The last two months have been filled with the most wonderful, needed, beautiful distractions.
Family adventure to Bob's Pumpkin Farm at Half Moon Bay
The kids as Dr. Seuss' The Lorax and Jurassic World's Indominus Rex
Solon and I as Diego Rivera and Frida Khalo
A day trip to Sonoma to visit Lucy, Bob, and Uncle Ralph
Visits from 3 of our best friends
Holly (and Makena)
Marsielle (a.k.a. Uncle Bone)
Becky (and Gracyn)
Family Photos taken by Liz!
And a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend spent in our new home with Grandma Sasa & Tony, and Aunt Alynsia
We have loved having QUALITY TIME with family and friends!
These visits have been much-needed, soul-filling distractions that have gotten me through week to week, despite my ever-so-broken heart. I have consistent happiness for most of the week, and then I will be driving down the CA-24 and Bridge Over Troubled Water (one of my Dad's favorites) will come on the radio, and I will be a sobbing mess. Or after a grocery run that is done in under 2 hours, I will be feeling like I just accomplished the impossible (if you live in California, you know what I mean), and Charlie Puth's song comes on the radio, and I am stuck at the longest red light, a sobbing mess.
"Why'd you have to leave so soon, yeah,
Why'd you have to go,
Why'd you have to leave me when I needed you the most,
'Cause I don't really know how to tell ya that I'm feeling much worse,
I know you're in a better place but it's always going to hurt,
Give me all the strength I need to carry on.
So let the light guide your way, yeah,
Hold every memory as you go,
And every road you take will always lead you home, home
It's been a long day without you my friend,
And I'll tell you all about it when I see you again
We've come a long way from where we began,
Oh I'll tell you all about it when I see you again, when I see you again."
If you want me to really have a good cry, put on Luther Vandross' Dance With My Father, while I am assembling Christmas Cards. Yes, that happened. Not familiar with this beautiful song? You can watch the video below:
"If I could steal one final glance, one final step
One final dance with him
I'd play a song that would never ever end
'Cause I'd love, love, love to dance with my father again
Sometimes I'd listen outside her door
And I'd hear how my mother cried for him
I pray for her even more than me
I pray for her even more than me
I know I'm praying for much too much
But could you send back the only man she loved?
I know you don't do it usually
But dear Lord she's dying to dance with my father again
Every night I fall asleep and this is all I ever dream"
And it's true... every night I fall asleep wishing for the same dream.
Last week, Forrest and I were taking a walk, and I had a quiet 20 minutes to myself to clear my head, and think. Sometimes 20 minutes is all I have each day for that. But it is in those 20 minutes that my thoughts immediately turn to my dad. I think of all the things I would tell him about if we could talk again. I try to hear his voice. I try to feel his hugs. I feel like its all I have been able to think/talk about for the past three months, but at the same time, it doesn't feel like I have released enough.
I have gone through all the stages of grief (I think), and some of the stages seem to circle back a few times.
Denial and Isolation - Yeah, living in a new place is kind of like living in a bubble so it can make it feel like the death never happened. Like I know it's real, but there are times when I call my parents' number and just expect my dad to answer. So I get the denial part. And isolation... for someone like me who everyone knows is a social butterfly... I have isolated myself in ways. Maybe because it's so hard for me to not give all of myself to others, and when meeting new people, that beginning can be so superficial until you invest the time and energy to really get to know someone. But I haven't had that energy (see Depression/Sadness), and I don't want to start off the conversation with, "Sorry if I get randomly sad on our play-date, but my dad died 5 days after we moved to this beautiful place, and the tiniest thing can set me off."
Anger - You bet I have been angry. I feel robbed. For myself, for my kids, for my brother, for my nephews, for my mom. For my dad. I am angry that we didn't get more time with him. I am angry that his heart was so weak, that he suffered internally so much. I am angry that he was so stubborn and didn't like doctors therefore had zero medical history by the time he actually got diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure (back in 2002), therefore it had already escalated inside him, therefore it shortened his life by 20 years. I am angry about that. And I am angry about being angry about that.
Bargaining - The "If only..." stage - enough said.
Depression/Sadness - I am in and out of this stage most of the time. I cry at the drop of a hat. I am still my usual positive/friendly self, but when something triggers the tears, they flow instantly, and freely. Like I have two personal levees that are about to break. See above RE: songs on the radio.
Acceptance - This Christmas break (when we are in AZ for 10 days) will force the beginning of this phase for me. When we go to my parents' house, I won't see a full glass of fresh-brewed Lipton Tea sitting on the kitchen table as I walk in the door. Walking into the living room, I will see Dad's chair, but the dogs won't be at his feet while he sits in it, wearing one of the many graphic tees he received from us as gifts. It's inevitable that I am going to have to face this stage very soon, and I guess I will approach it the same way I have, every day since August 8. One day at a time.
In the meantime, I am preparing for two family visits before we head back to AZ for the holidays - my brother's family this weekend (I can't wait to celebrate Natan and Larel's birthdays, and hug and kiss my nephews who I miss so much), and my mom next weekend. Aside from FaceTime, I haven't seen my mom in person or hugged her in over 2.5 months, which is the longest we have ever gone. It will be so wonderful to finally show her our home, where we live, and just be... with her. I am so excited I can hardly stand it!
I continue to be so grateful for my family, and this beautiful place we live in. I never tire of seeing the spectacular Golden Gate Bridge, or driving over the many suspension bridges in the Bay Area. We have been to Wine Country three times already, and have seen magnificent redwood and eucalyptus forests, and the sparkle of the ocean all in the same day. We are getting some good use of our jackets, and umbrellas, and I just stocked up on mittens! Such a crazy accessory for this AZ girl. But we are not taking one second for granted.
Please take some time to slow down and enjoy your family and friends this holiday season. Don't waste a chance to hug someone you love dearly, or better yet, tell them individually what they mean to you (look them in the eyes), and how much you love them.
We love and appreciate each of our family and friends (SO MUCH!), and wish you bountiful blessings this holiday season and for the New Year.