Thursday, February 23, 2006

Never can say goodbye

My sister sent me some photos of my niece last night and suddenly, I felt every one of my 33 years, 8 months and 4 days. She's 13? She's in junior high? Already? This happens pretty frequently now. My nephew is eight. My brother has his own brood of four, ranging in age from 23 to 13. Why am I so startled by it? Simple. I'm no longer the baby of the family. I have a degree, a mortgage and some gray hair. Don't get me wrong, I don't want to go back in time. The now is great, I wouldn't change a thing. Ok, I would change one thing.

It's been two and a half years since my dad passed away. I think about him every day. I can't watch a baseball game without him, certain types of music will bring him around, in my dreams he's always at his best: healthy, laughing and real. I do my best to cope with missing him, but today was a hard one. I went to the funeral of a colleague's parent. It's hard to see someone else go through
losing a parent and not relive your own loss. At least, for me, it is.

As funerals go, my Dad's was awesome. He would have loved seeing all those people together. It was standing room only and it was a testament to the kind of person he was. Business associates, lodge brothers (he belonged to three, all involving fezes, swords and other strange accoutrements), his childhood friends, his children's friends. The folks from the Senior Citi (that's how my mom says senior citizen center) literally came by busload. It was overwhelming at times, I hadn't seen a lot of those people since I was a teenager and they all had stories to tell. Stories I'd never heard about his life in Cuba, stories I was too young to remember about when I was little, stories that people could barely finish telling because they were laughing too hard. I felt like learned more about him in the week before he died and at his funeral than I learned the whole time he was in my life, which is sad in a way. I treasure these stories. I can't get enough of them. My sister and brother tell the kids stories about their "Papi", who he was and how much he loved them. There are pictures of him all over all our houses. I have a lot of my own stories, some of which have only recently come to the surface of my memory. My mother told a couple at Thanksgiving that I had never heard. She'd had a couple too, that always helps. OK, she'd had five.

I can deal with the fact that one of my nieces will be taller than I am in matter of months and another is already four inches taller. I am ready for the phone to ring and for my sister to regale me with stories about mothering teenagers. I'm even preparing to embark on some home renovations and get an IRA. So, I'm not the baby anymore? I'm OK. I'll always be my Daddy's girl and I wouldn't change a thing.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

:)

Anonymous said...

Ok...so your Night Owl sister (birds of a feather) is sitting here crying. Why because my friend Barbara who lost her Mom last year sent me an e-mail telling me about how it would have been her parents 47th anniversary & so I replied..."As for Pipo, I'm sure it was hard on him, every birthday, every anniversary, every "special" day will be hard on him, so will the not so special days, as it will be for you & Tommy. Sometimes I find myself crying for no specific reason. I wish I could tell you it gets easier, but it doesn't. However, I try to focus on all the things that made them special & all the good times & the laughter that they brought us. I talk to him all the time & whenever I dream of him, and it's often, I see him young & healthy & laughing. Only once did I dream of him where he was in his pajamas & sick & the weird thing was that Chris called me & started telling me about the dream she had & I finished it for her, we had the same dream on the same night. WEIRD!!! The dream that brought me peace was a dream I had about a month after he passed away, he was about in his 40's, chubby, hair not as gray. Had on a gray sweater & black slacks, big smile on his face & walking into my grandmother's house in Cuba, his friend Guapachichi (remember him?) had his hand on his shoulder & inside the house waiting for him were my grandmother (his Mom) and my Uncle Quecho (his brother)...I knew then he was fine & he was "Home". Then I came to terms with it...although I already was. This brought me peace. I am sure Mimi is FANTASTIC looking all fabulous drinking a Corona with him & laughing...they are no longer sick & suffering. We are the ones left behind, missing them but having GREAT memories & the wonderful legacy (our children) to carry on & pull us through."

So, I was weepy & now I'm crying...I should start my own damned blog. It's very therapeudic, if only I knew how.
Love you!
Ia

Anonymous said...

Oh geez. Finally got here after much confusion over blog - blogies? if that's even a word. Wondering why people want to blog and if I would ever consider such a thing. Then I read this one. Now I know. So beautifully written, that I'm sure your Pop would be proud. And ... la's comments to top it off. How wondrous to have had the same dream. How lovely to have had your Pop in your life. I would have liked to meet him. Thanks for writing this!!