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A Time To Die ~ Part 1

IrisThe flat pitch of the disconnected call filled Chris Zada’s ear as he clutched the handset to his shoulder. The news caused his head to swirl like a whirlpool threatening to take everything down. It sucked out all feeling from him, leaving a gaping void. Numb, he dropped the handset in its cradle on the end table. He sat for a time. He didn’t know how long. He just sat. And sat. Paralyzed by emptiness.

Anger snuck in like a thief, catching him by surprise. It maddened him. The stillness. The doom of a headsman preparing to deliver the fatal strike with his axe. He fell to the floor screaming out, pounding the beige carpet with the side of his fist like a jackhammer to keep the silence at bay.

Finished with his aggression, he threw himself back against the sofa and cried out, “Why, God? Why do I have to die? What did I do to deserve this?”

He ran his hands through his short chestnut hair, setting his elbows to his knees, tempted to pull out fistfuls of his locks as despair kicked out anger and took residence. Why now? Why not after the wedding next week? How would he tell Myr? His family?

“Why me? I’m only twenty-four.”

He was supposed to grow old with Myr and four kids. It wasn’t fair. “Do you hear me?” he shouted into the empty space. “IT’S NOT FAIR!”

His last word echoed through the apartment, bouncing off the walls. His coffee mug vibrated from the energy his voice carried. Tears glistened in his green-gold eyes and his chest drooped from the heaviness invading his heart. The quiet took over while his body succumbed to the heartache.

©Debi Smith, 2014

 
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Posted by on July 25, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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More Time

Pantry, Smoothie, Valentine's Dinner 018

I married that guy in the photo sixteen years ago yesterday. We are fortunate to have that much time on this wild and crazy ride of a marriage. I could post some sappy sentiment on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or even here. But I won’t. This isn’t about us.

This is about those out there wishing they had more time.

You see, it’s now hard to celebrate our anniversary without remembering two couples. One couple, very good friends of ours and the other, very good friends and former co-workers of mine. Both women passed away two to two and a half years ago. One was around Christmas, the other a few short months later before we lost Grandma. T-Bear and Rinko would be celebrating sixteen years TODAY. Red and Chef would have celebrated six years a week ago today.

One of my former bosses lost her husband last summer. They would’ve celebrated fourteen years this past February.

There just isn’t enough time.

We go through life, day after day, without knowing the limit of our days. We behave as if life will go on until we are old, wrinkled, grey, and settled in a rocking chair on the porch. We get mad at our spouses and hold a grudge because, dammit WE are right, not them. We operate on the assumption that accidents, sudden or prolonged health issues, or tragic violence won’t separate us from our life partner.

I just wish there was more time for everyone.

 
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Posted by on May 23, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Grandmothers

Grandpa was buried a little deeper so Grandma could be buried on top of him.

On April 14th, I said goodbye to Grandma, or as I used to call her when I was little, Lola.  After she passed away on March 10th, I went through a mix of emotions and I couldn’t seem to get a good handle on them.  I always went back to feeling guilty and finding myself getting angry at everything little thing even if it had nothing to do with her death.

When I was planning our trip home for last November, I wanted to go to Moloka`i on top of being on O`ahu and Hawai`i.  When it came down to practicality, we didn’t have enough time and I was afraid of Grandma getting frustrated with trying to cook for me without gluten or dairy.  The last thing I wanted to do was make her frustrated doing something she loved to do, cook for her loved ones.

Grandma was my last living grandparent.  Grandpa died a little over 3 years ago.  That was the last time I saw Grandma.  My maternal grandparents died 5 months apart in 2004.  This was another difficult thing I was dealing with.  You never think about what it’s like to lose that last grandparent until it happens.  It’s more challenging to deal with when both sets of your grandparents had a lot to do with your upbringing and who you are today.

Just a fraction of my family

My father’s side of the family is large.  Especially, when you add in the all the extended family, of whom the older ones also had a part in my upbringing and who I am.  Everyone older than me is Auntie, Uncle, Grandma, or Grandpa.  As a child, it was confusing. Two of my relatives I should be calling Auntie and Uncle are around my age.  One is two years older and her brother is a year younger.  I call their older brother, Uncle, and their older sisters, Auntie, but I have never been able to use those titles with them.  It was just weird.  Even my own cousins are confused.  Because of the age difference between all of us, they sometimes call me Auntie.  Even their parents will refer to me as Auntie.  As kids, I told them they would figure it out as they got older.  As adults, they do it just to mess with me.  Most of the time.  The titles go by generation.  Anyone in my Dad’s generation – his cousins – are Auntie and Uncle.  Anyone in my grandparent’s generations – their cousins – are Grandma and Grandpa.

Somehow, we all used to sleep on Grandma Vi's floor together when I was little. I don't know how, but we did.

If I wasn’t at Grandma and Grandpa’s while visiting Moloka`i growing up, I was at Grandma Vi’s or Grandma C’s.  I spent about as much time at their homes as I did Grandma and Grandpa’s.  Grandma Vi told me several times, “Even if no more Grandma Cintang, you still have me.”  The first time she said that, I hugged her and replied, “You’ll always be my grandma.”  That first time came after reminding myself that I still have grandparents even if they aren’t in my direct lineage.  They were words I needed to hear out loud to make my thoughts feel real.

Grandma M, Auntie Ai's mother-in-law. She's always treated me like one of her own. Like a true Filipino mother/grandmother, always tries to make me eat as soon as I walk through her door.

The day before Grandma’s funeral, when the rest of the family was arriving from the outer islands and the Mainland and congregating at the house, it hit me that someone other than Grandma was missing.  The days and nights I had already been there were void of a liveliness that was always present before.  Grandma Oming.  She was the life of the parties.  She always came to the preparations for the get togethers with a smile on her face and asking (in my younger days), “You remember me?”  You could hear her laughing through the din of the parties and spot her with her shock of white hair in the crowd.  I mentioned missed her to Auntie Al that night.  The next day, Auntie Al did a small eulogy before Uncle G’s, that was touching and mentioned Grandma Oming.  The floodgates opened and I was able to finally mourn that loss the way I should have last September.

Grandma Mar-C - she cracks me up!

The weekend I was home for Grandma’s funeral, I was supposed to be in Chicago for Nourished (a food blogger conference) and the Gluten-free & Allergy-free Expo.  I wanted desperately to go and see my blogger friends again and finally meet some others in person, yet every time I prayed about going, I kept getting a “no” feeling.  When Auntie Ai called me with the news, it was clear to me why.  I was supposed to go home instead of Chicago.  I was supposed to spend an enormous amount of time with my family.  I was supposed to remember that I have more grandmothers still living.

Yes, Grandma Vi, you will forever be my grandmother.  I thank you and all the other relatives for what you did to help Grandma when she was taking care of Lelang and Grandpa and after they both passed.  I know it was what any of us would do for each other.

Love bonds us all together for life.  Direct relation or not.

Grandma Zen, Grandma E (Grandpa's sister), Grandma Vi, and Grandma C. They all decided to mimic us doing shots that night. They are loving AND hilarious!

 
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Posted by on April 24, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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