Thursday, January 19, 2006

My Father Passed Away 1/4/06

I have read that the death of a parent is a life-shaking event for which few are prepared. I never realized until now how much grief could feel like fear. I know the pain and sadness will eventually go away and I will be courageous and strong once again but it doesn’t mean I won’t continue to hurt from time to time. Some ache will be there forever, that’s just the way it is.

After the Tuesday 8 pm phone call from my brother suggesting we get to Tahoe as soon possible, I lay in my bed and began a silent conversation with my grandparents. I asked them to be there. I asked them to be the first to greet him – the first ones he’d see - when he “passed over.” I asked them for all kinds of favors for my father that night. I could almost imagine the joy at their reunion. When the phone rang again at 1 am and my brother said Dad had passed away about an hour before, I knew immediately that they had heard me. Thank you Nanny and Pop-Pop.

The morning we left for Lake Tahoe, there dawned the most beautiful sunrise I could remember in months, hot pink, flame red, and bright pumpkin orange against a pale, barely blue sky. I remembered that Dad was the one who taught me to see this way and appreciate these things. He gave me my love of nature, the stars, the sea, and the forest. Dad instilled my passion for art, books, learning and education. While gazing at the sunrise, a non-negotiable and excruciating reality hit me: I would never again hear his voice. I felt guilty, like I should have been there sooner so we could talk. But I have a feeling it would have been nothing deeply philosophical, nothing more than 'I love you,' definitely not the answer to all my questions, or the perennial answer to everything. I take comfort in my belief that he will never really be gone. I will have to listen harder but I will still hear him.

During the last years of his life, even before the lung cancer, Dad never let me forget that he was proud of me - not many children receive such a gift. The very last phone call I had with him, he ended the conversation with “I love you very much Cathy.” He said it three times. Now I know why.

There is a Chinese proverb that reads, "You cannot prevent the birds of sorrow from flying overhead, but you can prevent them from building nests in your hair." One of my heroes, Eleanor Roosevelt, believed that the true measure of a person was not his or her achievements, but rather the way in which he or she adapted to life's changes. During his younger years, Dad was not an especially happy person; thankfully he found peace and happiness later in life. Regardless of what happened in the past, I count myself lucky to have had him as my father.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

My first entry

OK, so I’m a tad late jumping on the blog bandwagon. As with most everything in my life, I do as much research as possible before making a decision to do (or not do) something. I’m often accused of being too intense (MOI?) For those of you also new to blogging -- HA, I’m already assuming my blog will attract readers-- go here to learn everything you’ll ever need to know about blogging but were afraid to ask --if that’s not intense, I don’t know what is! It’s a good place to learn what the word “disambiguation” means (then use it in sentence to REALLY impress your family & friends).

I was initially inspired by the December 2005 AARP Bulletin (pronounced A-A-R-P) that stated 0.3% of bloggers are age 50 or older Not that I care to reveal my age for all of cyberspace, but let’s say, like the AARP article, I’m an “Older, Wiser Blogger.” I also figured that if "80 years young" Millie Garfield of Swampscott, Massachusetts can do it, then so can I!

Maybe a good place to start is to tell how I decided on my blog’s name. In June 1999, I signed up for a free Yahoo! email account. For anyone who’s an experienced Web/Net surfer, having a unique or distinctive cyberspace moniker is der rigeur (jeez, look it up!) Anyway, when my youngest brother was learning to talk, he had a hard time with the word sister and it came out Sissy. Needless to say, the nickname stuck so when deciding what moniker to use –itsmesissy was taken- I went with “itsmecissy” instead because “c” is the first letter of my real name and because it looks better in print, don’t you think?

Well, I’d say this is a pretty good launch into the blogsphere (that’s a word bound to show up in the dictionary someday) with hopefully more to come.