I started to put “again” in the title, until I realized that I’ve never been whole. I have been growing since the powers of the Universe worked together the night I was conceived. Created in pure selfless unconditional love, by two so in love they couldn’t bare to be apart. Losing my makers too soon has had a profound effect on me. Most lose their parents sometime in their life, be it at birth or decades later. Rare is the time parents outlive their children (That is a hard burden to bare). I lost my parents within seven months. Loss is Life. As hard as this loss is, I need to accept this new reality and continue on with my Life’s journey. Hoist the Sails!
I am Meehow Wujek now, Patriarch of the Dzwonkowski Family from the roots of Diane and Chester. Tomorrow we have our first family event, a Sailboat Launch. This is the final mourning ceremony for our parent’s passing. We decorated the sails at Christmas, the first Holiday we celebrated without them both. There is a Dog-tag Pendant securely fastened to the deck containing their ashes. All sails rigged and ready to go. Raise the anchor!
Sailing my parents off into the sunset brings closure to their life’s journey on this earth. It is time to take what I’ve learned within the 53 years I was raised. I can become the whole person I never was. With my parents departed, I am Free to be the Man they raised. This is my new beginning. Embracing my new roles within the hierarchy of the family. I vigilantly take the helm of this Family Boat to steer to safely down the Rivers of Life. Set Sail, Captain!
As this posts- My family and I will be burying our Parents in the Florida National Cemetery. I’m still numb from all this loss. Yet, here I am placing them Both into a Columbarium in January of 2017.
Mom & Dad – Together Forever. This is the Second of Three services in their Memory. The Final one sets them Sailing into the Sunset.
My Dziadek conveyed to me the Importance of Ceremony many years ago. “We need the time to Remember, Celebrate, and Share. There is Nothing more Important than Family”, he’d say.
1.11.17 13:00 11.1.17
Chester 8.9.1941-12.5.2016~&~Diane 8.27.1941-4.28.2016 ~ Together Forever
In Tarot the “Death” card ultimately brings change. Death has transformed my life in many ways. One role I’m struggling to accept is that of Patriarch. With my Bopchie firmly in her role as Matriarch, there is no one in the family lineage for me to turn to for guidance. I must become the family Sage. This hit me yesterday when I received a rattled voice message from my grandmother. Busy outside removing the Christmas lights, her call was missed. Feeling lost and uncertain she began calling my sisters looking for me, she needed assistance ASAP.
WWIT?! Fifteen minutes had passed between her fist call to me and the one I returned to her. Yet, she seemed as if it had been hours by the panic in her voice. During the call she nearly called me Chester (her husband) once and actually called me Chester (her son) twice. She was stressing due to her doctor’s “demand for an in-office visit.” She didn’t know how she was going to make it to the appointment, “the doctor wants me there by Ambulance in a stretcher”, she screeched! I quickly assured her that “I would be there for” her. I would arrive in plenty of time; to transport her to and from the doctor’s appointment and to make sure home is locked and secure. She says, “The High Point office always tells us to lock up due to so many robberies in the area.” I assured her that both home and she would be Safe. The appointment is the day after Mom & Dad are laid to rest.
This responsibility has passed to me, soon I will be her durable power of attorney. I understand her, I know her story. She has survived her husband and son all while living alone in her home. She has homecare and is so afraid of being in “an assisted living facility (ALF).” Her future is scary and uncertain. I willingly and lovingly consider it an honor to hold the reigns given to me by my father to care for my 98 year old grandmother. This is an obligation that I do not take lightly. She is our Family Matron and could easily out live her Sister Mary, who passed away at 103.
Three days in and 2016 still haunts me. I finally scheduled my father’s burial. He will be laid to rest in the Florida National Cemetery, with full military honors on 11 January, 2017. The magnitude of this date didn’t hit me until my sister, Debbie reminded me. I’ve been so focused on my Dad that it completely slipped my thoughts that we will be laying both our parents to rest with this service, WWIT?!
Grief is a strange bedfellow. It makes you question everything, especially your own mortality. It grabs hold and just when you think you’ve shaken it off, it tightens its grip. With each loss my grief is at a different point. There is no order in which the “5 steps” are happening for me. The feelings of denial, anger, bargaining, depression and even acceptance fill my mind at all times for Mom, Dad and my Izzi. Focus eludes me.
Three days into 2016 I wrote the following on Facebook. Little did I know last year that I would need these words to get me through today:
Finally, I am posting something new. Closing out 2016 and opening the door to 2017, yes it is just another number on a calendar. Yet, society places such an importance to the date it is submitted to our subconscious as a fixed point in time. Time to move forward, put the past year behind and make new goals. My logical mind understands all this, but my emotional and instinctual minds are arguing between Fight & Flight. A strange state of mind to be sure.
Walking around my home today I glimpsed for the first time in a while, all that I have. Love surrounds me. Memories of my parents through the decades of Christmas ornaments on the tree. Each one a memory of “Last Christmas.” This time of year has always been bittersweet to me – the time to put Christmas away for another 11 months. Each ornament, tenderly removed from the tree wrapped and safe, ready to be remembered again next year.
Tonight begins the New, a New Year, a New Life, a New Country. Let’s hope my logical mind regains control, there is a lot to face in this New Year – Mom & Dad need to be buried, Bopchie’s affairs are now my responsibility and there is my career to which I must return. Emotions have been in control since Christmas, tonight I’ll make a toast – To New Adventures and Growing Relationships- may they both be many and merry. Here’s to 2017!
WWIT?! Death doesn’t Stop because the Date on the Calendar Changes!
Time Marches Forward!
I’ve tripped in my struggle to keep in step, being trampled by my own grief. I have endured emotional, mental and physical strain. I am paralyzed as feelings of loss, emptiness and loneliness surround me. Traumatic stress appears to dominate my existence. I fight to encapsulate the events of 2016, yet they constantly overcome me.
Papa Can you Hear Me? ~
Father Figure ~
I had given Dad my copy of the film Into the Woods months ago and he attempted to watch it in his final days. I’m not sure how much we was awake for, but he remembered most of it and said he liked it. This musical has captivated me since it was first staged on Broadway nearly thirty years ago. As a then young theatre major, a new work by Stephen Sondheim was astonishing and intriguing. For me it has always been a story of perspective and how we don’t fully understand our interconnectedness. The song “No One is Alone” exemplifies this leitmotif when they sing, “witches can be right, giants can be good, you decide what’s right, you decide what’s good.” This twisted tale gives us the basis for every child’s tale told while reminding us that “wishes are children” and that “children will listen” to everything we say.
The Wood is the central character, the forest, thick and dense representing all that is Life. At home all is safe, yet one step into the wild and who knows what will happen. It is only together we can overcome the Wood and survive. “Sometimes people leave you, half way through the Wood.” I’ve lost a lot in the Wood this year, I stagger as the thickest of its foliage envelopes me deep in its darkness. It all rushes toward me as the year swiftly ends and the sun stops its decent from the sky. I long for the Light and search for it every day.
I shared a lot of experiences with my father and mother as we traveled though our woods. Now I feel trapped in torpidity and hebetude without them. With them gone I have been entrusted with a new responsibility, the care of Grandmother. I feel like “Little Red” arriving at grannies and not only is there a wolf, there is also a Bull & Bear too! Never underestimate the power of the Wood, it is always changing. It’s how we chose to navigate that Wood which defines us.
On this fourth Sunday of Advent the wreath is fully lit and the holy day is quickly approaching. We should be ready to receive the new light now. I disclosed three of my favorite instrumental hymns from the season, today I share these three vocal selections.
Remember this, no one knows the way life goes-
Last Time by Moonlight by Enya. This song came to me last year with its foreshowing message that I didn’t quite understand yet. I know now.
We have not forgotten-
Christmas Canon by Trans-Siberian Orchestra. While we never forget the story, we seem to forget the lesson from time to time.
I see the hurt, I see the pain, I see the human race-
Universal Child by Anne Lennox. We are all the Universal Child, we are one.
Arriving at my sister Teresa’s home for the family Christmas Celebration, my niece Christine hands us a slip of paper and asks us to write our “Christmas Wish or Best Christmas Memory” upon it. We were then instructed to enclose this wish inside an ornament ball for the tree. These will be opened and read next Christmas, we are told. Christine’s project made me ponder.
Every Christmas has its own memories, moments we cherish and recollect as we gather through the years. Some memories are captured in pictures (from the B&W prints of my youth to pics posted on Facebook today), yet, most memories are found in our hearts. The memories of past Christmases fill us heart & soul, with joy, happiness and sorrow. As soon as I was queried, EVERY Christmas memory flooded my mind.
It’s because we gather as a family at this same point in time, every year. In doing so, we create markers in our lives and the memories associated with those markers are carried forward within us. Every year the gathering gets bigger as the family grows, yet we find that some years one or two are missing. Throughout this evening new memories were created, celebrated and collected. Yet the memories of this Christmas were already hanging within the ornaments on this year’s tree. By bringing our deepest wishes and memories to the surface, we enshrined another Christmas, this Christmas, for our future selves.
My Christmas Wish is that there are More guests than Balls next Christmas.
(photos by – Teresa Lucas)
Twenty years ago this Christmas classic was released. Then it was an homage to war torn Sarajevo, today I sorrowfully add Aleppo to the title. We always seem to rescue ourselves from the madness we create. Yet, not before way too many lose their lives. I begin my Christmas every year with this song, to remember that peace is elusive, fragile and needed.
A song that has been part of my Winter canon since college, Nollaig (the Gaelic word for Christmas). The melody has always haunted me and brings tears to my eyes every listen. Hearing it this year, the tones of this tune hit my heart heavy. I present this one for my mother.
Carol of the Bells-
There is no other song that gets me in the holiday spirit like the Carol of the Bells, (also found in the first selection). I have yet to find a version I do not like. This is a newer one and I like it quite well. Time to finish decorating my house. May the coming light, brighten your lives now and throughout the New Year.