Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Cookie Monster

Dear Dad,

Do you remember the paper I wrote in middle school about a memorable scent? I wrote about the way you smelled after hockey games, right after you showered and put on your Speed Stick Regular Scent deodorant. Man, I loved that smell. Even now the smell is refreshing and reassuring to me. It might sound odd, but that is even the brand I usually buy for Brett.

Scent is has such a strong tie to memory for me. Smells of sawdust, a hockey rink, your hockey bag (gross!), the bread at Subway, State Fair chicken at the Great New York State Fair, and so many more.

Tonight I was brought back by a different sense - taste! Today I took the kids to the Farmers' Market to trick-or-treat. They got candy, gourds, mini pumpkins, peacock feathers, cheese, and homemade cookies from the different venders.

This evening I grabbed one of the cookies they got and sat down to read my email before bed. Ironically, I was reading an email from a MOMS Club friend who had read my blog and wanted to share her own feelings about losing her own father at a young age, when I bit into the cookie.

Instantly I was taken back to Christmas time, with you in the kitchen baking dozens and dozens of cookies to pack in tins and mail to family members around the country. They had the perfect mix of heath bar crunch, chocolate chips and nuts. The closest thing I have had to your recipe.

I had to get another one, and after I finished eating I waited until the taste was completely gone before I dared brush my teeth.

The taste made me so happy, but I realized you never gave me the recipe. You never really taught me to make them. I don't know if I can recreate them.

With Christmas right around the corner, my new mission is to find that recipe and perfect it to "Pete" standards for the holidays. The boys are going to LOVE helping and taste testing!

I wish you were around to help us.

I love you so much and miss you!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Five Years

Dear Dad,

It has been 5 years without you today. 5 years and 1 day since I talked to you. 5 years and 3 days since I saw you.

Five years seems like such a huge amount of time. Half a decade, almost a sixth of my life, about one fifth of Katelyn's life. But that amount of time is only going to get bigger. One day it will be a quarter of my life, half my life, etc.

There is a big part of me that is heart broken, but today I came to another realization. I am still here, I am still breathing, I am getting on with my life, I am over the fighting with Mom and Katelyn that happened after you left. I will never stop morning you, but I have been able to move past the debilitating pain that I went through 5 years ago.

The first six months that you were gone I ate until my mouth hurt, I drank until I blacked out, I was a total bitch to everyone close to me, I cried constantly and I totally sabotaged my position at NPMA by letting my work slide and frequently not showing up. It was a dark time. There were moments when I didn't know if I would get through it. But here I am.

I don't know what broke me out of the dangerous spiral that I was headed down. Maybe getting pregnant with Peter, maybe Brett sticking by me, maybe Mom forcing me to go to therapy, maybe all of these things combined.

This morning I wanted to post a picture of us together online and realized that I only had a few out in my house. This was shocking to me. When Brett and I got married I remember him telling me that he had accepted the fact that he might have to live in a "shrine of my father" for the rest of his life.

Some how the shrine has disappeared. There are still plenty of photos, but our home no longer looks like a funeral home of displays where I tried to capture your life and hold on to it. I have even gotten rid of all but one of your hockey trophies.

There is an odd sense of guilt and pride associated with moving on. I am so proud to be where I am in my morning, to be so close to my sister and talking to her more and more about our pain, and to get through (most) days without crying. But I also feel so guilty that I was able to move on. Does it mean I stopped caring? Started forgetting? I hope not.

Here was my favorite picture of us in the house:

It is from July 13, 2004 - my 22nd birthday party at eCiti. I had so much fun that night, and remember being so happy that you and mom were there. It was the second to last birthday I would celebrate with you, as you passed away 1 month before my 24th.

When I look at this photo I cannot believe how young I look. Just another reminder of how much time has past. Of how far I have come. Without you. More pride, more guilt, but here I am getting through it.

Still missing you.

I love you,

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Friendly Ghost

Dear Dad,

My son Peter has started having nightmares. It used to be monsters he was afraid of, so we got him a book that taught him to "do karate" (fake chops and kicks into the air) to scare off the monsters.

Now he has moved on to ghosts. I am not even sure where he is getting the whole ghost thing from, but he wakes up scared that they are going to get him, and crying uncontrollably. Until the other night when he was having an especially bad night.

I climbed into bed with Peter and asked him why the ghosts scared him. He didn't really have an answer, so I told him that maybe they were friendly ghosts. Than I proceed to tell him something I had never really told one of my children - my father is dead.

Since ghosts seem a little more real to Peter (your name sake, by the way) than angels do, I thought this was as good a time as any. I explained to Peter that my daddy had died before he was born, and that now he was a "friendly ghost" who watched over us and took care of us.

At first Peter cried and said that he wanted me to get to see my daddy. I almost lost it then, and teared up with him. But, eventually we kept talking and knowing that you were a friendly ghost taking care of him seemed to calm him down.

Yesterday, when I picked him up from a play-date at a friend's house I was informed that he was telling Trey (his friend) that "My Mommy's Dad is a Friendly Ghost." He has also been much more interested in looking at the pictures of you that I keep around the house.

His nightmares have subsided thus far, and I am happy that he now knows a little more about his grandfather and why he isn't around anymore.

I miss you, my friendly ghost!


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

February 13

Dear Dad,

Your Birthday was on Sunday. You would have been 58 years old. I am sure I would have relentlessly made fun of you for being such an old man had you been here to share the day with you.

You weren't, and for the first time in my life (or your death) I forgot all about your birthday. The day came and passed and this morning I noticed what the date was and was filled with guilt, then sadness that if I am forgetting your birthday, will I one day forget other things about you?

I try to write down some of the more important things (both good and bad) that you taught me that I want to pass down to the kids. But I can't help think that there are things I will forget.

It would be so much easier if you were still here.

I love you,
Jilly Bean

Monday, January 31, 2011

Strep Throat, OJ and Ice Cream Sandwiches

Dear Dad,

I am sick. Aaron is sick. Peter is sick. It sucks!

We all have Strep and I have the added bonus of Bronchitis and some infection in my throat that is giving me a major ear ache.

I don't know why these odd things stick out in my head, but I remember the last time I had Strep VERY well. Maybe because you were there. I remember waking up with a fever that was so high I fainted in the shower. You immediately came to my apartment to take me to the doctor since you didn't think it was safe for me to drive.

I remember going to the Safeway Pharmacy after to fill my prescription and you getting me OJ and ice cream sandwiches, just like you always did when I had anything to do with a sore throat.

It was the last time I was ever sick during your life, but like every other time in my life you were there to take care of me. Even though I was 24 years old.

When I think about how difficult today was. Trying to take care of myself AND my kids. Not being able to take myself to the doctor because I was delirious from fever. I cry. Where is my Dad to take care of me? Where is the person who always dropped everything to get me what I needed to feel better?

I would do anything to have that back. To have you back.

Don't get me wrong, Brett takes great care of me. As soon as he gets off work he goes into over drive taking care of this family; but he has a "regular" job. He isn't his own boss, and he has a limited number of sick days.

Tonight after Urgent Care (for me) and the Pediatrician for the boys we stopped by the Safeway Pharmacy, picked up prescriptions, OJ and ice cream sandwiches.

Here are your Grandson's enjoying a little treat:



I told them that my Daddy used to get me ice cream sandwiches when I was sick and Peter told me you must have had great ideas.

You had a lot of great qualities, but the way you took care of me when I was sick (which was always) really stands out to me today.

I love you,

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Dream a Little Dream

Dear Dad,

I don't know if you remember this, but the night before Grandpa Dec died I had gotten home from being out of town and decided I was too tired to go visit him. Although, I was almost relieved when he finally passed away because he was suffering so much at the end, the fact that I hadn't seen him that last time was really hard to bear.

A few months later I had a dream that I was in the study of the apartment and he was outside the window. Clearly a ghost and clearly saying good bye. I remember vividly waking up feeling calm and without regret. My dream gave me a sense of closure and I was able to move on.

When you died I prayed for that dream. But in four and a half years it hasn't come. You have never even been in a dream as a background person. Until last night.

Last night I had a dream that you were in my current home (a place where you have obviously never been in life) and walked down to the basement to do something. That was the only amount of time that I actually saw you. Then a phone rang (which in my dream I knew was yours). It was a Droid sitting on my entryway table (which I thought was weird because a. you always had Nextel, b. you weren't living in the age of "smart phones" and c. you ALWAYS kept your phone on your hip... cause you are a dork).

The next thing I knew I was awake, confused and trying desperately to go to sleep and get back to you and my dream.

The closure I was looking for has not come. Guess I will keep waiting.

Love you,
Jilly Bean

Thursday, January 13, 2011

It's Been a Long Time

Dear Dad,

I haven't written in four months. It sounds crazy but I feel incredibly guilty about this fact. I think about you daily, but even though we have HUGE family news it takes so much emotion to sit down and write.

The big news is our third child is coming this July! I am excited and terrified all at the same time. I think bringing children into our family always gives me a greater sense of loss when it comes to the people they won't have in their life. Specifically you.

You would have been the best grandfather on the planet. Don't get me wrong - I love my father-in-law. Actually, I feel extremely blessed to have him. He welcomed me into the family with open arms, and absolutely adores my kids. But it isn't you.

When I was single we talked daily and you would take me out to lunch all the time. I can only imagine how it would be if you had grandchildren to visit - I would never get you out of my house.

I dream about how you would have car seats with saw dust on them and tools sitting in the middle seat so you could take the boys whenever possible. I envision you taking them to work with you as your helper, or teaching them to skate.

Sometimes it makes me a better and more fun mother because I remember the games and silly tricks you did with Katelyn and I as kids and I share them with the boys. Sometimes it makes me worse because Peter doesn't know why mommy is crying.

When I show them pictures of you and tell them that this is my daddy and that you are their grandpa they tell me, "No, Mommy, Daddy's dad is my grandpa."

One day they will understand, but not now.

I have videos of you from family events and hockey games. I want to watch them. I want to show them to the boys. I still can't bring myself to do it though. One day.

As we get ready for our third child, there is one thing that makes me smile. Brett longs to have a baby girl. He says that all he wants is the kind of father-daughter relationship he saw between you and I (clearly he didn't know our relationship when I was a teenager - HAHA).

We will be happy either way. Another boy or a girl will be a blessing. We just wish they had both their grandfathers.

Miss you,