Dad’s phantom 85th birthday and an upcoming Italian wedding

Solitary.  Before you were born...

Upside down angel

There is not one thought in this head.

Can a person write a blog with nothing in the world to say?  With no important theme to share?  Nothing strung together in connected paragraphs?

Let us try.

Today shines forth as a Sunday afternoon in the north woods.  Leaves wave in yellow-green glory, heralding June.  It’s a bit cold (mid-50’s) and breezy.  I wore a purple hooded sweatshirt with a “Florida” insignia while sitting on the deck chatting with my mom in lower Michigan.  She asked me if I remembered about tomorrow.  Tomorrow?  Many thoughts flitted in this head, but none resonated with her question.

“Tomorrow would have been Dad’s 85th birthday,” she patiently explained.

The famous singer of Camptown Ladies--and me.  Happy birthday, Dad!

Cheers, Dad!

Ahhh.  My dad.  Gone more than three years now.  If still breathing and coughing and walking and driving and drinking coffee he would now have reached his 85th year.  Instead, green grass surrounds his grave site.  One of his coffee-cronies from the Red Dog Cafe in Yale died this past week.  His name was Jim Cronin.  My dad introduced Barry to him at the coffee shop several years ago, and Barry really liked him.

My mom and brother plan to attend his visitation tomorrow night.

Age.  How steadily it creeps around our doorsteps, trading youth for wisdom.  (Or so we would like to think, right?)  Barry and I have three parents 86 and older.  One or more of them have said, “Getting old is not for the weak”.  I wish we could see them all more often.  I wish…but wishes are like birthday candles, soon blown out.

My dad gone for over three years now.

I am smiling thinking about him.  He always makes me smile when I sit with his spirit.  Hi, Dad.  Hi, Daughter.  Shine on Silver Moon.  What a wonderful world, Louie Armstrong.  I see skies of blue, and clouds of white.  The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night.  And I think to myself…what a wonderful world.

Kathy and Dad...

My wedding

Except when it doesn’t feel like a wonderful world.  When the world’s misbehaving–refusing to give us what we want.  We want life, health, happiness, the appropriate politicians.  Joy mixed in, maybe.  Good tidings for our children and parents and brothers and sisters and… We want to be living, perhaps, with integrity.  And we can’t always meet our own standards.  So the world is sprinkled with suffering in between the wonders, isn’t it?

I used to try and turn my perception toward the positive, again and again.  Not to feel the pain of the world.  To reinterpret things toward acceptance instead of pushing away.  Yet, lately, my spiritual journey insists upon the integration of positive and negative.  To feel what’s arising in the body and heart.  To really feel it, without a story.  This has been good.  Really good.  Really hard at times.  To feel repressed emotions and bring them into the loving arms of awareness.

In an odd way our hearts grow wider when we begin to develop the ability to stay present to all emotions.  To not lock pain and sadness and anger and despair and boredom and loneliness and anxiety into internal closets and throw away the keys.

Gondola Heaven--me & my daughter, 2007

Daughter and me in Venice, Italy, 2007

Later this month we’re flying to Italy to hear our daughter and her fiance say “I do.”  A new chapter in our lives.  A new son-in-law.  A new committed beginning.

I am really excited about this trip.  About all the newness, the adventure, the delights.  The young couple exchanging vows.  Friends and brothers and wives/fiances joining us.

Yet, remembering previous trips I know there will be moments of challenge.  Times of not-knowing, confusion, irritation.  Moments when I want to turn left and everyone else turns right.  Not knowing how to use the bathrooms, phones, hotel keys in a foreign country where the English language isn’t primary.  A dozen confusions, surely.

I want to relax into every confusion and allow it to be.  To greet not-knowing as an age-old friend.  To stay present to everything, good and bad.

And I probably won’t.  And that’s OK, too, the way we aim for the stars and often deliver the earth.

Wine glass stem--and stars

Wine glass stem–and stars

So look at what happens when you have NOTHING to say in the world.  All you dear wanna-be writers and bloggers and precious beings:  keep sharing your stories, even when you have nothing to say.  Because Life itself has something to say THROUGH you.

Ciao, bella!


About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
This entry was posted in June, 2019 and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

33 Responses to Dad’s phantom 85th birthday and an upcoming Italian wedding

  1. tthomp75 says:

    How meaningful your blog is this time. RIP Jim Cronin! I do remember him. How fortunate to be able to go to Italy (again). That would be fabulous. I could relate on being in a country where English is not understood very well or not at all..

    • Kathy says:

      Tammy, I find it delightful that the first person who commented is someone that knew Jim Cronin! I don’t remember him exactly…although feel like I know him through Barry, my dad and mom. I am SO looking forward to the wedding in Italy! I turned over the calendar to June a day early just because I’m that excited. 🙂

  2. debyemm says:

    I resonate with your perspective and I believe you’ll have only happy memories after the wedding, no matter what vexations appear. Happy for you and for your daughter. Weddings are such optimistic events.

    • Kathy says:

      Oh, memories! You’re right about that, Deb. Memories quite often paint a happy picture, minimizing those vexations almost to the point of non-existence. I have been remembering three recent weddings and remembering how delightful they all were. Yet each of them held moments of vexation, drama, imperfect humanity coming forth. It gives me a strange great comfort to feel ALL of this as a whole. Thank you for the good wedding wishes!

  3. Carol says:

    I gotta tell you I really enjoyed your “nothing to say”. How exciting to have a wedding in Italy! The frustrations and the pleasures are what makes the salad of life fulfilling.

    • Kathy says:

      Carol, I love that phrase. The “salad of life”!! Yes, really excited about the wedding. And amazed, once again, how a mind can be completely empty of anything to share–and then a whole blog can be born. How does that happen?

  4. rehill56 says:

    Love how your nothing turned into something! AND I love the sitting with both positives and negatives. I so often have the expectation that I won’t have to deal with negatives that they surprise and then disappoint…so recognizing that life is full of good and bad and not running away and sit with it in awareness helps me to appreciate life in all its fullness. Or something like that…or nothing…lol. So excited for your trip too! 💞

    • Kathy says:

      YES, Ruth, you get it! All those expectations that things are only going to be “good” and lovely and wonderful. But it seems that “real” life has more to do with the fullness of it. The whole picture, with the positives and negatives all swirling together. Not running away–like we can do for most of our lives, because it feels too painful to feel into the core. Thank you again and again for being YOU!

  5. Barb says:

    Love your Dad reminisces and photos. How exciting to travel to Italy and share in your daughter’s happiness. All you need to know in Italian is “Amore!” Thinking of you. Have fun.

    • Kathy says:

      Barb, ha ha, you’re right: Amore is a good word to remember! I can say it to taxi drivers and tour guides. *smiling* Thank you for your well wishes. Safe travels back to Breckenridge. I enjoyed reading your last blog post.

  6. Pattijo says:

    Oh so much emotion reading your nothing blog, I’m remembering your sweet dad, Jim Cronin and feeling sad for Linda. This has been such a difficult month for me, how can the loss of my Daisy be the most difficult thing I’ve ever been through? I’m trying to just be present and own my feelings and wait for the time that memories of her will bring me joy again. Peace to you Kathy💖

    • Kathy says:

      Pattijo, I have been thinking of you a lot this past month and wondering how you are doing. It does sound like Daisy’s death has been very painful…the last of your precious dogs to pass away. I like that you are staying true to your grief and just being present. Many blessings and hugs to you… ❤

  7. Tilly travel says:

    I am so glad to have found your blog again, your writing is as beautiful as ever.

    Bright blessings

  8. You show here exactly and perfectly how we never have nothing to say (how’s that for a double negative?). Positively speaking, I love reading your “think aloud” thoughts.” I follow them, nodding, humming even, with your inside being speaking to our outside being which then moves inside us with ease and warmth and love. The warmth and love for your dad is there, between and amongst the lines. Trying to understand the un-understandable. Sneaking in the joy that’s interspersed with the sadness of times/people gone by. The wedding – a new beginning. A joyful reunion of past and future. I cannot wait to hear about your Italian adventure. xo

    • Kathy says:

      My dear writer friend, isn’t it really amazing that this happens? Literally there was not a thought in this head. I only had a desire to share something, anything. And it seemed like there would be nothing there at all to share. How many times do we people believe that and cut off our stories and sharing? I know I continue to believe it at times, and it’s almost always proven false. A story is percolating beneath the surface, like coffee. A story teller is diving into the ocean of consciousness and so often a pearl appears in the oyster of sharing. Ha ha! I do love how you snuck (sneaked?) everything into your comment: warmth, love, not understanding, joy, sadness, the whole kittenkaboodle. I am not going to look up that word to see how it’s supposed to be spelled, because kitten-kaboodle feels like coffee percolating. ❤

  9. Lori says:

    I’m so excited for you and your daughter and the Italian wedding. I hope you’ll share some of it on your blog with photos. I live through other peoples’ travels, you know. 😉

    I know how it is wishing you could see parents/family more often. I was way too far away for 27 years. I’m blessed to be back and near them again as they age. They both turn 80 next year (they are divorced). My warmest thoughts on your dad’s recent (phantom) birthday.

    The theme of this post, taking the good with the bad, reminds me of a quote I posted back in September. Every time I read the quote I feel like I’m transcending both good and bad and simply being. Thought you might like to read it.

    • Kathy says:

      Lori, that quote is stunning–and so right on. YES! Thank you for sharing it.
      So happy that you were able to make your return journey back “up north” and that you can be near your parents in their waning times (times which will contain both joy and challenges I am sure.)

      Smiling at your excitement for our upcoming wedding! I am quite undecided about whether to bring the “big girls” camera or just to go with the phone. So far am leaning toward the phone, but may regret that. I am so ambivalent about that bigger camera and mostly avoid it. However, love the quality of pictures it takes. Sigh. We shall see what develops!

      • Lori says:

        All I know about the camera-thing is that the photos you share on your blog are striking. They capture the essence of both the world we see and a world beyond what we see. I can tell you that when I want to go deep, I bring the good camera. When I just want to settle into an experience and not worry about photos, I use the phone. Don’t know if my experience helps you any, but there ya go. ;-P Good luck. But, I really do look forward to hearing about it.

        The quote I shared is by Paul Ferrini. If you’re ever so inclined, I highly recommend his books.

  10. Christie says:

    So happy to think about your father today as I read your blog. Your parents will always hold a special place in my heart. I am so excited for you and your family as you head to Italy to celebrate with Kiah at her upcoming wedding. I can’t wait for you to post pictures of the trip and of course the wedding. Please give Kiah a big congratulations from one Spartan to another.

    • Kathy says:

      Hi Christie! I must admit that I chose to post this blog post on my main Facebook page because I was thinking of you! It makes me smile thinking of you in the sun room with us. And thank you for your well-wishes about the Italy trip. It feels like we’ve been waiting for this for so long and now it’s almost here. Will give her your sweet well wishes!

  11. Kathy — Happy phantom birthday to your dad. And happy up-and-coming nuptials to your daughter and soon-to-be son-in-law.

  12. “To feel repressed emotions and bring them into the loving arms of awareness.”
    Beautifully put, Kathy. I’ve been working at accepting what is, too. Dropping the story and thinking of feelings as ever-changing weather, with storms and sunny days, works for me. Dropping the words “always” and “never” from my vocabulary helps, too. 🙂 Sometimes it take a lot of effort.

    I love the picture of you and your Dad. *hugs* Enjoy your daughter’s wedding!

    • Kathy says:

      Barbara, I am so happy that you understand and have been doing the “work” of this, too. I have learned a lot lately about how it’s really a journey of bringing Presence down into the body, into our nervous systems. Challenging indeed.

      Will enjoy the wedding, thank you. It’s getting closer all the time!

  13. Lovely post! To have so little to say and be able to share so much! Love the reminiscing of moments with your father. You have been blessed!

    • Kathy says:

      Marge Katherine, thank you. It can be amazing to have nothing to say and then to watch our fingers start typing. 🙂 I am glad you enjoyed the memories of my dad–so glad that Mom reminded me it was his birthday. This was the first year that might have escaped my memory.

  14. dawnkinster says:

    Looking forward to hearing more about the wedding….and maybe seeing pictures!

  15. Aaaw how wonderful that you can always find something to write about. It seems that as one ages the years fly by- at least for me they do. You have sweet memories of your dad and no one can take that away. Going to Italy for your daughter’s wedding must be an exciting time. I hope all goes well for you and Barry during your trip.

    • Kathy says:

      Yvonne, how very nice to hear from you! I hope all is well with you. It was a lovely wedding trip indeed. Things didn’t go 100% well the first three days (I had digestive issues) but after that things smoothed out and we made memory after memory…

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