Saturday, June 15, 2024

Breakfast with Papa Callan

Happy Father's Day, everyone!

This photo was taken at Papa Callan's favorite diner just a couple of years before he shuffled off this mortal coil. You could say it was part of his grand farewell tour, which would culminate in his 97th year--to much fanfare and theatrical visits to the Milford, Connecticut ER. We had fun back then. Yes, even in the face of his approaching death. 

Is it crazy that I miss the most difficult and traumatizing days of my life as Papa's caregiver? 

A sadness descends over me this time of year. As spring arrives--so does Papa Callan's birthday. I am still brave and strong at this point in the year. Papa Callan would have expected nothing less of me. Next comes Mother's Day. Still, I am brave. I say to myself, this is just a Hallmark holiday made up by the card company to get you to spend money. 

After this, my mother's birthday. June 6th. D-Day. I imagine my mother and Papa Callan are leaning in, smiling, whispering. If only I knew what they were whispering I might feel better. If they were saying hey buck up there, kid and get on with things I would feel better. But honestly, I have no idea what they whispering. All I know is that they're close.

Next up. Father's Day. Hello, Papa Callan. And finally, on July 7th we reach the anniversary of my mother's passing. After this, I can breathe again.

I wonder if anyone else goes through this. It would help if I knew this was completely normal. And in the meantime, I am trying to be brave and strong. A good soldier as Papa Callan would have expected. A trouper as my mother wanted me to be--smiling, bowing, smiling, bowing as I make my way off stage--a rehearsal for my own final exit. I am 70 after all and I am not going to live forever.

Creative Friends--there will be treacherous months where you will find yourself navigating the turbulent waters of unresolved grief. You will feel distracted. Maybe even hopeless. It's hard to make art in this condition. My advice to you is--buck up! Carry on! There's no crying in art!

Except of course, when there is.

In the meantime, as Papa Callan would say--let's go out for breakfast. Let's have fun.



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