May 9, 2013
I know to count my blessings. Even the author of the Happiness Project says that people who do so are happier, yet she does not.
I am healthy.
I have a healthy family including three amazing healthy children and a really amazing husband who loves and supports me.
I have two healthy siblings with whom I am very close. I happen to have both of my grandmothers but, and it is a big but, I do not have my parents.
I tell myself I am lucky that I have had such wonderful parents for as long as I did, and after fulfilling their mission on earth they had to leave. Their departure, which always comes too soon to a child was necessary to push me forward into my lifetime purpose.
What my life’s purpose is, I’m not entirely certain but I have some ideas gleamed from watching two of the people I love most in the world depart.
1. To be an honest mother wife and friend.
2. Teach tzedukah or charity
3. Be a smart and cognizant business woman who enjoys her work and its results.
4. And to have as much fun as possible without harming or compromising anyone especially my family.
With humility, I think I am doing a great job. I expect more challenges and obstacles to surface, as they do in life but most importantly I know I am going to be okay.
having lost two parents in very different ways I’ve come to accept that nobody gets out alive. Every life has a beginning and an end. Seeing my father’s end, surrounded my family telling jokes and reminiscing of happier moments is not an awful way to leave the world, something we all inevitably do. And on my death bed I want to be with my family telling funny stories and remembering our great adventures.
April 19, 2013
The other morning my five year old was difficult the entire fifteen minute walk to school. She was filled vitriol as her two younger brothers rode in a stroller. Lots of “I hate you”s and insults non stop.
When I picked her up at school I commented on how she was in a better mood. ”Doesn’t it feel better to be happier.”
She replies. ”Yes. But I still hate you.”
A moment later she tells me she’s joking.
April 19, 2013
I finally get the last word with my parents.
They have been the one constant throughout my life and now they are not here, at least not in the physical sense. I can smoke a joint in my backyard and talk to them. I know they are proud of me, as a mom, a wife, a woman, a businesswoman.
Life appears more imminent. I have an acute awareness of the finality and uncertainty of it all. My only guarantee is death.
None of us make it out alive.
i try to focus on how fortunate I am with an amazing husband and three healthy kids. I know I will be okay. I know this raw wound now encompassing the wound from losing my mom will not remain this vulnerable.
It really hurts. This is a club that we should all join. My rabbi is honoring the yertzeit of his daughter this week. My rabbi who misses my father as much as my siblings and stepmother do. I have a choice now more than ever who to incorporate in my life and how, My stepmother will stay. Who I once considered my stepfather but now regard with less familiarity is in a peripheral role. I’m making less effort in some friendships and investing in relationships that reciprocate. Like that of my crying 15 month old.
February 22, 2013
It seems like an obvious polite question to ask, yet also so ridiculous at the same time. The nurses at Sloan Kettering while treating my father in palliative care would ask and he’d tell them how much he hated the question. His health was not improving, in fact it was rapidly deteriorating. One doctor did not think he would survive 24 hours. Other than that Mrs. Lincoln how was the play?
Lots of people do not know what to say to me. Some say nothing and many just ask how I am doing. Well let’s see. I lost my father. I have no more parents left. I’m depressed and feeling a bit flabby. I’m irritable and yell at the kids more than I’d like.
I’m tired of being told how strong I am. If my strength comes from losing my parents I’ll take meek and have my folks.
I just returned from a wonderful family vacation in the Caribbean a perfect antidote for the blues. And for six glorious days I did not cry. I
was am still mourning but was able to do so in a most luxurious way and for long stretches I was able to forget about my loss. Upon returning to New York I listened to several kind voicemails asking how I was doing during this dreadful time and poof! I’m back to reality remembering this massive void in my life.
I’ve been through this before so the process is familiar. I know I will survive and the pain will cease to be this acute. Time is a great cure and now I must endure this stage of the grief.
But oh how I long to drown it out. To drink and smoke. To be debaucherous. To feel something exhilarating. To be one day closer to a pain-free day.
February 10, 2013
Returned home tonight after being gone for a week. I wish I was on a fancy vacation or even a rustic adventurous one but I wasn’t. After a few nights in the ICU at a fancy cancer hospital uptown I waited for my father to take his last breath. A service in Manhattan was followed with a burial in his hometown of Minnesota by his brother who passed away rather suddenly last year and then to my dad’s most recent residence for more shiva.
I sit there and can analyze some things.
Nobody gets out alive
Nobody. No matter when you lose a parent it is hard. I should feel grateful that my dad was not in pain. His last days were filled with loved ones sharing memories and telling jokes.
My dad beat the statics and for the most part had a great quality of life since his diagnoses. As his doctors said, eventually cancer wins.
You get what you get and you don’t get upset
This slogan that parents tell toddlers reminds us that life is unfair. I should be lucky I’ve had the wonderful parents I have for as long as I did. My dad and I had our nonsense but we got past that and had a great relationship and lots of laughs.
The pain will dull.
Unfortunately I’m an expert at mourning a parent having just done this four years ago. When my mom passed I did not know how I could go on. Now I know what lays ahead. I know I’ll be okay and his absence will feel more normal.
The pain is acute now and I’m in a bit of a daze. It all feels so surreal. I saw some of my husband’s text messages to his brother about how worried he is for me. Personally, I’d say that my siblings and I are handling the tragedy remarkably well. I wish I could just fast forward the next month.
It’s supposed to hurt
If losing a parent was not painful, then something would have been missing from our relationship.
It’s the right order
Every child should be so lucky to bury their parents. Of course I have two grandmothers now for whom this cycle was broken.
In the interim, I try to focus on my kids and husband. And life goes on. And this will define me. And I am certain I will falter and cry. And I do have a Caribbean getaway awaiting me next week that was planned months earlier. I suppose i should be grateful that my father’s passing did not interfere with those dates.
January 25, 2013
I am an optimist. Sometimes to the point of naivete.
Before I began this post, I reviewed the titles of previous posts one of which was Don’t Make The Same Mistake Twice. I don’t remember that mistake, but I find myself repeating the advice.
I’m trying to remain optimistic while being honest with myself – another axiom I preach.
My dad is really sick. I’ve known if for some time during most of which he enjoyed thoroughly. He was not in too much pain but I knew he was frail. And then he got frail. And frailer. And I’ve been scared.
I hold out hope that he will get strong enough to receive more drugs with the hopes the tumors will shrink. The lymph nodes go down. The blood flows back through his legs so swollen they are not moved.
A part of me believed that, and I’m not sure if a part of me still does. Would it be easier to say it’s gonna end as we always knew it would and begin the goodbye process. Do we talk about executors and executrixes and make the five year deposit into the grandchildren’s college funds.
The doctor said to me, “we’re grasping at straws” before leaving.
I know my dad. I know how strong he is. I know he beat this before. And came out with a great quality of life. And perhaps will just have bursts of that, but we’ll take it. He is stable now. They did a successful procedure today and are now stopping the blood thinners. I made him soup for tomorrow. He’s going to get out of the ICU and into a room on another floor. My sister and cousin will come in this week.
And life goes on.
Whoever has the most fun wins.
January 2, 2013
I love my husband and do not want to do anything to jeopardize our relationship.
Any fantasy I have of me and another person, after more consideration is less appealing.
So when I found myself sitting next to a young guy at a bar asking questions I smiled and ordered a drink. He was young, a little nervous and when his friend showed up he lost his focus – the concentration gone.
It was a rough night. I was asking the bartender to blend fruit for my father upstairs because it was so uncomfortable to chew. I had engaged an emotional survival tactic hit of grass earlier and remnants of my earlier high lingered. Then when the bartender offered me a drink and a preppy kid who finished swimming laps encouraged me to order, I found myself drinking a vodka soda while the blenders were cleaned to smooth my dad’s fruit.
I omitted references to my husband and three kids because why not, for one drink while my father fighting his cancer laid upstairs in his bed awaiting pureed watermelon, while my kids with whom I was able to spend time at their school holiday parties were being bathed and fed by the nanny could I not engage another person with trivial facts and pretend or hope or pretend to hope that a possibility exists for more fun outside the bar? To grasp hope for one moment and fantasize how the little shared details might affect the future together.
The giddiness appeal to me, feeds the ego. But the end goal of all excitement and unknown is to end in a relationship like the one I already have with the man I love and who loves me unconditionally. A great father husband and soulmate.
Since I’m not looking for more, I’ve granted myself permission to flirt. To pretend there could me something more. But i know that the fantasy of another person is infinitely more attractive than the reality and all of the consequences that accompany that transgression.