Thanksgiving- The expression of gratitude.
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.
FALL IN THE DESERT…start of season.
Fall in the California desert. Fall means season has started and all the snowbirds are returning. The scalping of the lawns begins. The start of 9 months of near picture perfect weather-we do not talk about those ugly summer months of triple digit temperatures- fall turns into winter and let the games begin!
My papa loved it here in paradise, especially the start of season. Sitting outside on the patio with our cocktails watching the golfers begin the season. Welcome back parties to all the seasonal residents, Oktoberfest, hiking, social events, twilight golf and the splendor of all the desert offers.
When I think of fall, I immediately think of Charlie Brown and the Great Pumpkin. Of course, Halloween is all about fall. The smell of burning leaves, even though we do not burn leaves here in Southern California-not a good idea, can you say October fire season! Carving pumpkins and roasting the pumpkin seeds. As kids, we waited for October to arrive. We carved the pumpkin and then roasted them in the oven with my Mom by our side supervising. The smell of scented candles in my house; pumpkin being my favorite scent for fall. Chilly fall mornings and perfect weather in the evenings.
This weekend was the first time in 4 years I brought out the fall decorations in my home. With me spending so much time at my parent’s house these past years, due to Papa’s illness, I never really saw the point of decorating my house. I knew my mom would bring her fall decorations out, so at least I was able to enjoy hers.
In missing my Papa, I thought to myself, he would have loved me following through with my fall decorations this year. You can never have enough candles. Papa always would laugh when I went around the house every night lighting candles. He used to say, “I think your candle crazy.” Therefore, here is to you my dear Papa. The smell of pumpkin candles are for you.
|Definition: deep sorrow, esp. that caused by someone’s death
Is grief good? I have not figured out the answer to that million dollar question… as of yet. It’s been approximately 1 1/2 months since the passing of my Papa. The grief is STILL palpable and seems as though it will never end or at least lesson.
Everyone grieves in their own way. Some outwardly weep daily, some feel anger, while others become introverted with their feelings of loss and may not express grief in public or with others. No one way is the correct way to express grief. No one person has the exclusivity on grief. All ways of grieving need to be recognized.
The question of the day; will the grief really ever end. Or will a band-aide just cover up the deep wound? I’m not sure at this point. I have been told by others who have experienced a loss of a loved one “it will get better, missing them will always be there.” To me, that does not sound like much of a trade-off!
Yesterday the marker (headstone) was placed on my dear papa’s grave. Knowing it was being placed made it all too real and final…as if the funeral did not do THAT! Next weekend I will go visit Papa for the first time. Hoping to find some peaceful closure.
So is grief good? Intellectually, I understand the body must release all the intense emotion in some form. My heart however, tells me something very different. Is the saying “time heals all wounds” true? Not sure…
The loss of a loved one is truly heartbreaking, Anyone have any words of wisdom? Anyone?
Heaven Has A Hell Of A Guy!
July 5th I lost my beloved father to stage 4 Bladder Cancer. He was such a tenacious fighter. This December would have been 4 years of battling this horrific cancer. He did it with such grace and dignity. He passed at home with family all around him surrounded by things that made him happy. While preparing for his upcoming services, I had the task of calling his long time business associates, friends and family. At first I dreaded this daunting task.
By the end of the 100th call, I found that I was in such a better place. The conversations I had with his business associates were so amazing. I heard over and over that they never met a kinder, upstanding, loyal, smart and classy man. I must have heard the phrase ” he was a hell of a guy” 50 times or more. I found myself laughing about stories they were telling me on the phone. People were actually honored and looking forward to being part of his send off to Heaven.
Even though it is a great and tragic loss for our family, friends and his business associates, Heaven has received a hell of guy! Will see you in heaven. Save me a seat next to you and we can have a vodka on the rocks and listen to Louie Armstrong’s record, “”What a Wonderful World over and over and over like old times. Love you forever Papa.
It is true what they say… love heals. Meet Angora the newest member of my family. Angora is a mix of Yellow Labrador Retriever and Golden Retriever. I adopted her 1 week ago from an organization in Oceanside, California called Canine Companion’s for Independence.
Angora was being trained as part of the companion program to assist people with all types of disabilities-excluding the blind. Angora was released from the program for a minor issue. She is sensitive to fireworks and car backfiring noise. I had been placed on the adoption list for dogs who do not make the program and need to become a family pet.
The call could not of come at a better time for me. It had been since March that I lost my beloved Abigail. My heart needed repair very badly. I got the call and was advised I needed to come meet her in Oceanside (2 hour drive) as soon as I could possibly get down to the organization. I jumped in my car and picked up my sister and we were down there in two hours flat!
Upon arriving the organization gave me a detailed background of her life and history. After briefing me I was asked ” do you want to meet her?” I watched with anticipation for the staff to bring her down the hall. I heard my sister say “Oh my God you are going to love her.” One glance at Angora and I was sold! She drove home in the car with us like she had been in that vehicle 10 thousand times before and with such excitement in her eyes.
Abigail will never be replaced. However, Angora is love…and love heals.
Paws and Reflect.
Last week I lost a family member. I had to make the horrible and sudden decision to put my 14 year old Lhasa Apso down. Abigail was my faithful companion for the last 10 years (4 earlier years with my sister). She was my furry baby, my child, my best friend. Abigail was non-judgemental and showed me unconditional love…she loved me for me!
Since her passing on March 26th, I’v had time to paws and reflect. As a single person with no children, we tend to replace such voids with the love of an animal(s). She became my child and I treated her with respect and with the best care possible. While it was the most devastating choice to put her down, I knew it was the right choice (contemplating the hard choice) while late into the early morning hours at the VCA Emergency Room. Her sudden seizures had debilitated her so badly; her quality of life was poor at best. Since putting her down, I have had even more time to silently paws and reflect.
Those who are not animal lovers (dogs in particular) are truly missing out in my opinion. The kindness and selflessness an animal brings out in an owner is truly a remarkable thing. Just like a child; animals are a huge responsibility. Dogs (unlike cats) depend on you for everything. Being a cat owner as well, I can tell you cats are very self-sufficient. I always tell non-dog owners the attention and time needed for a dog is crazy…but well worth the return on time and investment of the animal.
Abigail was a retired Animal Therapy dog with two local agencies. She spread her love at senior homes, hospitals, hospice, schools and kids reading programs. She wagged her tail proudly while she was wearing her animal therapy dog vest. She loved walks, polo games, coffee shops, hot dogs, belly rubs and loved sitting in the sun on cool spring mornings and sitting by the warm fire on chilly nights. She waited for me at the hall door and waited for me to give her the sign for bed. She gave kisses for NO reason. I know there must be a very special place in heaven for her. I am just now finding her hidden rawhide around the house. I miss her so very much… my heart actually aches. I will soon receive her ashes back. My decision of what to do with her ashes will not be taken likely by me. She gave her all to me and I will do the same for her. Mommy loves you always Miss Abigail. see you in heaven!