A bright light went out one year ago today. In an effort to restore a touch of that light back into the world, we lit a candle to honor my Dad, who my kids call “Papa.” We said a few words about the things we love most about him. Here’s what my six-year-old and nine-year-old daughters had to say:
- “I love Papa’s smile and his laughter.”
- “I love the way he always took us to 7-11 for Slurpies every time we asked.”
- “I loved tackling him.”
- “I love that he was always so patient with me.”
You may have noticed that I slacked off on my blogging quite a bit this past year. After my grandiose resolutions of writing more in 2012, I’d like to be able to say it was because I was working on my novel and other projects. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Life slapped me upside the head with some unexpected turns. After moving in with us, my father’s health rapidly declined, and he passed away in February 2012. I had a difficult time harnessing my time productively or feeling creative for a while after that.
In November, I flew to Guam with my husband, two daughters, brother, and cousin. We memorialized my father and aunt on the island where they were born, spent time with relatives, and connected with our cultural roots. On the way home, we spent a few days in Tokyo and Narita, Japan. Overall, it was a restorative excursion that helped provide both a much-needed escape as well as some peace and closure.
Though it felt like last year passed in a blur of emotional highs and lows, I feel as if I am now free to begin this year fresh. I hope to spend more time writing, traveling, and appreciating life.
As you may have noticed, I made the decision to take the summer off. My kids started school today (first and fourth grade), and I’m planning to use the time to get back to writing. I’d like to devote time each day they’re at school towards some form of working on my craft. If I can effectively carve out time to work on my fiction, write a newspaper or magazine article, take on another nonfiction book, write a book review, do some editing, or create a blog post, then hopefully by the end of the year I’ll have established a routine where writing is an integral part of every week.
My father passed away a few months ago, and I didn’t realize how hard that would make it to get through today. I’m so angry about his being stolen from us, not by the cancer he fought (which was gone) but rather by the chemotherapy “cure” that damaged his lungs.
He was living with us this past year, and I grew to appreciate him in new ways during that time. He had mellowed out over the years, sloughing off many of his negative qualities and nurturing so many of his good ones, like his indomitable spirit, his devoted love of his grandchildren, his culinary skills, and his sunny optimism. We were lucky to have spent the time we had with him, and he is very greatly missed.
One of the last sentences he uttered when he woke up in a hospital bed surrounded by his family and loved ones was “Thank you so much for this beautiful picture.”
Perhaps my last post (and the assumption that the lightning storm of tragedy was coming to a close) was a bit premature.
My friend Brian Murphy recently passed away. His light, his humor, and his innate ability to make every situation vibrant will be greatly missed.
I didn’t mean to tune out this past month, but let’s just say that life has been even crazier than usual lately. I won’t bore you with the personal details, but suffice it to say, I have every intention of getting back to blogging… SOON!
And it’s about damn time! The power went out during a very brief storm at 7:30am on Monday morning, and it only took ComEd until 9:30pm on Friday night to get the power back up. Way to go ComEd!
In the interim, ComEd texted me on two separate days informing me that the power had been restored, while I was still sitting there in the dark. Apparently, they didn’t know what the hell was going on. Each time I called their automated update line, I’d get a message saying that power would be restored later that day or that night. For five days, they just kept creeping the estimate back by about five hours at a time.
If I had any idea that we would’ve been spending the entire week without power (and as a result without water or gas), I would have packed up our stuff and moved in with friends. Unfortunately, I was given the false impression that power should be restored shortly, on each consecutive miserable day.
I’ve spent today catching up on laundry, doing dishes, opening the freezer, and flushing the toilets as often as I please. Oh, happy day!
You’d think with all the snow we’re getting, I’d be blogging more, not less. At this rate, I’m going to have to change the title of this blog to “Damian Weekly.” Despite being snowed in much of the time, I find myself too fatigued to get much writing done, as if my mind and body are settling in for winter hibernation.
We were hit with a big blizzard last week, and of course, my husband was out of town. My daughters got two snow days off in a row from school, which is almost unheard of here. We didn’t play in the snow much because it was so cold and because it was over their heads in many places. I geared up twice, however, to dig out the heating vents on the outside of the house, so that my heater would work and not poison us all with carbon monoxide. The vents are about three feet from the ground, so that gives you an idea of how much snow we have.
At the beginning of each winter, I look forward to the first picturesque snowfall. I relish sitting by the fire with a cup of tea and reading a good book. This winter though, I’m screaming, “Enough already!” We’ve been getting a few more inches every few days. If it doesn’t stop soon, I’m going to seriously consider moving back to California or Florida.