A Pair of Socks

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Today I am wearing my Dad’s long black dress socks. I’ve worn this pair of socks off and on for nearly 30 years.

I first wore the socks when I was in high school. I needed a long pair of black dress socks, and I didn’t have time (or money) to go buy a pair. I asked my Dad if I could borrow a pair of his socks, and he said, “Yes.”

After that initial borrow, whenever I needed my Dad’s long black dress socks, I snagged ’em. Sometimes my Dad would go to his sock drawer looking for this pair of socks, only to find I was borrowing the socks – again.

My Dad died 20 years ago. And, every time I reach for these socks, I think of my Dad. A simple pair of black dress socks keeps a memory of my Dad full of life for me.

Today I attended a funeral for a 44yr old man, who suddenly died earlier this week. Among others, he left behind his wife and two boys.

His boys attend my sons’ school. I am lucky enough to spend a few hours with these boys (ages 5 and 11) Monday – Friday in the Extended Day Program, which I run.

I was 25 years old when I lost my Dad, and I felt robbed. My best friend was 16 when she lost her Dad, and I know she felt robbed, too.

These kids – these two boys – they were hijacked.

I went to talk to the boys after the funeral. The 5yr old was ‘happily’ distracted by a game he was playing on an iPad, but the 11yr old wasn’t finding comfort in any gadgets. He was – is – old enough to understand. He is old enough to feel the pain. He is old enough to grasp the immense sense of loss. And sadly, he is young enough to have so many years without his Dad, as is his younger brother.

When I talked with the older boy, I told him I lost my Dad when I was young, too. And, I showed him my socks. I told him they were my Dad’s socks – at least 30yrs old -, and I told him I felt my Dad was with me whenever I wore these socks. He looked at me, smiled, and said, “Really?” And, I assured him it was true.

Now, I realize he was probably more humored by the fact that I was wearing a pair of socks that are 30yrs old vs. feeling a sense of comfort/peace from my sentiment, but he’ll get it.

And, from now on, when I wear these socks to school, I will show the socks to these two boys. Because, there is comfort in remembering. It doesn’t fill the void completely, but it is something. And, I hope I can provide a bit of comfort for these two guys by showing them I haven’t forgotten.

.::.

“Let our faith be our consolation and eternal life our hope.” Prayers of the People, The Book of Common Prayer

Conversations between Neighbors :: A Comparative Study

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Many years ago, or maybe just two, I wrote a *cough* fictitious *cough* post about the conversations Dads have with other Dads compared to conversations Moms have with other Moms, while kids are present.

This afternoon, during a telephone conversation with my neighbor, I had to snap at my kids for interrupting me, and my neighbor had to snap at her kids for interrupting her.

Our interrupted phone conversation reminded me of the post I wrote a couple of years ago. Trust me when I say, the post is timeless. Continue reading

Musings of the Mind

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Please indulge me. Typically, my rambling posts take place on Friday; however, I feel the need to ramble today. So many thoughts are filling my head, I fear I will explode if I don’t release some of the pressure. Some of these ramblings may be repeats. My apologies.

My friend emailed me last night, providing me with an update on her Mom. The news was not good. We all hoped (and prayed) the chemo was working to reduce the size of the tumors. Unfortunately, the CT scan showed the chemo did not work, and the tumors showed signs of growth. Fortunately, my friend’s Mom started a new chemo-cocktail yesterday. Again, we turn to hope and prayers to yield the results we want.

My friend is off to see her Mom later this month. She’ll get to spend quality time with her Mom – just the two of them. As my friend shared the news with me that she purchased the tickets and made the plans, I remembered my Dad.

January 1994. My family had mentioned Dad seemed depressed. My family had mentioned my Dad was not acting like his normal self. Though no one in the family knew what was going on with my Dad, it was apparent something was happening. Mid-January. I buy a ticket to fly home the 2nd week of February to be with my Dad and family. Late January. We find out my Dad has Lung Cancer.

February 4, 1994. I receive a phone call at work. It was my sister. My Dad was admitted to the hospital. Another sister of mine was working with Delta (she’s a flight attendant) to help me get a plane ticket to Atlanta. I leave work, and head to my place in DC before heading to the airport.

I think I arrived in Atlanta around 4pm. My sister-in-law’s parents met me at the airport and drove me to Piedmont Hospital. The ride to the hospital seemed to take forever (as did the flight from DC to Atlanta, for that matter). I don’t remember what my sister-in-law’s parents told me. I was in a daze. I was nervous. And, my stomach was in knots just like my stomach is in knots now, as I retell the story.

Walking with my friend through her Mom’s Cancer battle, takes me back to my walk during my Dad’s battle, his incredibly short battle. I met my friend (and another) prior to my Dad’s death, and my friend (and the other) got me through my Dad’s death.

I didn’t have the prep-time my friend has with her Mom. I was called. I boarded a plane. And, I saw my Dad – unconscious. He was in and out of consciousness before I arrived in Atlanta, and my Mom and siblings told him I was on the way to see him. But, I didn’t make it. He did not regain consciousness after I arrived, and he died shortly after midnight, February 5th. My Dad was gone. And, I did not have the kind of closure that eases the horrific sting of death. I admit there is a selfish side to me walking with my friend, as her Mom battles cancer; walking with my friend helps me come to terms with my Dad’s death.

He’s been gone for 16yrs. The intense pain I felt when he died has lessened significantly. But, as those of you who have lost a loved one know, the pain never truly goes away. And, as sick as it sounds, I find it comforting to feel the sadness again. I find it comforting to feel the pain. It is as if my Dad is with me all over again. Though I don’t remember him as the man hooked up to the respirator, unconscious. I remember him smiling, smoking, drinking, joking and being the burly New Englander, striking fear in my friends with his deep voice and subtle humor. I remember his laugh. And, I remember him answering the phone by saying, “Yell’oh.” (That’s Yankee for ‘Hello’.)

Hmm . . . maybe my head isn’t overwhelmed with countless thoughts at once. Perhaps my head is just filled with thoughts of my Dad and thoughts of my friend and her Mom. No. Really, my head is filled with other stuff, too. But compared to family and friends, the other stuff is just crap. I won’t sweat that other stuff, and you shouldn’t either. Now, reach out to a loved one by phone, email or better yet – send a card or letter via snail mail. Why not?