happier, whatever it takes. Or honor your dad with a special memory or flowers, a drink, anything to help ease YOUR pain. Buy yourself some chocolate or ice cream or both. I feel for all of us, I really do.

*should say women and men

Father's Day 2009

Father’s Day 2009 (Photo credit: Paul Allison)

My Father’s Famous Sandwiches

A club sandwich (Chicken, bacon, salad, etc), ...

A club sandwich (Chicken, bacon, salad, etc), photo taken in Preston, UK — Ein Club-Sandwich, Foto aufgenommen in Preston, UK (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When I was growing up, my dad never cooked a thing. Ever. It was my mom’s “role” and we never questioned it, nor did she. Once in a while, however, he would “prepare” lunch and it would take a lot of time (A LOT OF TIME) making each one of us the perfect sandwich.

Layers of ham, turkey, cheese, washed and dried crispy iceberg lettuce, pickles. Sometimes he would serve them on trays, with flowers on the side and a few cookies for dessert. It may have taken a while before we could eat and we probably complained (which in retrospect was not very nice) but what we received was so special, each one made according to the individual’s preferences. He paid special attention to little details, everything had to be perfect. They were large, hard to eat sandwiches but they were so tasty and beautiful to look at.

My mother invited my sister to lunch today and my sister said she would bring sandwiches. Our mother’s idea of a sandwich is slapping a piece of turkey between two slices of bread. She never cared about presentation or food but Dad really did.

It’s surprising what you remember when those you love have passed, I haven’t thought of my dad’s famous sandwiches in years. I’d give anything though, to have just one more bite. It may have taken him hours to make us a sandwich but he always made them with love, great, big, love. I miss you, Dad.

Ringing in 2012

Really Not A HOLIDAY For Me

sleep

When the clock strikes midnight tonight, I hope to be sleeping, it’s not a joyous holiday for me. At 10:15pm I will be staring at the clock and remember in full detail, nine years ago when I received the call from my mom that my father had just passed away in the hospital. I was sitting on our bed, my legs crossed and I was crying, sobbing so hard I could barely breathe. My children were little then, my son was ten and he burst into tears just looking at my face and he screamed “no, no, no” and rushed into my arms for a hug. My daughter was even younger, she was eight and I’m not sure she understood what was really happening or if she did, she couldn’t handle her emotions. To this day, she keeps her emotions tucked inside of her like a well ironed handkerchief.

My husband gathered me in his arms and just let me sob. Years ago, my son told me that he thought I would sob like that forever. That’s what it felt like to him, it must have been very scary, for that I am so sorry.

I don’t think I slept that night or for many nights thereafter. If I did finally fall asleep it would be for two hours at a time and I would wake up with a start and that horrible feeling that something was terribly, terribly wrong. Then, I would remember and start crying again.

We generally go out for an early dinner on New Year’s Eve, my husband and I. Tonight we are going to my favorite restaurant “The Flying Pig” (see post) that is also closing it’s doors, forever, tonight. My son will join us for dinner and leave and my daughter will  be working there tonight. It all seems like an appropriate ending to the night, when my father died, nine years ago.

If I can’t sleep at midnight, I hope to be lying next to my husband, with his arms around me until I get tired enough that I will eventually fall into an exhausted sleep. Tomorrow will not be better either, my parents’ wedding anniversary is January 1st. I think, we will all cry together, alone, wishing for the day to pass quickly even as the moments drag for what seems like hours.

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Going Crazy Fast

Crazy Gia
I want to drop, like a rag doll, on the wet-soaked grass, kick my arms and legs, up and down and scream. Holler. Curse. I want to have a tantrum worthy of an overtired three-year old child that has had too much sugar and not enough sleep and way too many unanswered demands. No inhibitions and no one, not even “The Nanny” could try to calm me down because I can’t be talked down today, no, not today.

Things are closing in on me and I’m having a meltdown and I feel like I’m going crazy. It started as soon as I woke up way too early this morning. My seventeen year old daughter slept her day off from school while I walked the dog, purchased my cherished coffee from Starbucks and tried to absorb Vitamin D, my head pointed towards the sun on an old, run down wooden bench. The world seemed tilted left, all too much to one side, off-balance, like a triangle gone awry, unsteady.

There are those days, now far too common, when the whole day and night feel off. This evening I had a scare, in front of my dog, when she was scratching herself viciously and I felt a lump in her fur and then I couldn’t find it again. How could I not find it again? I kept looking but I didn’t feel it or see it and she looked at me with those melting, trusting brown eyes. I was ashamed I couldn’t find it again and worried so I cried a little, gave her a cookie, nuzzled her neck and she was happy. I felt only a bit better but still not quite right. I’m worried about her so I will calm down and take her to the vet next week so he can calmly examine her.

My feelings scared me tonight.  I brought home a piece of shiny, honey drenched baklava from the diner so I can drown my sorrows in sweet syrup. Believe me, yes, I will resort to that low or that high, depending on the way you look at things. I will spare no expense to body or mind to make myself feel better tonight and to promise myself a better tomorrow. I know it doesn’t always work. It didn’t help at all, there are too many issues going on at once.

I have been stuck in this one room with the whole family for three months now and the walls are closing in on me. Our house is not ready to move back in yet but closer than before; maybe all the tension is starting to release now, now that it looks like the house may actually get fixed in real time.  Maybe I am starting to breath now instead of holding it in and the anger is starting t0 come out.

I want to sleep all the time, because right after my dreadful birthday in October the clock moves straight to here, the horrible time period: my deceased father’s birthday on the 13th 0f November straight through to Thanksgiving and Christmas, Chanukah and New Year’s Eve, the night he died and then New Year’s Day, my parent’s wedding anniversary. I kick it up a notch and remember January 5th, my grandmother’s birthday (my father’s mother) and the day we buried my father. Come January 6th, deep in the winter months I can start to breathe, that is until next year. But, as an insightful person and psychiatrist once said: ” I guess every November stinks for you.”

Genius.

“Because I Am”

Black balloons

Image by stvno via Flickr

Tonight I am having a pity party for one; I am the guest of honor. You are welcome to join me but motivational speeches and happy clichés are not allowed. I’ve learned that the sun will probably not come out tomorrow, it will be cold, dark and windy just like the last few weeks. Some of my friends with chronic illnesses seem to be feeling the same way: Is it the weather?  Seasonal Affective Disorder? Pain and unhappiness? Other friends that don’t have chronic illnesses are also fed up and feeling down. I’m wallowing in self-pity and I am allowing myself to do so. Wallowing and venting are the main attractions in my self-imposed symposium.

1) Both my husband and I have been very discouraged because of the job market; he has been unemployed for a long time. He is always the best candidate, the one they love, the one they want. We get excited, euphoric even, and then the final news hits us like a tsunami: “We would love to have him but there is no funding approved for this job now” or “There’s a hiring freeze that just  started.” We plummet, like rapidly deflating black balloons.

2) I need to protect myself from future painful disappointments. While, in the past, I have tried to feel positive and hopeful,  I am now keeping my defenses up because it is too damn painful to feel excited and then let down over and over again.I am tired of feeling bad and blue and not having anything to look forward to. Yes, I have tried to be positive, I count my blessings and I list the things that I am grateful for: nothing works. A good friend of mine told me she was depressed last week and I asked her “why?”  “Because I am” she said. I now understand that completely.

4) Physically, I have no energy. I’ve been over-eating and sleeping way too much these past two weeks. I’m trying to sleep straight through to May but the chances of that are pretty slim. I stopped taking the autoimmune drug that was helping my energy level because it made my legs ache continuously and I wanted to rid myself of extra pain. This is what happens when I try to rid myself of drugs and toxins in my body. I end up asleep. I made the wrong decision.

5) The holiday season is not joyful for me. After my father died, the holiday spirit died with him. We go through the motions for the children. I’ve accepted this but each year after his birthday in November things start to go downhill fast, straight through to New Year’s Eve, the night he passed away. Why can’t I prepare myself? Why is it only familiar when it is happening again? Think of it as a long, a really long extended period of situational depression.

6) I’m having a default Thanksgiving in my house this year. My mom broke her wrist and I just couldn’t let her have it in her house. She is also depressed because of her broken bone and pain and having to be dependent on others, this affects me too. I feel bad for her. I can’t begin to talk about my self-involved sister, there is too much to say and at the same time, nothing to say. Thanksgiving is in one week, I have nothing prepared and I am both overwhelmed and underwhelmed.  I will rally for the holidays because I have to; it’s a necessity not a choice.

Let me tell you directly what I want:  Accept how I feel and allow me to have the emotions I do have. Don’t analyze, debate or criticize me. Try active listening. Help out during Thanksgiving and be kind to one another. I would truly be grateful if you could do just that.