I've been meaning to post for a couple of weeks but just didn't have it in me. I've had some trouble organizing my jumbled thoughts so I don't know exactly what's going to come out here.
My dad passed away on the early afternoon of December 24th. Even though it was expected (in June he was told that he had approximately 6 months to live) the reality and finality of it was/is stunning. And with me living out of state it is taking longer to set in because I don't have a daily reminder of it like my mom does. I never spoke to my dad every day and at times now it seems as if he's still up there and we just haven't talked. Last week I reached for the phone when his beloved Giants were playing the Cowboys for a playoff spot. Football was always one of the things we could talk about. In fact, I knew things were grave when, during my visit, he didn't know who the Giants were playing that Sunday. I'm glad that I visited when I did. Although he was in pain and not very talkative; he was alert, knew I was there, and was able to pull me to him for a surprisingly strong hug. A few days after I left hospice care was initiated. I'm not really sure what I feel about what happens to us after we die, but I do know that he's no longer suffering in this world.
Now I'm going to say a few things about my mom. She handled the last 6 months of 2011 with a grace and resiliance that I find admirable. She was by my dad's side every inch of the way through this ordeal and refused to give up. She believed in his ability to fight this cancer as he did all of his previous ailments and supported him through it all. My parents were married for 42 years. Not all of it was smooth sailing, but my mom stuck it out and saw it through. Not something you see often nowadays when people stay married for 5 minutes, myself included. All credit is due to my mom for keeping it together. Even if I can't say that I would have done the same, there's definitely something to be said for not throwing in the towel and calling it quits.
The events of the past month or so have, of course, made me more aware of my own mortailty and made me assess where I am in life. As it happens, it's the time of year when everyone takes stock of their lives and vows to do better. Happy New Year. While I love this time of year with its optimism and feeling of endless opportunities, I won't be making any resolutions in the traditional sense. There are, however, several areas in my life where there is room for improvement, change, and growth, that I'd like to work on.I would like 2012 to be the year that I........
~Practice compassion regularly.
~Meet more people/make new friends.
~Try my hand at a new profession.
~Experience more live music.
~Put some pep in my step.
~Spend less time on facebook.
~Make an effort to be healthier.
~Spend more time with my mom.
~Try new things.
~Fit into my old clothing.
~Work harder on my relationship.
~Make my debt disappear.
~Go to every day of Jazz Fest.
~Experience more joy.
~Am happy and at peace.
There, that should do it for now. And, as always, I'd like to express how fortuante I feel to be able to conduct my life and my self-improvement efforts in New Orleans. There is no other place that I'd rather fall below my own expectations. Right now the city is poised for a stellar 2012, you can just feel it in the air. There was a similar feeling in 2010 after the Saints won their first Super Bowl. We were back, had built up through the years of misery after hurricane Katrina and it felt like there were no limits. We were on a roll! But then there was a little incident involving a company called BP that rained on our parade and knocked us back down. But we've worked, yet again, to pick it up and put the city on top. The Saints are doing well again, we host the Super Bowl next year, and hopefully the time in between will be filled with tourism and prosperity. Yes, we have the problems that plague most inner cities, but I can guarantee you that there is nowhere like New Orleans in the US. The music, the food, the people, the architecture, the atmosphere, the colors, the smells, the history, the decaying beauty..........ALL one of a kind. If you haven't been here, you should come. Just once. New Orleans is a gem. And who knows? You might end up loving it like I do. I know I wouldn't want to move forward anywhere else.