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Monday, October 27, 2008

End of Traditions?

I can't believe its been over a month since I posted here. I've felt like a chicken with its head cut off - not really sure what direction I'm going, or where I'm trying to get to. I've been concerned about my youngest sister and my mom. Sometimes I forget to think about me. A couple things have hit me the wrong way lately and I'm still trying to figure out how to deal with it.

I suggested to my Nana the other day, that we should go to one of our favorite resturaunts before her knee replacement surgery. I asked her if she would want to go to Cozy's. She said "No, it was too far to go now." Then my other sister whispered, "I don't think we've been there since dad passed away. Have we?" The whole thing just made me want to scream. Its as if the traditions we've had for the last 30 years have now been thrown out the window, or we now feel like we need to talk in hushed tones about dad and the things that remind us of him. Who cares if we haven't been since dad passed? Why should that stop us from going now? He wouldn't have wanted us to just stop everything that we've always done, since many of those traditions he helped create.

We also haven't set foot in Lancaster, PA in a few years - namely, Willow Valley. I asked last year if we could go as a family - no one seemed to be on board. We have spent every summer there for the last 25+ years. Why should that change because it would remind us of dad? Isn't that a good thing?! I guess I'm falling prey to the "oldest mentality" that my father and I both seemed to share. We want to keep things together - keep family close - create memories together - carry on traditions. Yet, no one seems ready or able to get on board with me. Its just frustrating and sad to me.

I know we all grieve our own ways. There is no time limit on grief; but I know for a fact that dad would NOT have wanted us to feel like we couldn't be happy anymore. He would want us to do the things we've always done as a family - and remember him! I feel like, sometimes, we are just supposed to forget. No one seems to want to share good times, good memories - everything is hush, hush. He wasn't part of the mob - he didn't die under mysterious or shameful circumstances. He had cancer. He fought hard; but this time we all lost.

I am so tired of feeling like my family feels like they are ashamed of their grief. My family, as a whole, are not big talkers; but I think that is exactly what we need in order to get through these awful times with our sanity somewhat intact. We are not all fragile pieces of china. We shouldn't be afraid to talk about things - for fear of someone not being able to handle it. If they can't handle it, they can voice it; but that doesn't mean that others can't discuss things. I feel like my mom is very sad, maybe even feeling alone and I don't really know how or if she would want me to help. Mom is a fairly private person, and I can appreciate that, but we are family. We should be able to call each other and say, "you know what, this really sucks! I'm pretty angry!" Or whatever he/she wants to say about it. There are no censors here! There shouldn't be anyway.

I don't know - it just hurts and it hits me at more odd times then others. The final straw was this afternoon. I looked inside the trunk of my car, that had been at my mom's for months. I was going to take some things to goodwill and thought I might have had some things in the trunk ready to take before. When I opened it, I saw bags, labeled - all dad's things. I wanted to scream. Not because I felt mom shouldn't have cleaned out her closet; but more because I didn't want to give away these things. I just shut the trunk - I will go through bags this week and pull out things I want to keep. I hope some of them still smell like him.

The feeling was similar to what I felt when mom finally was able to disconnect dad's cellphone. I had been calling my dad's phone nearly every other day, just to hear his voice. One day I called it and got a recording about the phone number being disconnected. I cursed, I screamed, I cried. I just wanted him back. In my memory, I can still hear the goofy message he left me on my birthday the year before he passed. He sang 'Happy Birthday' and told me he loved me and was proud of me. A couple years before that, on Valentine's Day, he came to my work and brought me a dozen red roses.

Why...I don't think I will ever understand why he isn't still here; but I will be damned if I stop talking about him. Remembering him. Loving him and wanting to keep the traditions going.

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