June 11, 2013
Is this what I felt like all of those February 14th I longed for a boyfriend?
This year my sister shares her birthday with Father’s Day just as she did on the day she was born. I just cannot share Father’s Day with my dad.
Going to my hometown this past weekend my father’s absence was so pronounced. This huge void.
This stream of consciousness capturing glimpse of pain that creeps up on me. And this week it will be exceptionally hard to avoid
June 11, 2013
Father’s Day is less than a week away. My first Father’s Day of hopefully many that I will celebrate with my amazing husband and our fantastic family and not my Dad. Four months after his passing I confront my first Father’s Day without Dad. I overly appreciate my fortune in creating the family I adore and remind myself that it could always be worse. And it could. I’ll take this lot, with all of it’s baggage. But it still remains a great pain. And this is my kaddish to bear.
Every year we’d don our sunscreen and hats, posing for photos in actual film.
“take another,” my dad would scream eager to use the camera roll.
And we’d go out to the strawberry field on the side of the highway doing the work of immigrant farmers who would become a significant presence in our community.
And then we’d take our bounty of strawberries home in the metal pots and plastic vegetable bags – those thin ones from the produce section – to save the cost of the cartons the farmer would gouge our family. We’d make strawberry jam, strawberry rhubarb pie, strawberry pancakes and strawberry presents. We’d load up in the car and drop off strawberries for friends. This was our Father’s Day and we went strawberry picking.
As I got pregnant and remained pregnated for three non consecutive Father’s Day we would still visit and eat strawberries.
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 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.
December 12, 2012
I used to teach at NYU. Mom was surprised to overhear. I was teaching a class preparing students to take the graduate entrance exam for their MBA. The group was mostly Hispanic and Black from lower income backgrounds who signed up for a class through a tutoring company.
On a side note, I barely admitted taking the LSAT my final year of college lest I be asked my score. Not a fan of standardized tests. But I had been tutoring one on one for the SATs and then the GREs which is a lot like the SAT. My mom joked soon I would be tutoring kids for the MCATs. I was equally qualified to tutor for the GMAT.
But I was hired. I was trained. And even though I had never tutored more than two students at once one Tuesday evening in a classroom at NYU Stern School of Business in front of fourteen students.
The tutor head had offered a rogue student to myself and others leading their own classes. The undercover student would pop in to save a stumped teacher. I declined but on the first day of class there was a surprise new student who was not affiliated with the scholarship program as the other students were. So I was a little nervous if instead he sent over a spy. Thus when we spoke I needed to confess to boss how I was late the first day.
I explained to the students how I went to the wrong building carrying these heavy text books. I tied it in to never making the same mistake again
December 12, 2012
Something silly clouds your thoughts. You could be distracted. You will make mistakes. Just make new ones.
Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it. Each misstep is an opportunity to refine manners.
I made a minor mistake that could end up costing me $2500 over the next year. It’s low enough that I could eat it, but high enough that I don’t want to – not that one ever wants to lose money. Never feels good. But it’s not a small bite. I am working on bringing it down half which is obviously twice as good as the alternative.