nine years ago today, this morning, i got that call we all dread. the one that tells you that your papa passed away. he just didn’t wake up. it was peaceful in the end.
in judaism, we believe that every memory is a blessing.
we have no afterlife. we have no worry where he goes.
i remember those days like it was in slow motion. happening to someone else.
i remember moments of laughter and reminiscing. i remember moments of laughter when my cousin(s) wife made a hilarious announcement about toilet paper of all things.
i remember the disbelief that my papa was really gone.
i remember the drive from west la to camarillo the morning he died. it was a sunday, the 2nd day of rosh hashanah that year. there’s was no traffic, and no matter how long i wanted the drive to take, it was as if we were around the corner. i remember listening to my radio as loud as i could to drown out the sobs. a drive that should’ve taken 45 minutes to an hour i felt was less than 15 minutes away.
……and then i remember thinking, this isn’t what papa would’ve wanted. he never wanted anything but a smile on my face. and i remember through the tears, i smiled. there was sunshine above on a gloomy morning and i remember being at peace.
for the 6 years prior to his passing my nana & papa’s lives were changed forever after a terrible “mistake” made on the part of a kaiser doctor resulted in my papa losing his leg. prior to that, he had been bowling the day before and bike riding with my brother the weekend before.
as i sit back and write this now, so many memories flood out. my papa was a wonderful man. he was loyal, he was caring. he was thoughtful to a fault. at every meal at every restaurant until the last time we were ever at a restaurant with him, he took the time to ask the waiter or waitresses name and introduce his family to him/her. now obviously embarrassing as all get out, but now, i miss it. that was my papa.
i remember about a year before his passing him telling me not to worry. no matter what happened my brother would take care of me. i didn’t really understand it. i’m not sure what he really meant by it, but, i think he was worried. he knew what i had been through and that almost had killed him. once i was back, he was the one and only person who never asked me anything. he never judged. i don’t think he wanted to know. he was just glad i was back. back as part of our family and never pressured me. that was a very hard part of my life and i’ll never forget his compassion and love.
my papa danny was a compassionate, caring man. i miss him daily. i talk to him often. sometimes i’m glad he’s not here to see what’s going on in the world but then selfishly i miss him again and want him back here with us.
i can’t bring myself to call nana’s house, nana’s house, i call it nana & papa’s. i can’t help it.
on this 9th anniversary of my papa’s passing i will be thinking of him more than usual. i will find something extraordinary to do in his name. i will allow myself to be sad, even though i’ll try to smile through the tears like he would want.
i love you papa…..today and always. not a day goes by that i don’t think of you or don’t feel your presence around me. it puts me at peace to think you’re watching over me. i’m trying papa, i’m trying to turn things around and make you proud. i promise.
hug your loved ones a little harder today. pick a sunflower and know that i’ll be doing the same and thinking of papa, because that was our thing, sunflowers. he knew i loved them, and not a time went by that he didn’t bring me one or a bunch. ~ traci xox