Sunday, January 31, 2010

Sunday ...

AND the sun is shining. A beautiful day, but COLD!

Sundays are the day I like to get ready for the week ahead ... laundry, clothes for work all set and ready to go, all of that. Thank goodness I don't have to worry about dinners, because that is the hubby's department. Sometimes I forget how lucky I am, to have a man who loves to grocery shop and cook all of the meals. And he is GOOD - sadly, I have the extra pounds to prove it. Today he has the potatoes peeled, broccoli cleaned and ready to go, and chicken breasts thawing for Chicken Schnitzel (my favorite!).

Jake is doing everything he can to help me get through the sadness I have been feeling. We went out and listened to the band last night - I was in need of cousin hugs. It was nice to see friends, and drink a few beers, and listen to my cousins' band jam. Love the way Roger plays the blues harmonica ... he and Rich are so talented.

Got home way too late ... but got to sleep in, too.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

The weekend

Trying my best to keep the "up" face, but it's been hard today. I keep telling myself to snap out of this ... STOP feeling sorry for myself - other people have way worse issues to deal with. And yet, I still found myself retreating to my bed and sleeping half the day away ... only to awaken again with tears.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

They say it happens in threes …

It would be nice to have only "good" things to blog about, but life doesn't work that way. The truth being that in less than 4 months, I have lost three members of my family … my only two siblings, and an aunt.

Aunt Carolyn was more than an aunt … she had been my true “mother” ever since her sister (my mother) passed away when I was very young. She was the family matriarch; the one who gathered us together for family holidays, passed along the latest news, kept us all in line. Since I was the only girl, I was the one she called on when she needed a room wallpapered, painted, or needed help with spring and fall cleaning. She was also the one who was always there for me. I could talk to her about anything. At 84, she was relatively healthy and fiercely independent. Her sons kept trying to talk her into selling her house, but I knew that would never happen. She got sick and was actually in the hospital when my brother Mark was found dead of a massive heart attack. Mark passed away on the 1st of September … and Aunt Carolyn on the 6th.

Mark, just 18 months older than me, is in almost every photo and memory of my childhood. My first co-conspirator. We fought often and furiously with each other, but we were still always together. Losing him was like losing a piece of my childhood ~ since we were so close in age, our experiences were mostly shared experiences, even if our perceptions were different.

Ironically, Mark's death instigated a new closeness between my older brother and me. Dennis was almost ten years older and my “hero” older brother. He was an exceptional athlete, and popular with the girls. Although I didn’t realize it at the time, he later told me that he sometimes used his baby sister (me) to get girls. All I can remember is that I loved tagging along and being fussed over.

Denny became a career soldier, a Green Beret, and did two tours in Viet Nam before settling down in Korea. So we kept in touch, but essentially he always lived far away. He and his wife had been in Southern California for the past 8 years, and we did get together ~ sadly, not as often as we should have. But when our brother Mark died, we made it a point to call each other every week. Last week, I realized we had not spoken on the weekend, so on Monday (MLK Day), I called and left a message on his machine … something to the effect of “Where are you – taking the wife out to dinner? Call me!” About an hour later, his wife called me from a hospital in California. She was hysterical, and since she is Korean born, I could not understand what she was telling me. Or maybe I didn’t want to hear what she was telling me. But in an instant, I had become an only child. In the past week, she and I have talked and talked ... Denny had been sick with pancreatic cancer, but he absolutely refused to let her tell me. Always the big brother. Always my protector.

And so I mourn. The losses are not just those who knew who I am and who I was, but also the people who knew who everyone else was and what was what. Friends don’t know what to say. I know they worry about saying the wrong thing, but I cannot be any sadder than I already am. An essential and irreplaceable part of my history is gone.