Internet Blackout

For February vacation, my family and I went on a cruise.  While on the cruise I had extremely limited internet and very little news available.  When I came back to the continental U.S. and had internet access again, I was very sorry to hear of the tragedies in Turkey. My condolences to those who have lost friends or family, or who were injured,  through bombings and/or violence. 

Once again it brings to the forefront our mortality and vulnerability to acts of violence, which is always difficult.  Life is hard enough with illnesses and accidents, without death coming announced by others’ hand.    

So a moment of Internet Silence.  Rather than blog about my vacation today, I will wait until tomorrow.  It does not seem right to mix the two posts. 

The Things He Was

One year ago today, my father died.  I could lament all the things he will miss. (Weddings, Grandchildren, and General Awesomeness)

034

However, I feel this day deserves a celebration, because my father was truly amazing.

For starters, he had some good stories.  The first time I was going to bring Bülent  home, we had to take down the twin bed in my room and set up the old double he and my mom used to share.  Apparently he bought it in the sixties and I was treated to the entire history of the bedframe.  Which I suppose was only fair as I only set it up to share it with my BF.

Also he started the Wellesley Fuck Truck, oh, I mean the Cuddle Shuttle.  When my father went to Brown in the 60’s he took some time off.  In that time he chartered (and drove) a bus between Wellesley (all women’s school I went to) and Harvard, MIT and Dartmouth (all men’s at the time).  When he stopped driving the bus and returned to Brown, the student body at my school demanded a  replacement bus from the administration.  I was also slightly wary introducing myself to alumnae from the 60’s and 70’s should they remember my last name, via my dad. 

danJag

He was awesome with kids.  Seriously.  He rocked the 2-10 age group like a rock star.  Reading stories, finding age appropriate activities on-line. 

Dude rocked the babies 

Dad soph

He was a feminist.  My body was my decision from way back.

He was a family man.  I never doubted his devotion to us as a family.  He would love nothing more than spending time with us.

He was a reader and lover of books.  Both my parents instilled this in me.  There is still nothing more exciting than opening the first pages of a new book.

P7130926 - Copy

He had strong hands for a computer guy.  Often his knuckles were bleeding from some home improvement project, but he never noticed it unless one of us told him. 

He talked to everyone and anyone, often creating friendships and bonds with strangers who entered his life. 

He swore like a sailor when appropriate.

He was a fighter.  Life couldn’t have been easy.  There have been tragedies and triumphs.  He was diagnosed with cancer back in 1998.  He fought with a vengeance.  Our family, and those who know us were able to appreciate that time we had.  Of course we wish for more, who doesn’t?  No one wishes they had less time with their beloved family members.  I am glad I had the time I did and the memories I had.  I have learned many things from my father, raunchy jokes and tragedy included, and am glad for everything I had.  Every movement of it. 

Dad

Hoşgeldiniz to 2013

Welcome to the New Year!  I hope everyone had safe and happy New Years celebrations.  Bülent and I have been so busy lately that we welcomed the New Year from bed, where we had been snuggling and watching movies.  It worked for me!  Start the New Year as you mean to continue right?  I am sure many people are thinking about New Year Resolutions and how to make changes.  I think I am just going to continue the journey I started several months ago, trying to appreciate the good, and live a more balanced life.

It has been a difficult year.  This day last year I was packing my bags to go back to the U.S.  I  had taken a leave of absence due to my father’s health and was supposed to head back at the end of the semester in late January.  I had spoken to my family a couple of days before and I had decided to change my plane ticket on December 30.  It was expensive to change a ticket two days before the flight, but it was the best decision I ever made.  My father’s funeral was on the original date in January on which I was supposed to arrive. 

I had taken the semester off and my school had hired someone to take my place, so I stayed in N.H., grieving and healing with my family.  It was difficult to be separated from my husband for six months, but has changed our relationship for the better.  We are stronger and more united, we know there is nothing we wouldn’t do to help the other…been there, done that.  We have now had bad and trying times and just love each other more for our individual responses to them. 

My time in the U.S. last year was very precious to me.  It allowed me to spend time with my mother while she needed me, and while I needed her.  I was able to get to know my brother as the man he is now, as opposed to the boy he was when I left.  I was also able to get to know his long time girlfriend, who is as lovely inside as she is out.  I went to my college roommate’s wedding and celebrated her happiness with her, and our college friends, some of whom I haven’t seen in five years.   I drove from Texas to New Hampshire, meeting Bülent’s dearest old friends, and visiting mine along the way.   I also went to BlogHer ‘12!

My oldest and dearest friend made me an Auntie—albeit in a terrifying way.  Due to her daughter’s insistence to make a (extremely early) entrance I was able to meet her in the NICU before I came back to Turkey.  

Health wise: Bülent and I went vegetarian (almost six months now) and I joined a gym a few months ago.  The breast lumps have been vanquished—well not vanquished but at least identified as benign.  To top it all off, our dog, Butterfinger, is not letting cataracts get her down.   

The year has been challenging and rewarding.  I am hoping that this next year will be easier, because we kind of need a break.  But we are starting the year off right.  Last year my dad wanted to take our family on a last vacation, a cruise, due to his limited mobility, but he died before we were able.  

Well, we are taking that fucking cruise.  Come January break, my mom, brother and I are going to go.  We are going to celebrate what was, what is and what is to come, because that is what life is all about.  So 2013—bring it on!

Survived!

I have survived the first week of school.  It went pretty well.  I missed teaching and the kids.  There is something special about the first week of school, when the kids are a little scared and trying to make a good impression.

A lot of my students from last year have come looking for me and have asked how my father is.  They knew he was ill, but are surprised when I tell them he died.  A couple times little girls have actually teared up.

Being back I knew people might ask how it was to be home and how my father is. What I didn’t expect from people is the comment…Wow you had a really long vacation!  They seemed to skipped over the terminal illness and death thing.   I had a particularly awkward encounter with  my neighbor.  First she commented on my long vacation, I said I went home because my father was very ill—he had cancer.  So then she asked what kind.  I said prostate because I don’t know how to say endocrine tumor in Turkish.  She said, oh..that’s not so bad, my father has that, then she asked how my father was now.  Dead.   I think she has been avoiding eye contact.

On my quest to have a more balanced life, I have been going to bed earlier this year.  It makes such a difference to go to sleep at 10 instead of 12.  It makes the morning so much less painful.  On the other hand, it is a habit that makes mornings come early.  It means that by 9 am this morning, I had showered, blown my hair dry, had breakfast, and walked the dog.  I had tried to sleep in, but to no avail.  I have a wedding to go to tonight.  I will have to take a nap to be able to stay conscious past 10!

Resurfacing

I am starting to get back…to what?  Not to the way things were, but to a new normal.  After the wake and service, everyone else’s life went back to normal.   Ours still has a huge gaping wound in it.  Nothing works or functions the way it used to.  All of us have issues, and daily reminders.  There is nothing like starting the day by trying to cajole the dog to do her business.  Sometimes she will do so if bribed, but otherwise is still waiting for Dad to walk her.

For the last few weeks I have not wanted to really do anything, see anyone.  The impulse to isolate myself is slowly fading.    A couple of weekends ago I went to a good friends wedding.  I was able to see friends I haven’t seen in five years.  I had a great time, and opened up a little more.  Friday I met up with a childhood friend I haven’t seen in about 20 years, and we were able to really connect and had fun.  I have been off the grid for a while, but am slowly making my way back into life.  One day at a time we are building a new foundation for the way our lives are now.

A Date…

Today I had an interview.  I took the semester off to take care of my father.  I was also going to postpone a practicum for my Masters in TESOL.  However, since my father’s death, I don’t need to put off my class.  So today I went to a interview for my practicum.  Though, it is a little less than ideal, since I brought few professional clothes,  and there are very few ELL learners in rural N.H.  The interview went well, and then I went on a romantic date…with myself.  I took a walk in the adorable downtown, and bought some luscious chocolate covered strawberries (for my mom, my brother and his girlfriend and me.)  Later I went to the sushi bar, and had a delicious meal, for one.  It was actually a very nice time.  I am still not really ready to be out and about with people, so this was a lovely way to go out with out social pressure.

My Father, Dan

Born 1943-Died January 19, 2012 after a long and valiant battle with cancer.

956955958_Rf2Tx-XL

Dan was a complex person, passionate about life and his family. He had a raucous sense of humor and a quick wit—he filled our lives with warmth and mirth. He fought for the best he could provide, for our family and our community. As a man of conviction, he may have butted heads with others along the way, but never let that get in the way of his integrity and honor. Despite the many hardships he’s encountered, he’s always been an adamant optimist. I think there are few people who could survive what he had and still be able to say that.

He was a fighter, when he was first diagnosed with cancer 15 years ago, he fought with a vengeance. I remember him telling me he just couldn’t leave when we were so little. I am grateful to him for that, that though I still feel “little,” I am now an adult who knows my own mind and heart, largely due to him.

He had a presence so huge that it is hard to imagine a world without him. I am grateful for every moment I had with him, and every memory I have for the future.

188698_168449296538977_100001217232902_419511_8221005_n

1943-2012

He will be missed.