It’s been a week since I last posted. Death will do that to you. Especially if it’s someone you love very, very VERY much and you will be helping to make the funeral happen. And that was the case. Yes, I know that at 91, you have gotten a longer run than most, but still, this death shook me like a martini at Harry’s Bar. I felt raw and numb, and disoriented and grateful and like I wanted to cry about everything bad that’s ever happened to me since kindergarten, all at the same time.
The thing is, the experience of losing Louie, had some moments where gratitude was monster big. Beautiful flowers and cards, meaningful and supportive words from friends, all felt like a warm blanket on a 2014 winter night (or March day, for that matter–it’s 16 out there this morning, people). It’s sort of amazing what a few words will do for a person when they’re in pain. If you ever think, “I should send a card,I should call” but then you get busy and forget, get unbusy and do it. You might just have an overall impact on someone’s shitty experience that will make a profound difference.
Two of my oldest friends, one from fourth grade, and one from freshman year of high school came to the wake and surprised me. Seeing Linda and Steph really soothed me. It was an effort for them to come, but it was a game changer for me and really helped me through an unspeakably painful night.
Being with my extended family, who came from all over the place to mourn the loss of our family’s patriarch, was perhaps what I am most grateful for. Because it reminded me where and what I come from. I am made up of aunts and uncles and cousins, and drop in visits, and picnics and days at the beach and weddings and babies and holidays and shared happiness and sadness. I grew up in the belly of an Italian family who nurtured me and gave me security to be the person I am on this day. I carry that family with me in my heart whether I’m grocery shopping or using my favorite swear word (say it with me, “fuck”). They give me strength when I feel like a 95 pound weakling. Although the first generation all lived in the same town, we’re now all spread out in California, New York, Illinois, Virginia, Maryland, Florida, Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Now we don’t see each other unless there’s a funeral. And that, is maybe sadder than the funeral itself.
Anyway, I am back to the blog I’m so grateful to and the readers who I appreciate enormously for making me laugh and cry and continue to remember to be grateful every damn day. And while I didn’t think this was what I’d write about to celebrate my 365th post, I guess that’s what makes life interesting. As Woody Allen said, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.” But maybe it’s a good way to celebrate the gratitude-a-thon’s year anniversary, being grateful to a man who gave me a dad when I didn’t have one, and modeled a really beautiful way to live: in the present, doing what you love to do.