Archive | April, 2011

“Death is Nothing at All”

26 Apr

Death is nothing at all.
I have only slipped away to the next room.
I am I and you are you.
Whatever we were to each other,
That, we still are.

Call me by my old familiar name.
Speak to me in the easy way
which you always used.
Put no difference into your tone.
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.

Laugh as we always laughed
at the little jokes we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me. Pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word
that it always was.
Let it be spoken without effect.
Without the trace of a shadow on it.

Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same that it ever was.
There is absolute unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of mind
because I am out of sight?

I am but waiting for you.
For an interval.
Somewhere. Very near.
Just around the corner.

All is well.

Henry Scott Holland


Wise Words from Unlikely Sources: The Muppets Take Manhattan

24 Apr

Highlight #1: “Peoples is peoples.”

Highlight #2: Kermit’s facial expression.

On the Peculiarities of Time: Reflections of a Year

21 Apr

June and Rich in 1968

People ask me if it feels like a year since my Dad’s been gone. I don’t know how long a year is supposed to seem anymore.

Papa, Dad, and Mom

How is it possible that it feels like an eternity since April 27 and simultaneously feels as vivid and real as yesterday? I think when the heart is grappling with grief, those pesky universal rules of time and space do not apply. There are still days where, for a millisecond, I reach for my phone to call my Dad, or where I hear a joke and for a brief moment remind myself to tell him that one later. This morning I woke up and thought to myself, “Is he really gone?” It’s a cruel trick that the mind plays on us. But when somebody that you’ve known and loved for your entire existence is no longer part of this physical world, it’s a bizarre thing to comprehend.

At the Bronx Zoo

Does it feel like a year? A year is all at once a long stretch of time and yet no time at all.

So much has happened in a year. I worked my first full-time job and got my first apartment not paid for by the University. I adopted my little Bailey. I created the Remembering Rich team for the Lustgarten Foundation’s Pancreatic Cancer Research Walk and, with the help and support of loved ones, raised $8700 to find a cure. I began to acknowledge the bittersweet transience of life and determined which values and goals are of the highest importance to me.

March 2010

Among the highest right now are to move home with family, to heal together, to help each other. To fully immerse myself into a career where I feel I am making a significant impact on individuals and an imprint on the world; more specifically, to become an elementary and special education teacher. To examine my relationships with people and strengthen those that vitalize and inspire me and discontinue those that weaken and exhaust me.

(Hopefully by now you’ve realized this post is not going to be about Saved by the Bell.)

At Jones Beach

I experienced a lot of firsts this year, beginning with my first birthday without my Dad. Four days after he passed away, I was supposed to be celebrating another year in my life. That was a strange day, to say the least.

May 2009

And yet, it was still a beautiful day. It was on a Saturday, and nobody comes for Shiva on Saturday since it’s Shabbat. So I got to be surrounded by the people I love most – and the people who love me most – and be myself without a trace of self-consciousness. We reminisced, and we laughed, and we cried. And it felt like he was still there. We experienced our first holidays without my Dad here. Rosh Hashanah, Thanksgiving, New Years, and most recently, Passover. And we could still feel him here. I guess spending 20-something years with someone will do that. I hope it always feels that way.

Franklin Park Zoo, May 2009

Next Wednesday will be the last first on this journey: the one-year anniversary of his death. And this is where one year feels like no time has passed at all. The details of that day are so clear in my head, and I don’t think that will ever change. I will forever remember how we were all around his bed when he lifted his arms to the three of us in his final moment of lucidity.

Boston Pops, May 2009

How he dedicated his last ounce of strength to reaching out to hug us. How he was unable to speak, and how no words were needed to express the everlasting and boundless love that does not perish when a person does. How I lay next to him and we shared my earphones and listened to “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole, the song we picked out for our dance at my wedding. I know he heard it. How we were there telling him how proud we were of him—of his bravery and his courage—and how much we loved him, as he took his last breath and transcended to an unknown world where none of us could follow.

It’s been quite a year.

“Life is eternal, and love is immortal,
and death is only a horizon;
and a horizon is nothing save the limit of our sight.”

“To be awake is to be alive.”

11 Apr

My six years in Boston is coming to a close…for now. With the end in sight, I’m realizing that there are still a few things in this city I have not yet done, and I don’t want to make the same mistakes that I did while studying abroad in London. Like that one time I worked next door to Westminster Abbey for two months and never entered Westminster Abbey. (What a freakin’ idiot.) Now, there is a sense of urgency to accomplish the following before I return to the island from whence I came:

1. Ride the swan boats and giggle like the four-year-old children who will be sitting next to me.

2. Go to Walden Pond with a copy of Walden in tow; I’ll probably be the first person ever to do that.

3. Kayak on the Charles a.k.a. the Jarls.

4. See the Blue Man Group and think of Dr. Tobias Fünke the entire time.

"I just blue myself."

5. Eat in Chinatown.

6. Take Sunset Cantina with me.

7. And the North End.

8. Visit the magical land of Rockport one more time.

9. Go to one more Sox game before I have to decide where my baseball loyalty lies. (It does not, and never will, lie with the Yankees.)

10. Have a sunset picnic in my favorite spot in Boston: the dock on the Esplanade.

11. Find Ben Affleck filming another Boston-based movie.

12. Buy a quality Boston snow globe to add to my stellar snow-global collection.

13a. Cry uncontrollably in a rocking position in the middle of Newbury Street where the beautiful foreigners will smoke cigarettes and judge me.

13b. Cry uncontrollably in a rocking position in the middle of Faneuil Hall whilst being incorporated into a street performance.

Stay tuned for photographic evidence of these adventures as I cross them off my list. And then stay tuned for my proposed list of Long Island-based outings. There will be just as much stuff to do on LI as there is in Boston, right? RIGHT? (Please see #13 and #14.)