I’ve been thinking and soul searching a lot more lately considering the fact that father’s day weekend is here and I am one of many that no longer has their biological father on earth. My father’s birthday was also this week and quite honestly, as the years roll by realizing I cannot pick up the phone to simply hear his voice is heart wrenching for me. I hesitated to blog about this topic but, if it helps even one person who reads it, it will be well worth the effort to look past uncertainty. I sit here and my eyes well up with tears as I attempt to express myself on this topic. It really doesn’t get easier to live life without the people who have shaped who you are growing up. That is of course if they were nurturing and an instrumental part of raising you.
While being fortunate enough to have parents live long, healthy and active lives occurs in many families, losing a parent or a loved one that has been such a pillar of strength and support at any age can really cause a significant shift. A shift in how you respond to once was held as traditions and a shift to how you move forward in life. Confused? Stick with me, I’ll explain.
I will bet that I may not be the only one left on this planet that likes and enjoys a little bit of tradition in their life and it doesn’t necessarily have to be a holiday in order to honor old ones or discover new ones to add to the joy of celebrations and instilling traditions. Without question my father was a family man. When he met my mother and fell in love, he soon after chose to allow his entertainment career to take second place and become more of a hobby than his livelihood. He took on a job at a big corporation in Manhattan that had him commuting to and from Long Island, New York just to ensure the stability of a steady income. He worked incredibly hard and gave everything he had to provide for my entire family. I never knew how grueling commuting and holding on to his job had been and how much it took to maintain a household until I set out to re-invent myself and moved to Florida. As we become adults it’s amazing how much we realize we may have taken for granted when we were young and how we are enlightened as we develop and mature but, that’s another topic I’m happy to elaborate on another time.
My father adored my mother and family values. So much so that he didn’t mind to have my grandmother come live with us. ( My mother’s mother who we called Mima ) So many people would feel burdened to have an in-law move in with them but, not my father. He welcomed Mima with open arms and treated her as if she was his own mother. ( She treated him as if he was her own son too! ) It was pretty awesome and I am so lucky to have had this family dynamic. My father was active in recreational sports with my brother like fishing, swimming and softball and he was also very involved in participating in choir variety show rehearsals with me and everything my brother and I became interested in. He was present and he ALWAYS made time for us. He believed that HOME & FAMILY came first!!! Oh, how this pulls at my heart strings as I fight back the tears to continue.
My brother and I grew up in a Roman Catholic household. Maybe not the typical Roman Catholic household of Sunday school and the consistency of attending Sunday mass but, we did come together with community outreach by way of the entertainment realm. Our lives were also enriched by the traditions we held on to such as family gatherings, dinners, events, recitals, games, sporting events, birthdays and holidays with our cousins, immediate family and friends. Around most of these events and occasions Hallmark was at the center of them. Why Hallmark you may question? We all felt that Hallmark meant Tradition. That the name Hallmark described giving and sharing the very best with the people you care about. It was a way to express a token of gratitude through a simple card, wrapping gifts with Hallmark wrapping paper and through the years collectable gifts as well as stationary to use when writing letters. ( Yes, actual letters to add a postage to and send via old school snail mail…lol ) I’ll stop aging myself for the moment…;)
So much has changed! So much has happened since these cherished and memorable years that have left me wondering how to continue to enjoy the traditions that were formulated and treasured so deeply. It’s a new day, Hallmark has gone in a new direction that is seemingly creating new traditions. While the theory of adapting to new directions in life is indeed progressive it doesn’t mean we should forget, erase or ignore that beautiful and meaningful traditions once existed. The traditions that came before new ones. The traditions that paved a path. To remain grateful for that path is how I choose to honor my father and continue with tradition by way of a new tradition. My father is MY Hallmark. I can DIY to my heart’s content to bring warmth and personalization to gift giving, card making and gift wrapping etc. He may be in heaven now but, that’s how I am able to move forward without the piece to the puzzle and with continuous change. If you too feel a sort of emptiness after losing what you have felt to be tradition, look deep within…you’ll find something to hold on to and make your own. You’ll put things together and figure out what works for you. It will become your new TRADITION and a way to remain connected with the messages and traditions you grew up with without abandoning everything you’ve ever known and resonated with.
My purpose of this blog is to reveal something that has weighed heavy on my heart and has caused a lot of confusion for me. While we don’t have control over some of the things that happen in our lives we do have control in how we react to them and move forward.
Feel free to share your thoughts as to how you cope with loss, home, family and traditions in the comment section below. It’s helpful to connect and share input even if it's just to remind ourselves that we are not alone.