Soooo Longggg

July 28th, 2019

Over half of 2019 is, well, over, and yet I’d love nothing more than to say goodbye. Without a doubt, this has been the longest year of my life. People say it’ll be in my rear view mirror. I say, there isn’t a rear view mirror big enough for that. The freight trains that keep coming never seem to stop.

I miss my husband, I miss my friend Rob, I miss an easier life. But then, what is that?

Just exactly, what is an easier life? We all talk about it. We certainly dream about it. But what does that mean really? What is an easy life? Is it a life without tears? No, for a life without tears is an empty one. Is it a life without friends? Well, that just goes back to what I said before, an empty life.

Seeing friends die, spouses too, is gut wrenching to say the least. Who wants that? Who says yes to having their hearts ripped out over and over again? Well, strange as it may seem, given the little slice of hell of this year alone, I do. Why? Simple, I don’t want a life without friends or love.

Guarding the heart from sorrow is laughable at best and work, really hard work. I don’t wanna work that hard. Paying my bills, writing stories, that’s hard. But to shut off the heart? Please! That’s a job way beyond me. Sadly, there are those that live like that. I’ve met them. I’ve run from them too. Sigh.

I cry when I think of my friends gone too soon: Mark, Mike, Rob, my parents – ok granted they were old but still, I looked to my dad for his wisdom and now he’s gone.

In a digital world, work with me on this, I found a bunch of school friends from 51 years ago. Can you believe it? And as we have gotten back into each other’s lives, it’s like we were never apart. 51 years? Please, we were on the playground last week. Okay, so it’s the playground of our memories but that’s how it felt to talk, laugh and remember.

I really think that the easier life mentioned above is more about the life we had as kids when we played together at school. Our home lives weren’t so great perhaps, but our fun times together made everything so much easier.

As I reflect on my sorrows of this year, I tap into those carefree school days with my friends. What a boost.

Angels Among Us

January 1st, 2016

I met an incredible woman at lunch today….but before I write about our encounter, backstory.

I went to Southern California for the holidays. Not having my dad around made this time poignant. This was our first Christmas without him. Being with my family helped, we laugh allot, but mostly, it was the quiet times where I could reflect on Dad and the things I miss. Not being able to talk to him on Christmas day was a big one.

Anyway, I went to Neiman Marcus for lunch as I had a gift card to use. The view outside was beautiful; a cold, yet sunny day. And yes, I was dabbling in a little pity party, I admit.

But then this striking woman was walking by my table and I stopped her to say that I thought her outfit was stunning. We started to chat and she told me that she loved how I had accessorized. She thought I was incredible. Me, so caught up in my own stuff and this angel, complete stranger, tells me that I’m incredible. Her name was Jodi and she really lifted my spirits.

I tell you this story because you just never know how a compliment from you might help brighten a person’s day. Wherever she is, I hope she knows how great her comments were for me.

This happened on December 31, 2015. Happy 2016 to all.

Blue

March 28th, 2015

A friend, I just learned, has passed away. The shock of loss is equivalent to the amount of love poured into friendship. Good bye sweet friend.

Dad’s Back

January 16th, 2015

Whenever I put lotion on my back, I dream of the days when someone else will do that for me or, better still, when can I do that again? I used to fling my arms up and down my back without a care in the world. Now I know better.

Surgery on one side of my body not far from my left shoulder keeps that arm from moving with the freedom it once had. My other arm, no matter how hard I try, just hurts too much any more.

Oh how I hate getting older. Than I look at my dad. He’s ninety-five. He can’t walk. Lately, he hasn’t been able to do much of anything. Although now, he is getting out of the house more which is great. He needs that. A wheelchair van helps with that.

One day, a couple of years ago, Frannie, one of the workers to help my dad and step-mom, was in fact helping out my step-mom Lynne. Dad sat helplessly on the edge of his bed calling out for Frannie. I came rushing in to see what the emergency was. He was all showered, cleaned, robed, and needing to get dressed. At the time, he could still sit up. The ability to stand or walk was ebbing quickly.

He asked me, well, told me really, to help him get dressed. So bossy. But what I see now is that he was swallowing his pride in having a child of his see him naked, vulnerable.

You see, I never saw him naked growing, by accident or design, it just wasn’t happening. Once I caught him in his underwear. Banner day. Otherwise, that thing that kids go through in being curious about older people while growing up remained only a curiosity for me. My parents were giving up nothing…bathing suits aside. They were really inhibited about that kind of thing.

I, on the other hand, had no such inclinations as I ran through the house naked as frquently as I could…which often got me in to trouble. Such is the life of a ten year old. It just didn’t seem to be a big deal to me, clothed or not, so why was it such a big deal to my parents?

Now, as I go into Dad’s room, he makes it clear that he has to get dressed but the impatience in his voice dictates that it needed to happen last week. Sheesh.

There is a neat little pile of folded clothes right next to him. The underwear sits right on top. I stop for a moment and ask him about it. “Yes everything,” he replies. He’s looking right at me and I see it. It wasn’t impatience, entirely anyway. More like, helplessness.

Without another word I dove into action. In pulling the underwear up, I had to position his arms around my neck to help him stand, then, reposition him safely back onto the bed so that he couldn’t slip off; very tricky stuff.

In that brief (no pun intended) moment, I saw it. My back, my spine, his. As the elastic waste band is tugged and pulled into place on his hips (really hard to do from a sitting position) I let me hand go along his the flesh of his spine. The familiarity of it was not lost on me and I told him so. He chuckled.

Trousers, shirt, belt…real hard to do, and finally, he is dressed. Wobbly, he stands, grips his walker, and pulls, no wills his feet to move him, or at the very least, shuffle him across the room and into the next room. Eventually towards the door where he will then go outside and get into the car and be driven to a doctor’s appointment.

The spine that is his is mine. The high waist I used to complain about (dresses are the worst) is now something I revere. It was uncanny to see that, to know just how close the fruit has fallen off the tree. Epiphany.

So what can be said of this? Without my knowing it, he always had my back. I just couldn’t see it at the time and why would I? In the background Dad was always doing his thing; tying flies, being the ham-radio king, going to ball games of some kind, and forging a business.

At five I was very sick. His face told me just how bad things were. He held me as I bawled about shots and medicine. He had my back. And now, doing what I can for him, I have his.

Home Again

December 20th, 2014

I’m looking out the back of my dad’s house. Looking down the hill, the ongoing damage of the bark-beetle is evident with the dying trees. Glendale looms with its tall buildings and beyond, Los Angeles. My step-mom passed earlier this year. It feels very strange here without her.

Dad talks to me from his arm chair. He misses her. He asks if I live alone. “Yes,” I tell him. He then wonders how do I like being alone. I tell him that I don’t like it. He agrees hating it himself.

His mind isn’t what it was. His body is deserting him. Yet he wakes up every morning, is taken out of body and brought into the den. Given that he is 6’4″ this is no easy thing. But as he likes to say, “I’m still here.”

At least he still remembers me, but for how much longer? The sun room, nee the former radio room for his ham radio set up, is really warm today. Given how cool it is outside, it’s almost funny. This room is haunted with the memories of them in here doing what they did: Lynne, working at her computer, paying the bills and so forth, and dad, talking to people from around the world on his ham radio. As his family of ham friends began to die off, his interest waned. This was his passion for nearly all his life. Now it’s sports and Fox news. Sleep, when ever he can, and the much welcome phone calls of friends and family. He’s 95. And he’s still funny.

What I wouldn’t give to turn back time, with what I know now of course, and do things differently. Would that change the pang of my heart as I watch him slowly but surely slip away from me?

I’m eating too much. I’m frightened. He tells me to call him if I get lonely, but if I did, that’d be a thousand times a day. My dad, the first king of my heart, a man who always filled the door frame of every room in the house. It was an old house. Still, I see him there. And now, as I see him here, lonely though he his, he seems by and large content. That’s really all I could ever want for him.

Brave

December 20th, 2014

Sometimes I don’t feel very brave. What is that? Nature doesn’t feel brave anymore so than I do, but then, it knows no fear either. Waves crash, trees fall, thunder booms. Stars shine, the sun rises, flowers bloom and more trees grow.

I visited my dad in October. He fought in WWII bombing the enemy out of Italy into Germany. Talk about brave. Then he came home and married my mother…more bravery. Then of course he launched his own company not having a clue about win or lose. He just did it. It frightens me to think of that.

I grew up in a house with fish tanks in the den, along with hundreds of books, a piano and a sister who played (and still plays) the cello. At night, especially on Sundays, I would listen to my dad, from my bedroom, just down the hall from the den, as he watched Ed Sullivan. One time, he called me out of bed to come watch with him. How did he knew I’d love this and laugh as much as he did? How’d he know that we knew how to have fun like that? Mother wasn’t amused, but I didn’t care. I was getting away with something (being out of bed passed my bed-time…naughty) and watching tv (passed my bed-time and again, naughty.) Who knew that my dad was conspiring with Ed Sullivan just to get me out of bed for some laughs?

 

time, time, time…..

July 25th, 2014

I have wasted more time downloading, opening, oops, wrong site oops wrong app ARRGH!!! I’d like to think there’s a good story in there but really, all I want to do is throw my computer off a cliff.

Dog Hair

May 27th, 2014

My step-mom’s dog is a German Spitzer, sheds like a house on fire. Note to self, never come to house without doggie brush for clothes.

Sit Here

May 27th, 2014

I sit here after a long weekend with my man. I met extended family of his, such lovely people, such good friends to him. But now, I sit here with my dad, a WWII bomber pilot, watching war programs on tv. It’s Memorial Day, well sort of. The real Memorial Day is later this week. This is the Monday one that kick starts the summer, unofficially of course, in that federal way that many Monday holidays are now.

My dad is just stubborn enough to outlive his folks: his dad at 104, then seven years later, his mom at 105. My step-mom just passed and I know he misses her terribly. After thirty-five years, his broken heart has yet to grasp a life without her.

I sit here, listening to his sorrow as he talks about her, talks about our lives together; the road trips, the beach houses, Yellowstone, the house we grew up in. Dad says he forgets stuff, due to his ninety-four years of living. Dad says he raised pigeons on Milan Avenue, South Pasadena. I love little stories like that. I know he’s forgetting things and it makes my heart stop. I don’t want him to forget me. Our road trips, our home, our lives together. I don’t want him to forget that we fought, made up, fought again, made up way better than that.

So I sit here hoping for more stories, waiting for more baseball war stories and more stories.

Time, time, time…..

March 5th, 2014

Why is it that when I write here on my wonderful blog site that upon further review, my last entry was, you know, last year? Sheesh!