Love Actually

She Also Loved Extra Cheese On Her Pizza

She Also Loved Extra Cheese On Her Pizza

It’s hard to explain exactly what 13 years feels like. You know how it is getting older: the days blur into weeks, and then into months, and finally into years. It feels so cliche to say, “time goes by so fast.” And yet it does, and it is. If someone had told me two, five or even 15 years ago that I would be parentless by the age of 43, I probably would have replied with a a certain amount of hubris, “no way!” Even though I’ve always known life to be inherently unpredictable, as I’ve been thrown quite a few curve balls in my day, predicting the unimaginable is never something you can really ever prepare for. So you don’t.

I’ve said to a few friends and family over the course of the last few months, that after my dad passed away, I felt an orphan-ness that I didn’t expect. Even though I have built my own independent life, and my parents were no longer “taking care of me,” the relationship we had, and their presence in my life, was a constant source of comfort and support. I admit, sometimes I took it too much for granted.

Miss you dad

Miss you dad

Well, not writing about my dad’s recent passing hasn’t made the grieving process any easier, so let’s give this a try. It’s been quite a few months. I had already been struggling to keep up with my creative goals, when on June 6, I got the call no one ever wants to get. Even though Dad had been weakened by the completion of his lung cancer treatments, we all expected a full recovery (doctors and himself included). So when he passed away in his sleep taking a nap one afternoon, it was a heartbreaking shock that turned my world upside down.

I am sure I will write more about what I’ve been thinking and feeling over the past couple of months in future posts. After all, writing can be a healing process for me. As it happens, Drew and I were binge watching Downton Abbey in late spring/early summer. It was timely when Maggie Smith’s character, the Dowager Countess, tells the oldest daughter, Lady Mary Crawley, who is grieving the death of her new husband, Matthew, “The fact is, you have a straight forward choice before you: you must choose either death, or life.” Part of what I love about the Countess is how she cuts to the truth.

So while I am choosing life, one day at a time, I couldn’t restart my blog posting without sharing the tribute I made to my dad at his memorial service. So I’m concluding this post with the eulogy I gave at Dad’s memorial service. Writer that I am, doing it didn’t come easy. Procrastination was the first challenge because I thought the longer I put off writing it, maybe it meant he wasn’t really gone. But on the eve of his service I knew I needed to put fingers to the keys and allow whatever would be to flow out. The following was my message of love and loss. I am pleased with how it turned out. I really hope Dad would have been too.

The Story of How I Met My Husband

The Story of How I Met My Husband

I never saw the movie "Sliding Doors" starring Gwyneth Paltrow, but I understand the premise of the plot line one that explores the outcomes of her life had one event happened differently. While I try not to overthink things, especially hypotheticals about life, this idea of one subtle change impacting the entire trajectory of one's life lingers in my imagination. Like pulling the lever in a pinball machine, one switch can send the ball on a whole different path.

The romantic hopeful in me believes that the Universe would have brought my husband, Drew, and I, together no matter what. But the realistic pragmatist in me says, ummm, yeah right. Considering the fact that we lived 3,000 miles apart from each other, are 13 years different in age, and (at the time) had very few reasons for our paths to cross, the fact that we actually did meet tells me I should give our romantic selves a big'ole high five.

The year was 2004. I was living in South Carolina at the time with one of my best girlfriends, Robyn. She was in college there and I was working at the local newspaper.

Being My Sister's Younger Sibling

Being My Sister's Younger Sibling

There are many first memories I have with my sister. A majority of them are from when I was five years old or younger. They are snippets of experiences that, looking back, I now realize represent the foundation of our relationship. The times I'd fall asleep with her reading me books in our parents' bed. When we play hide and seek and she'd always let me find her first. How she would reassure me when I got scared. In short, the overarching theme of our relationship then, and now, has been care. Leigh has always taken care of me, cared for me, in a sisterly-maternal way that is instinctual. It is a quality that makes her career as a childcare worker a natural fit. And made her a far better big sister than I am sure I ever deserved.

Leigh was four years old when I came along. Since my parents didn't have more children after me, I don't know what having a younger sibling is like. What did she think when I came onto the scene? To be honest I have never asked her that specific question. Maybe I should. I guess growing up I always assumed she was happy to have a baby sis. But my adult-self thinks that is probably not the case. I wouldn't blame her for feeling that way. Kids have so little control over their lives, and I'm sure my parents didn't consult her on their family planning desires. I was this new little creature that was now taking her mommy and daddy's attention away from her and onto me. It is a sibling story as common and old as time.

Missing Mom on Mother's Day

Missing Mom on Mother's Day

So yes, today is Mother's Day. And I'm wishing it was over. My mom passed away three years ago so she isn't here for me to call, hug or send flowers to. I have a lot of wonderful mothers in my life, and I do appreciate them, I really do. A part of me really feels like I should call my step-mom and wish her happy Mother's Day, but I just don't feel like it. I didn't feel this way last year, and I probably won't feel this way next year. But this year, yep, I'm abstaining from passing out some heartfelt Mother's Day love. Because yep, my heart just isn't in it. It's broken, missing my mom. And the cool thing is, that gives me comfort, because I know in my heart, my mom would understand.

Mrs. to my Mr.

Mrs. to my Mr.

I am not sure how one measures success in terms of a wedding, but if success means you wouldn’t go back and change a thing, then our wedding was a total success. As The Hubs likes to put it, all of our hard work really paid off. I think planning a wedding is a test of the union that is to become. Along the way there are expectations that have to be discussed, compromises to be made, trust to be given, and an element of surrender released with the hope that everything will happen the way it’s supposed to.