Tag Archives: family

My first post about Life After Dad

My worst fears came true: my sweet, kind gentleman of a Dad died on Friday, July 17.

I have so many thoughts and feelings on this sad time, but need a little time to pull myself together and get my life back in order. Dad spent most of the last five weeks of his life in a Philadelphia hospital so much of my non-family life has been on hold. And I wouldn’t change a thing (except, of course, if I could strike a deal to have Dad back and healthy).

Dad dimples

For the time being, here’s a pic of my father that I love, as well as the text of the eulogy I gave for him at his funeral today. Continue reading

Lows and highs

“I’m so sorry to disturb you,” I said to the woman next to me.

“It’s ok. I wasn’t sleeping, I was just dreaming,” she replied as I stood to slip past her on the Philadelphia-bound train to visit Dad in the hospital.

I smiled. Across the aisle*, her elderly husband was full-on asleep, arms crossed and head bowed. He was older than his wife who had taken the lead in finding seats and then in ensuring his comfort.

Looking at them as a couple, I thought of my mother, fit and strong and ten years younger than my father. Growing up, I never thought of their age difference as a big deal. Now, Dad’s age and health conditions are yielding a lot of heartache.

I’m trying not to equate love with pain and loss. But right now, it’s so very hard. Someday everyone I love will be gone. I too will leave this earth someday. And because I don’t have the crutch of believing in heaven, these feelings are a heavy burden.

Dad’s condition is stable now, but eight days into this hospital stay, we have no sense of when he might be ready to go home. No independence for Dad this July 4th.


Rehoboth

I usually spend Independence Day with a family group in Rehoboth Beach. This year, there was an issue with the house we stay at so even if Dad were healthy, we were not going to be able to spend the holiday there together as is our tradition. Continue reading

We almost lost him. Someday we will.

For the first time, I understood.

Instead of thinking “Daddy, please don’t die. Don’t leave me,” I just wanted him not to suffer. The selfishness of a daughter evaporated.

The doctors had Dad sitting perfectly upright, a mask covering his entire face and forcing air into his lungs. He was sedated, given morphine for pain. When I spoke to him and stroked his hand, Dad  opened his eyes and tried to reassure me.

“Rest, Dad. You need to rest. Don’t worry about me.”

And then I went out into the hospital corridor, nearly biting through my bottom lip as I tried to stifle my sobs.

With Dad during carefree times

With Dad during carefree times

Continue reading

Greetings from Philadelphia

Hello friends,

My sweet Dad is back in the hospital so I hopped a train south from NYC today (Sunday) for some quality time. Hopefully a medication adjustment for this lousy condition gets him back to well pronto.

I grew up two hours from Philly and have visited plenty, but it’s still completely foreign to me.

Even in the city’s rundown parts, the architecture is breathtaking. Divine Lorraine Hotel is one example. I am fascinated with this building–and apparently I’m not the only one. There’s even a t-shirt.

A deal was recently made to reclaim the building and create apartments. Can you imagine living in this historic building?

More pics via Instagram (which aren’t embedding for me today – apologies):

https://instagram.com/p/30HEsUmMXy/?tagged=divinelorraine

https://instagram.com/p/3oj5Xrnk4d/?tagged=divinelorraine

https://instagram.com/p/3Z1YKMOQfN/?tagged=divinelorraine


I hope you’ll keep Dad in your thoughts. And I hope you’ll be patient with my lack of blog posts right now. I’ll be back on track soon.

Suddenly we were on the bridge to Brooklyn

First read this related post.

Suddenly we were on the bridge to Brooklyn. The Manhattan Bridge this time, not the Williamsburg. I laughed.

“Don’t laugh. This isn’t funny!” Mom said.

I kept laughing. What else are you supposed to do when a Chinese New Year parade and dozens of NYC traffic cops thwart your Little Italy lunch plans and Canal Street spits you onto the bridge to downtown Brooklyn without any choice?

Just thirty minutes earlier, everything was fine. Great really. Mom came in from Scranton for a post-birthday (hers, not mine) visit. I had a present waiting for her at my apartment in Williamsburg. We planned to drive there after shopping and lunch at Pellegrino’s.

We shopped at Lord & Taylor. I found a dress that might be fun for my friend Candace‘s wedding in Jamaica. We got Mom’s car out of the lot ($26 for two hours, and that’s the Weekend Special) and headed downtown.

And sat in spectacular traffic once we passed Bleecker Street.

“I’m never doing this again,” Mom said about driving downtown, and agreeing to drive to Brooklyn for her birthday gift. But she has said that many times during my life about things she has absolutely done again so I laughed some more.


Each summer, my parents and I would drive eight-ish hours south to Nags Head, NC. Once, when I was a seven or eight years old, we arrived the Cabana East Motel only to find that our reservation was actually for the next day. No rooms were available.

Click link for photo credit

Dad, not the adaptable sort, was furious at Mom who, although she might have gotten a date wrong, also did all of the heavy lifting for planning our vacations with no offers of help from Dad. Even though we were able to get a room for the night at the Beacon next door, I don’t think my parents exchanged a civil word for 24-48 hours.

I wished we could all just be happy about the extra day at the beach.


When we found ourselves on the Manhattan Bridge, I turned to Mom (who was getting progressively more hangry thanks to my laughter) and said “why don’t we eat in Williamsburg? You can eat food you don’t eat around Dad.”*

I felt tense during the drive up the BQE but tried to hide it with chatter. We parked near the restaurant and then walked down the middle of the street to avoid the ice-covered sidewalks. The ice was another strike against Brooklyn in my mother’s eyes.

Miraculously, she stepped across the restaurant threshold and expressed her approval.

Mom and Jen

We went to Mesa Coyoacan for Mexican food. Tamarind margarita for her, michelada for me. We gorged on tortilla soup and esquites and guacamole and tacos. When we were done with that, I surprised her with churros con chocolate y caramel with a birthday candle. She no longer seemed mad at me for laughing.


Guess what? Mom loved my black nail polish. She proclaimed my hair too “gold.” I’m keeping it though.

 

*Between his health concerns and narrow idea of what constitutes Good Food. (In my dad’s opinion, every cuisine that isn’t American or Italian might serve him cat for an entrée. Don’t ask. I have given up.)