“The Reason”

For you, I will play “The Reason” less often but I will never stop thinking of the look in your big sad, brown eyes after the fight with your dad. You were younger than thirteen, I think. My heart breaks for you every time I hear that song, it reminds me of your hurt and deeply saddened face.

It captures a moment in time, not all moments have to be good, I know you think they should but you will learn later in life that the bad moments teach us things as well. We get past them, we appreciate when they have passed, we learn from them.

I know you don’t like confrontation, except when you delight in starting it, your dad, will run miles to escape anything even slightly confrontational. I’d rather he yelled and screamed but his family brought him up to ” sweep things under the rug.” They don’t fight, they don’t express their feelings, they hide.

I’m so glad you and your sister have parents with different styles but I’m afraid your sister is definitely like dad. She makes dad seem like a beginner; he is emotional compared to her. There are layers and layers of this beautiful young woman and even if I try to delve inside a bit, try being the operative word, she closes up like a clam shell in a matter of seconds.

You and I wear our hearts on our sleeves, but your sister hides her emotions, I think she shows you the most emotion she shows anyone and I am so glad for that. The fact that you and your younger sister are best friends is better than winning the lottery for me, I never had that relationship with my sister. I don’t know what that feels like but I’m sure it feels wonderful. You have a built-in best friend.

When I was pregnant with your sister (or brother at the time) I swore I would do anything and everything to not have the kind of drama and angst that my sister and I have. I am not going to assign specific blame here, part of it was our parents’ fault, part our own. But, in any case, it is not a healthy relationship and seeing you and your sister together makes your dad and I so happy.

Luckily, your two cousins have a close relationship too. The four cousins loving and liking each other is incredible, growing up we had nobody. I take great joy that the cousins have each other and will always have each other. I’m sure my sister feels the same way.

When the grown-ups are gone, I know you, your sister and the cousins will be close, maybe your kids will spread the icing on the cinnamon rolls at Christmas.

We indulged this morning.

We indulged this morning. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

 

Certain memories get stuck in our brains for different reasons. Why I reacted so strongly to you sitting in your room, playing that song, I’m not sure but it is one moment I will never forget and I know you know that. Luckily, it was one of the rare sad moments of your life.

I remember more, you’re smiling face, you being the prankster, tricking your gullible mom ALL the time, your enthusiasm for food and your kind and sensitive nature. We know each others’ mood over the phone, the breath before we say “hello.” I’m here for you always, I’m sure you know that but once in a while it’s nice to have a reminder, for both of us, I’m sure.

 

 

 

 

 

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Happy 4th of July, Independence Day

English: The Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra p...

English: The Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra performing at the Hatch Shell in Boston. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Arthur Fiedler & The Boston Pops

Arthur Fiedler & The Boston Pops via last.fm

When I was growing up, every 4th of July, my family would be glued to the television set to hear the Boston Pops and to watch the fireworks burst and boom on our television set. It was a tradition set in our middle-class red brick apartment building in Queens.

We were the last family in the neighborhood to get a color television set. I had already glimpsed the wonder after seeing The Wizard of Oz at my friend’s house and still remember the feeling of awe, not knowing there was color in the movie.

My parents finally bought a color tv during the Olympics after seeing Dorothy Hamill skate like a swan at our dear friend’s house.  I “worked” for Lore for many summers in her gourmet chocolate shop, oh, I KNEW my chocolates!  She sent me care packages in college, she spoiled me but most of all, she always understood me, my fellow Libra. I miss her every day.

My dad loved to watch soccer, he would yell and scream at the television enthusiastically, you could hear him shout from any room. He also loved watching any type of ceremony: parades, marching bands and all celebrations.

Yesterday, I talked to my best friend and after and we hung up, I reached for the phone to call my dad. I wasn’t feeling sad or morose, it just seemed natural until I remembered that he has been dead for a very long time.

Fireworks July 4th Independence Day 2013 Polo ...

Fireworks July 4th Independence Day 2013 Polo Field Fort Sill Oklahoma (24) (Photo credit: HiRez Dude Colin Henderson ch@cnhender.com)Today, July 3rd,

Sometimes, I will watch a show or listen to music that I know my dad would love, it makes me feel like we’re listening to it together.

A memory just popped into my head: the first bad heart attack my dad had, had been on Father’s Day when my son was 6 months old yet he refused to go to the hospital until I was so upset I started crying.  My mom and I took him to the Emergency Room. My father’s complexion was pasty and green and I remember he was sweating but he never clutched his heart, he just felt a little unwell.

After blood tests, the young, snippy doctor told him “he was a very, very sick man.” And, he was, he needed quadruple by-pass surgery which back then was definitely out of the ordinary.

My husband and I had a six month old son that I had never been away from but I was the one who stayed so I could help my mom and be near my dad.  I hate driving in the city but being with my dad was just too important than my own fears.

Luckily, my father was able to be transferred to the city for the complicated  operation and my mom and I waited in the hospital for 7 hours.  Saying good luck to my dad right before the operation, was one of the hardest, most gut wrenching things I have ever done and I know he felt the same way. Don’t let anyone tell you NOT to cry, it’s really okay.

It felt like a hammer was breaking my heart in pieces. Thank G-d it was a success and he lived many years after that.  It occurred to me today my dad was allowed to go home from the hospital on July 4th, Independence Day. I remember making a sign for him.

Mending a Broken Heart

Mending a Broken Heart (Photo credit: Free Grunge Textures – http://www.freestock.ca)

Certainly, it was a day to celebrate.

 

 

One Ex-Hippie Trying To Say Good-Bye

Dear Fellow Aging Hippies,

It’s only my opinion and mostly it’s a lesson I need to learn myself but I think our time has come and gone, forever. It’s a tough thing to admit, believe me, I know. Maybe, it’s time for us aging Baby Boomers to finally accept it and let the new generation take over the world instead of us reminiscing about “The Beatles and Peace, Love, and Rock n’ Roll.” As special as it was for those of us in that generation it is time  all of us to move on, to look forward and not behind.

Painted Hippie Bus

Painted Hippie Bus (Photo credit: terbeck)

You’re talking to someone who has fought this for a very long time. I confess. I was born in 1956 and while I missed the really good stuff like Woodstock I still claimed fame to being a Baby Boomer and all the power the name itself implied. Sure, my kids grew up on The Beatles, CSN and Y, Joni Mitchell, Cat Stevens and the Rolling Stones but I am still playing that very same music today. Somehow it seems wrong. We are way too old for that now.Will I change my music listening preferences? Hell, no.

That’s the hard part. Figuring out what to do now. Most of us can’t retire yet, a lot of us have been laid off but still need money coming into the house, to pay many bills. How are we going to do that? We have no idea and it’s not for lack of trying either. There are no jobs around, at least for us and we will move anywhere.

My children are in their twenties, it’s their time. I don’t care if they have a special name or a title ( Gen X, Y, Z? ) but their generation is having its time now. We need to start thinking not about where to retire but how to have enough money to get through the next ten years to be able to retire if we are lucky enough to do so.

I’m not going to lie, I don’t want to move twice. These cold, harsh winters are killing me, I have a list of maladies as long as the East Coast, so I’d prefer to live someplace warm but it’s not exactly easier to find work there. We’re trapped, right where we are, unemployed, and passed over, like yesterday’s mail tossed and disregarded in a pile of junk.

English: Photograph of The Beatles as they arr...

English: Photograph of The Beatles as they arrive in New York City in 1964 Français : Photographie de The Beatles, lors de leur arrivée à New York City en 1964 Italiano: Fotografia dei Beatles al loro arrivo a New York City nel 1964 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s time for our sons and daughters to take over the world, we are the leaders no longer. They haven’t yet set us to pasture, we have a little wiggle room, but we are closer to the end then we are to the beginning. Does that feel good? No, it certainly doesn’t. The days turned into years turned into decades, flashing before our eyes as if we stood still and the world moved at a rapid pace around us.

We didn’t realize it was happening until it was over.  When you are young and married you are so involved with your young children and family and play dates and school plays you don’t have time to really hold on to those special moments for too long. Because all the moments are special. Now they are memories, enjoy them.

It’s a rite of passage we all go through. It’s how you look at life that will give you a positive or negative outlook, the choice is totally up to us. I’m not saying it’s easy. Believe me, it isn’t, but realistically we have no choice, no choice at all. Acceptance is a good way to start.

Love

Love (Photo credit: aftab.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Whisper Of Hope

English: A photo of a cup of coffee. Esperanto...

English: A photo of a cup of coffee. Esperanto: Taso de kafo. Français : Photo d’une tasse de caffé Español: Taza de café (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After the longest Winter I have ever been through, today was like an unexpected present. I woke up to the smell of hot, strong coffee and a sky of blue. The temperatures were in the high 50’s and for those of us in the North East, it felt like we were at the beach.

It didn’t even matter that the temperature was supposed to drop dramatically tomorrow, I didn’t even care. Because what we were given was a look into the future, our bedraggled souls were given a treat, a tiny word that packs a punch: HOPE.

I was able to go out and walk by myself in town, stop by a shop and wave to a friend, I noticed things that I haven’t seen, having been locked up in my bedroom for months.  A young woman with very curly hair smiled at me and I smiled back, I held the door for a very appreciative young mom with twins, she smiled her thanks, I nodded and smiled back.

In one way, having children 21 months apart seems like a lifetime ago, now they are 19 and 21. I remember back to my double stroller, heavy, blue and white where my son and daughter sat and I pushed and pushed around the corner, meeting a good friend and her daughter.

Life goes by so quickly, even for my kids, they tell me, but sometimes the days are so long.

I came home today from a lovely dinner with my husband from a text message from my best friend, saying her uterine biopsy results were negative. I stood still, I was absolutely paralyzed with joy. And, I did what I usually do, whether I am sad or happy, I cried and thanked the Powers that Be.

I left a message for my friend, I’m not sure she will understand the words but she will get the emotion, my tears well up even now when I think about it. She’s been through too much already.

Spring is around the corner, I saw a red robin today and my husband bought me red tulips that we can plant once the ground is not frozen anymore.

Thank you for this day, for waking up to a sky of blue to finding an apple scone to eat with tomorrow’s coffee, for all my blood work out of my hands and the time in-between.

For a rare glimpse of what Springs looks like if we are patient.

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Plinky Prompt: For Tomorrow, We Die.

Unidentified family, October 1951

Unidentified family, October 1951 (Photo credit: Center for Jewish History, NYC)

  • …for tomorrow we die. The world is ending tomorrow! Tell us about your last dinner — the food, your dining companions, the setting, the conversation. See all answers
  • For tomorrow, we die
  • Dining companions? Setting? Conversation?
    Be serious.
    I wouldn’t move from my living room, food would be ordered in from wherever my family wanted, loads of it. My (adult) children would be with my husband and me, our dog would be in my lap, my mother would be with us. We would not talk about the end of the world but the memories we had. We would talk about the good times, the happy times and we would not be looking at any clock. Let the world end when it does, we are holding on to each other, some hold hands, others hug. We eat good comfort food, milk shakes, champagne, anything our hearts desired. No limit. Nothing fancy, nothing different, just a lot more of it. Now is the time to coax those less inclined to talk to share their feelings, to show emotion. Maybe they would, maybe they wouldn’t. You can’t change people you just have to accept them the way they are.
    No fights, no domineering, just balance. Love, kindness, support, appreciation. To have had what we did have, together. We close our eyes together and fall asleep. We give our thanks for what was. We have no control over tomorrow.

  • *I hope whoever this photo belongs to will somehow find their way to my blog
  • so I can help to reunite them.

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)

Free Write Friday- Kellie Elmore

#FWF Free Write Friday: Image Prompt
Rhythm, a sequence in time repeated, featured ...

Rhythm, a sequence in time repeated, featured in dance: an early moving picture demonstrates the waltz. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

They tell me it was a memory I never had, but of course, I am not convinced they are telling me the truth. I am so sure I remember reaching my long, skinny fingers and stroking the soft texture of the speckled leaves on the ground. Wasn’t it just yesterday that the leaves had been vibrant dancers in, yellow, red and orange, pirouetting for us from the upper limbs of the trees, beckoning us to admire them? Our group of friends sat on the dry ground in a circle and we clapped our hands heartily for their lovely show and whistled our love and appreciation. What a lovely dance they put on for us! We talked about it at dinner at the Inn, all of us feeling so lucky to have seen the beauty of art and nature coexisting. We felt blessed.

When we awoke the next morning, after inhaling strong cups of coffee and eating our sugar dusted, apple-cider doughnuts, we headed back eagerly for the early show of the dancing leaves yet something felt different to everyone. We all felt unsettled, out-of-place. It seemed that overnight, all the glorious leaves had slid to the floor, wet, subdued, stepped on, laying on the ground, curled up and crumpled, dead, on a pile of the old, worn, rusty bridge that should have been torn down forty years ago. The bridge had no use anymore except for photographic opportunities, no cars could travel on it, people felt unsteady walking on it. It was unsafe.

You and I, darling, had danced beneath those breathtaking leaves, we waltzed over and over again but you said you could NOT remember that. Well, I remembered it, with perfect clarity of young love, breathtaking beauty, birds sweetly chirping their melodious songs, and our picnic lunch. We waltzed underneath the bright sun, many years ago. I don’t know why you don’t remember it because it is so clear in my mind and SO IMPORTANT. I don’t understand, it meant so much to us then. Please try to remember, at least something, of that magical day, for me, sweetheart, for me. You look blankly at me or am I looking blankly at you? I don’t remember much of anything at all anymore. I was young once, that I know but weren’t you too?

Come what may (Carry on Tuesday)

Old Man Grieving - Vincent van Gogh

Old Man Grieving – Vincent van Gogh (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Life can be very scary. In one second your entire world could change, blow up into tiny, little pieces. Destroyed. The world you once knew would become Before and After. Usually, unless this change is winning the 22 million dollar lottery, this does not usually occur in good situations. Am I right? In everyday life there are always tragedies that come unexpectedly,  probably things completely different from what you worried about and it never is good.

It’s called growing up. Realizing that sometimes there is fear hiding around the corner, which eery corner you have no idea but for a time it will be dark. You tend to forget about the dangers in life for brief periods of time when things go along swimmingly until something happens and then you realize “yes, it’s been quiet for too long.” As John Lennon used to sing “Life is what happens, when you are making other plans.” The unexpected, the things you didn’t plan for, the strong red slap stinging and leaving an imprint across your pale, white face.

Hold on to someone tight, a best friend, a spouse, a partner, a sister or a brother, anyone. Because, when bad things happen you will need someone who you trust and love, someone who loves you back. A person who will try to soothe you even though you think it may not help. Let them try, accept their offer to make you a hot cup of cocoa with marshmallows to comfort you A person that will make you lie down and force you to rest no matter if you can’t sleep, a person you can cry in front of alone or just someone to hold your hand and cover you in soft blue blankets.

Life is not easy, though we don’t realize that until we are older, but come what may, having someone, to share it with, makes it just a little easier to breathe because you have them and their support.  While your heart is still literally in pain and skipping beats eventually your own heart starts beating at a similar rhythm you had before. You are still alive. You will grieve your loss in your own way, take your  time and try to let your feelings out.  Mourn YOUR way. There are no steps to follow to make it easier for you.  My sister once told me after our father died, that I was “grieving too much.” I knew I wasn’t, I was just grieving louder, and expressing my grief differently than her. We also had a very different relationship with our dad. There is no right or wrong, no time limit, no book to follow.

Sooner or later, with time, you will see that while the pain never completely goes away, it becomes less potent, it happens less often and with less severity. You might even find that one day, you will talk about the loss of a person you loved with a smile of fondness and love. You might think that you had the opportunity, the blessing to love someone and have them in your life for so many years instead of focusing on them dying and leaving your life.

Just two weeks ago I held up a new pen that I knew my father would love for Father’s Day. I picked it up and smiled broadly with delight. I was on my way to the register when I remembered I had no father to give this to. Life will get better, with time, after loss. Truly, it will, I know that. But don’t let anyone tell you that you will never have any tough moments. I can’t lie to you, once in a great while, you will.