Monday, December 21, 2015

What's Normal?

Did I ever mention that when I would call my folks and Dad answered the phone, he would shout, "Hey, Sue Alou!" which was really homage to Jesus Alou, the baseball player? 

Dad took his own time leaving the building; he was hanging on for Mom. Every time he would surface, he would tell whomever was standing there, "Thanks for coming. It's been a good ride. Glad to see you again." Quintessential Dad: unfailingly polite, kind, aware of the effort made by others...except for the potter at Sturbridge Village...ask me about that some other's family legend. Seemed to me that each time he surfaced, he was preparing us in case he did not surface again, and he wanted to exit this world with kindness on his lips. 

When he took his last breath, I was there, and admit to feeling some relief. It was finally over. The last couple of days had been everything he never wanted. But I know feeling relief isn't completely reasonable, and it comes off as selfish even when you know he must've been glad to see Grandpa and Ziggy waiting to take him to Aunt Ruth's. I can't shake that image. That's what I want to think happened. 

I've been so busy with everyone coming in and out, and making sure Mom has winter clothing...something she didn't really need in Flah-rida. I've allowed myself to be momentarily distracted by the Clown Cavalcade, the Demo-Debate, and Debbie-Gate. There is so much to write about that it's practically overwhelming....or should be. But I'm having trouble caring about the Presiduncy. Debbie Wasserwhatever-Shultz is ridiculous; I want her to go away. She's the Democratic answer to the Clown Cavalcade all by herself. Do we really have to sink to their level? But that's about where my brain stops. 

I don't have the sitzfleisch to write about the nonsense right now. 

Oh, I suppose I could've written, "No intro today," like Ziggy would've, but that doesn't seem right. Instead, I'll quote from a letter from Dad, dated June 5th, 1979, the week after his own father, my Grandpa Moishe, left the building:
I'm trying to get back to a normal day at the office--but it isn't easy--I still bear the wounds of the last few months--and they don't heal too quickly.
Just like my Dad, I go to morning minyan before I go to the office...and I can tell you with absolute certainty, he was right: the wounds don't heal too quickly. I will eventually have to come to terms with the space Dad has left behind. It's a really BIG space. 

Knowing I'll never get "Hey, Sue Alou!" on the phone again is a tough one. It does not mean, however, that I won't ever hear it again. I will hear it in my inner ear for the rest of my life, right as I dig into my pocket for a few extra commas. 

Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week

Grieving is hard work; it's not instant and it doesn't happen on a schedule.
Do yourself a huge favor. Make the time. 


  1. So beautiful and poignant,and yes, grief takes its own unrushed time....we simply attend to and bear witness to our loss. May your father's memory be only to a Blessing

  2. Such poignant beautiful words as you bear witness to your loss. Grief takes its own unrushed time..may your fathers memory be only for a Blessing

  3. I have been looking forward to your blog about yoour father and you did not disappoint me. My deepest sympathy to you and your family. Lorraine Hertz