life just really isn’t fair

the other day I found out that my uterus is falling out and I have to have it removed

the next morning, my father died

then, I broke out in a horrible rash that I finally got looked at today because I haven’t been able to sleep due to outrageous itching in my lady-parts

you know how it is almost orgasm-inducing to finally give in and scratch a really bad itch that you know you shouldn’t mess with but when you cave, your eyes roll back in your head and you can barely breathe because it feels so good…try that on your clitoris

it’s practically indecent

so the itch is due to an infection due to the cream that the ob-gyn used when she examined my faulty bits down there

but, while today’s doctor was inspecting the hinterlands she glanced at my thigh and said, honey, you’ve got shingles

seriously

no. seriously

I lost it; all snot and tears and woe is me

she said, I’d hug you but I’m pregnant and you’ve got shingles so actually, I’m going to get as far away from you as possible

mom said, what can we do to help?

I said, shoot me

my brother said, a little too quickly, okay

rat fucker

 

How we grieve

Five hours of tennis. Straight. One match.

Glued to the television. Hanging on every swing, every ping, every motion of the fuzzy yellow ball.

We are a family that loves tennis. We all played. I was horrible.

But that doesn’t mean that I don’t understand the thrill of hitting the sweet spot in the strings on the racket.

It doesn’t mean that I can’t appreciate a good match when I see one.

I have so many memories of my dad in his whites. I can still smell the mixed fragrances of sweat and tennis balls and an after-game Tom Collins.

Mom owned a tennis shop. Mom also played on a country club team. It was The B Team.

The B Team was my family. Mom used to say, “Why would I want to play on the A Team? They’re much too competitive.” The B Team was all about having fun.

The husbands and children of The B Team were as much a part of the team as the players themselves.

Mom and a couple of her teammates owned a tennis shop – The Court Jester. It was my first job and one of my dad’s first tax write-offs.

When we were in London for a business trip of my father’s, he got sick. While he was lying in bed in the hotel, Mom and I planned a day at the Tate. When we got on the underground and looked at the map to determine which stop was ours, Mom realized that Wimbledon was at the end of the line.

She debated for maybe a millisecond then announced that instead of a museum, we were going to watch tennis and we ended up watching Martina Navratilova on Centre Court.

One of the greatest moments in Strazza family history.

So it made perfect sense to the three of us here today that we would spend all day watching a ball fly back and forth across a net, periodically stating the obvious, “Dad would love this match.”

I don’t know how other families do this, but the Strazzas did tennis today and it was absolutely perfect.

this is so surreal

It doesn’t seem real. It doesn’t seem like he’s gone.

The house isn’t any quieter – my mom and brother and I make plenty of noise – my poor dad couldn’t get a word in edge-wise when all of us were here.

His chair is still in the den – my brother sat in it tonight. My mom sat in her regular place. I sat on the love seat between them and we watched Wimbledon.

I went grocery shopping today; there were a few items that I didn’t need to purchase, but basically, the grocery list was the same as always.

Just not as much ice cream.

We also went to the Funeral Home today – that was bizarre. Everyone speaks so softly and wears a benign (comforting?) smile on their face. They were all men – big burley men – men in grey suits. The couches in the waiting area were covered in vinyl and they served coffee with powdered creamer.

Sitting in the office of the Funeral Director talking logistics seemed to have nothing to do with my father. When you talk about “the deceased” it’s easy to forget that that person is connected to you.

Marshall, the man in the grey suit with whom we met, asked if Montclair, New Jersey was one or two words.

One. But I told him that New Jersey was two words.

I went back to the funeral home later in the day to spend time with my father. Mom and my brother decided to not go – they had each had their goodbyes.

I went because I thought that seeing him would help reality sink in.

But it wasn’t real. He wasn’t real.

They took him out of the fridge and put him on a medical cart and covered him with a sheet and placed the cart at the front of the sanctuary – where the alter would be in a church. The lights were dimmed.

For a more peaceful atmosphere? To make him look better? Who knows.

Whatever the intention, it didn’t work.

He just looked fake and he was as cold as a popsicle and his lips were glued shut so he didn’t gape but they didn’t do a very good job and he just looked unfamiliar.

I cried for a minute. Then I lay down on a pew and stared at him. After ten minutes, I left. Dry-eyed. There didn’t seem to be anything else to accomplish in that room.

So I went to TJ Maxx and wandered the aisles. Then I went to the Publix to buy hamburger meat.

My family is funny. Funny funny, not odd funny. My dad was really funny. We tease each other. We can get a giggle out of most anything. So we laughed a lot today and gave each other a rash of shit.

Then we went back to tennis.

When my sweet boyfriend called to check in, I almost felt guilty for not crying.

We’ve talked as much about the godawful heat in Florida, in July, as we have talked about Dad.

We have brief moments when someone starts to crack. Eyes well up. A laugh almost turns to a sob. But no one has fallen apart.

Yet.

Is this all normal?

It’s normal for the Strazzas.

As normal as can be with our patriarch gone.

 

 

It finally happened

the thing that we’ve been waiting for, anticipating, dreading…

my father has died

yesterday

totally expected, and yet, totally unexpected

meaning, we’ve known it was coming, but yesterday started out as a good day, an unextraordinary day, and then, in a moment, it became extraordinary

I am on my way

for what feels like the millionth time, I am in the dallas airport waiting to get on a plane

because this has happened so many times, I continue to imagine that everything there will be like it always is when I arrive

but it won’t be

and that won’t really hit me until I see his empty recliner

(the one from the medical supply store that launches a person onto their feet so they don’t have to get out of the chair of their own accord)

I have absolutely no idea how to do this

Spelling has gone to the dogs

This morning I have been online reading about corgis and their wretched tendency to bite the hand that feeds them – literally…even if that hand belongs to a seven year old boy who has done nothing but love and snuggle with that corgi.

Anyway, not the point.

The point here is:

I read multiple articles and what I learned was that

Hoomins need to be the alfa dog thruout the day.

I’m not fucking kidding.

Dilemma

I have a piece of artwork that has got me in a quandary.

It’s a painting, done by a friend, that is beautiful, that is huge.

And that is so connected to him; he gave it to me in the woo-ing me back stage. I had mentioned once in passing that she was an amazing artist and that she had done this one…

And we all know what happened after that.

There’s some additional history to this gift that I won’t get into, but suffice it to say there’s a second one out there too.

So I hung it on my wall here because the space screamed for an extra-large piece of art.

But in the process of getting over him, I took it down.

And now it’s propped up against the wall in my house while I ponder on hanging on to it even though I have nowhere truly safe to store it.

But I do love it so.

For now, though, I I walk by it and think, “Oh yeah, there’s that fucking painting.”