Posts Tagged ‘family’

Room for Two In Heaven


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On January 16th we lost our mother a short 18 months after my father. We were not expecting her to pass…as a family we were caught off guard. My mother did an admirable job of trying to continue on with her life after my dad died. Although, her heart ached for him everyday. On Monday we will say our final goodbye to our mom. Dad awaits her in heaven with loving arms. Room for two in heaven.

Anniversary


Anniversary

an·ni·ver·sa·ries
The annually recurring date of a past event, especially one of historical, national, or personal importance:

Hard to believe on July 5th it will be the 1 year anniversary of my father’s passing. People always say “It seems like yesterday.” Well I have to tell you these past few weeks leading up to the anniversary date feels like deja vu. The emotional events all come streaming back to your mind so vivid and clear.

Last weekend was Father’s Day and we made a trip to Orange County to visit dad’s grave. My two siblings were able to visit the grave earlier in the week to pay their respects. My sister sent over a text with a lovely photo attached showing the flowers she placed on his grave. The next day my brother sent a text from his visit. While viewing his text an unexpected roar of laughter came from my mother and myself. My brother had placed sports items on the grave that my dad loved so much. My dad loved sports! He particularly loved basketball, baseball and golf. My father was a talented basketball player in his younger days. He was honored to have played on the Mt. Carmel Catholic High School CIF Championship Basketball Team.

Oh how we laughed when we saw all the items strategically placed around his marker. There was even a golf hat from St. Andrews in Scotland placed on the site. We always harped on dad to cover his little head from the sun. My brother signed the hat with a personal sentiment. My brother polished his grave (along with other family members buried in the same location).

Mom and I were to visit the grave on the next day, which was Father’s Day. We thought of bringing flowers however, my sister had covered that for us. My brother had covered the sports…or so we thought! There was one missing item to be added to the grave. A USC honorable mention! My nephew Ryan was placekicker for USC during the championship years of Bush, Palmer, Leinart. Oh dad loved this time. We attended all the local games here in Los Angeles and dad yelled from his living room chair on the away games. So mom and I came up with one item to be added to his grave. Again, strategically placed at the top of his marker is a photo of his grandson Ryan Killeen in motion kicking! FIGHT ON USC!

Mom and I walked away smiling! I looked over at mom and said ” you know dad’s actual anniversary is on 4th of July weekend, how can we top this?” Mom said, ” you just wait!” Love you and miss you dad.

Change…Good or Bad?


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Change…Good or Bad?

Noun-the act or instance of making or becoming different. 

February will be 7 months since my Dad’s passing. So much has changed for our family. My Mom’s life has of course the most dramatic change. Watching my Mom go through all the changes to her life, made me seriously ask the question “Is change good or bad”?

Due to my Dad’s passing and all the sudden changes that come with the loss of a long time spouse of 58 years; Mom has experienced so many “firsts”. First time sleeping alone in a house. First time eating alone in a restaurant. First time attending a social event alone. First time experiencing the holidays alone. First time cooking for “one” person.

Watching my Mom navigate through all of these “firsts” has been like watching a new puppy learning to walk. So proud! In reality, they really are NOT “firsts” for my Mom.  Of course, over my Mom’s 84 years she has experienced all of the above mentioned “firsts” as young woman maturing. However, after such a long marriage; they surely do feel like true “firsts. Mom has handled all of this with grace and dignity. While Mom has good days and bad days…change seems to be making her and even stronger person. Not everyone can accept, handle or adapt to change. Some just manage…Mom is blossoming into an even stronger human being. Wonderful to watch!

 

 

 

Thanksgiving- The expression of gratitude.


Thanksgiving- The expression of gratitude.

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Thanksgiving will be a tough day for my family this year. Missing the patriarch of our family will leave a void of monumental proportions. We as a family have decided to move forward with our traditional Thanksgiving feast in spite of the absences of my dear papa.

I have many feelings regarding the upcoming day:

You CANNOT recreate past memories, you can only remember the old ones with fondness.

You CAN create new memories.

Miss the person deeply who is not present; however do not mourn their absence in constant pain.

Give thanks for having the memories of the person.

We will raise a glass and toast you dear papa on Thanksgiving Day.

We will Live, Love and laugh.

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Remember Our Troops This Holiday Season



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The Holiday Season is upon us once again. Another Christmas with our American troops still deployed in the Middle East. I wonder, will the American people ever see all our  troops home? The 2012 election year was filled with so much hate, divisiveness and political bull-crap; I thought it would never end. Every time I turned on the news it was one of the Presidential Candidates campaigning about the war in the Middle East. Each candidate promising they would be the one to bring all of our troops home by a certain deadline.

Honestly, the troops really are no closer to being home for this Holiday Season or any other in the near future. While the economic situation in our country is abysmal, I am sure our troops would rather be back in their own country during the Christmas Season sharing it with their loved ones. Regardless of our economic crisis. The chance to be with their loved ones would be a dream come true.

I do what I can to say “Thank You” and show appreciation to our troops. My donation to the USO several times a year and other giving opportunities often times feel so insignificant. I wish I could do more for these brave people who serve our country and sacrifice so much for us all. 

We all get caught up in our daily lives and tend to forget we have American troops out there fighting for our freedom and the rights of others in foreign countries. These are special human beings who are willing to sacrifice above and beyond. I often catch myself complaining about small issues and my mind immediately goes to our troops in the Middle East. Gosh, am I really complaining about a small inconvenience? This is when I stop…breathe! I take a moment to realize just how really blessed and fortunate I am in life.

We all need to give thanks and remember our troops this Holiday Season.

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Bald Is Beautiful…


This past month I had the dreaded task of taking my papa to his barber and requesting his head be shaved, due to his ongoing chemotherapy treatments. My mom asked I take him, she was not sure she would be able to keep her composure. Oh how I was dreading this, trying to put on a smile as we drove silently down the street to his local barber shop. 

Upon walking into the barber shop I quickly noticed the mood was upbeat; it was your typical old fashion barber shop where all the men hung around in over sized chairs … shooting the bull. Oscar (my dad’s barber) greeted my papa at the door. Oscar said, “What are we doing for you today Ed?”  Papa replied, “we are shaving it off.” Oscar sat him down and let papa know it was not his first time doing this procedure. He had other clients who were cancer patients. He let my papa know he was in very good hands.

I felt my eyes watering up as his barber took the first shave of hair off the back of his head. I quickly pulled myself together. I knew if my papa saw I was upset, he would be too. Suddenly the barber said “see that dog over there laying down next to the guy, that dog sings you know?’ Oscar quickly made one little howling sound and the dog started his operetta solo. We all broke out in laughter. That’s when I knew it was going to be alright.

Without missing a beat, I said to my papa, “you look like Uncle Fester from the Addams Family TV Show. All you need is a light bulb in your mouth.” Papa replied “ha-ha-ha you’re so funny.” I tried to get him to place a light bulb in his mouth and let me take a photo of him … that was a BIG NO!  I said, “you know papa there are many handsome men who were bald … actors Yule Brynner, Telly Savalas, just to name a few. Lets not forget Mike Meyers as the famous “Dr. Evil.”

You can’t help but place your pinky finger to your mouth and utter the line “One Million Dollars!”  I could have broke out into character from “The King and I” and repeated etc … etc … etc. Or a Kojak famous line “who loves ya baby?” But I held THAT back. The more famous bald men I pointed out the more I laughed. All the sudden I found the situation not as “doom and gloom” as perhaps I first anticipated. I looked at papa and said “you look pretty handsome, nice shaped melon.” The barber turned my dad’s chair around, so he could take a closer look at his new hair-do in the mirror … or lack of one! Papa replied “Oooh my God.”

I quickly pointed out to my papa he now has the chance to wear his beloved USC cap more often. I could not wait to get him home so mom could get a glance at her bald beauty. Mom saw us walking up the from the driveway. 

The door opened and mom broke out in a huge smile. Mom said “oh my you look so cute.” She immediately kissed his cheek. Mom admitted to being nervous about taking dad to have this done. But upon our arrival back home she felt relieved. My mom went to the bathroom to get some sunscreen for his head. She started smiling as she was rubbing his shiny little head with sunscreen; I knew then we were all OK. Funny, never in a million years did I ever think I would be taking my papa to have his head shaved due to chemotherapy treatment. Life is strange sometimes. I guess it is true what they say, who are “THEY” anyway?? Some of the hardest life experiences make for some of the best memories.” Remember Bald Is Beautiful!

Does Heaven Have An Address?


DOES HEAVEN HAVE AN ADDRESS?

With this Wednesday, September 5th, comes my dad’s third Bladder Cancer surgery. The most recent and unfortunate news that his cancer metastasized further, felt like a bullet to the heart. We (as a family) have done everything humanly possible to try to stop the spread of this destructive illness.

Sitting in my parent’s house discussing the next plan of attack to destroy the cancer; my father with a calm voice looked over at us and uttered these profound words “Does heaven have an address and if not … how do you get there?” My mother and I let out a small nervous chuckle. Without missing a beat my mother responded. “Well, when it is your time to go to heaven you will feel it and you will know it’s time. You will not be asked to go to heaven until you have completed your journey in life.” Dad laid back in his comfy chair; perhaps to contemplate if his journey in life was complete.

After leaving my parent’s house that evening, I spent the rest of the week trying to figure out just how I felt about the journey to heaven. I do believe that your soul goes to a much kinder place after death. But do I know it’s a place called heaven? I was raised Catholic as a child and I still attend Catholic mass today; but now on my terms. I have always been more spiritual than religious. I often think I could easily practice Buddhism. Approximately 300 million people practice Buddhism; which makes it the fourth largest of the world’s religions. I truly believe in Karma, the law that every cause has an effect, i.e., our actions have results.

However, attending Catholic mass with all its pomp and circumstance, brings me back to my childhood. A time and place where I felt safe. I sometimes worry because I do tend to lean more spiritual than religious, I might be shown the long, wet and windy road to the afterlife. Gosh I hope not … I might just stick a pair of galoshes and some Dramamine in my afterlife luggage!

With my dad’s operation looming this week, I will be searching for my true faith. Whether I pray to God or meditate (meditation a yoga practice I dearly love) and call on Buddha for enlightenment … I will be searching. Does Heaven Have An Address?

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