May 28, 2010

Memorial Day Tribute to My Brother

This Memorial Day will be the first Memorial Day Parade my brother will miss in over 35 years.

Every year, he marched in or organized the parade as either a member of our school band, chief of our local fire department or as President of our Chamber of Commerce.

At my brother's funeral mass, I gave his words of remembrance (eulogy) and one of the many, many stories I told is one that took place at last year's parade:

My brother was riding in one of the cars on the parade route when he noticed an elderly veteran standing in the crowd. He stopped the car, walked over to this veteran and said to him, "No veteran in this town is going to stand on the sidelines and watch a parade. They are going to ride in it." He then led this veteran into the car and continued on the parade route.
I have met countless people who have retold story after story of my brother's selfless acts of kindness and how he had changed their lives for the better; all without public recognition or asking for anything in return. He made a habit of everyday making it his personal mission to serve his community come what may in order to provide a safer, more comfortable place for all of us to live and raise our families, despite the time and energy it took away from his own life.
So here's to you my dear brother.
You are at peace now.
You are with mommy and I love you.

May 26, 2010

Your Hands - JJ Heller

Found this video on the blog Silver Lining and thought it was perfect for what it is that I am going through right now. I hope it touches you as well.


May 25, 2010

Dating and Grieving

This Single Nester, as many of you know, is on match.com and you have been privy to my trials and tribulations of online dating.

I don't do much with my membership and this past month since my brother passed away has not been much different.

So, after seeing the president of match.com on the Martha Stewart Show extolling the virtues of his online dating site, I decided to contact customer service and ask them if they could suspend my membership until I have my head back on straight.

Well, here is match.com's email response:

Currently suspending your subscription or putting it on hold for a few months isn't a feature we provide. If you need to take a break though, we offer the option for you to hide your profile until you are ready to use the site again. If there is anything else I can do to help you, please feel free to ask. We wish you the best of luck in finding your match. Angela R. Match.com Customer Care

Are these people complete idiots? Hiding my profile still makes me lose time on my membership!! Thanks for understanding.

I sent another email to match.com inquiring why the president didn't mention to Martha that his company, match.com, has the worst customer service?

Here is the response:

I have added 30 days to your account, in an attempt to compensate for the time you will lose when you are offline. I hope this extra time is helpful. Ryann D. Match.com Customer Care

Thank you but why wasn't this done the first time? I am so fed up. Arrgh!

May 24, 2010

More Grief, More Gardening

I have received such wonderful and thoughtful and kind responses to my post - Garden Grief Relief . All of your prayers and "hugs" have touched my heart. Some of you have even shared your own stories of personal grief. I am truly grateful.

I had my Dad pinky swear that he would not work in the garden unless I was there. Well, he is a stubborn Italian and he planted some more veggies.

Some butternut squash -

And, halfway through the tomatoes, I caught him and helped him finish the rest - 24 plants.

Had my brother passed in the winter, I don't know how Dad would cope. Come the fall, that is another story.

"Man, when he does not grieve, hardly exists." - Antonio Porchia

May 21, 2010

Grief and the Single Lady

I wish I were writing about "Sex and the Single Lady" but not this month.

I am talking about grief and being alone. Do I have my dad and great friends and family? Yes.

But there is something to be said for having a man in your life.

A man to hold you and tell you it is all going to be okay.

A man who protects you and has your back.

A man who will chase away the boogie man at night when you find it so hard to sleep.

If I slept one hour a night for the two weeks after my brother died, that is a lot. You see, I couldn't sleep. I was so scared. I don't know why but I just couldn't.

And, I have not slept with my back to the bedroom door since my brother died. Again, I am scared.

There is so much on my mind. So many questions that I believe will unfortunately remain unanswered.

But it would have been so comforting to be wrapped in the arms of someone who was solely on my side.
"When you are sorrowful look again in your heart,
and you will see that in truth you are weeping
for that which has been your delight."
Kahlil Gibran

May 20, 2010

Divine Intervention

I have been working my way through the stages of grief. I am now in the anger phase. I am feeling a lot of hatred towards certain people who picked up hammers to put nails in my brother's coffin, if you know what I mean.

I have the names of the individuals who were so cruel to my brother that it led him to take his life. I love the Blog World but before and even after his death, the Blog World was not nice to my brother.

I am even angry at some family members.

I cannot let all the good work my brother did throughout his life, expressed to me by the thousands that came to his wake and funeral, be forgotten by the select few A$$holes who treated him so poorly.

Hate and anger are a perfectly acceptable stage to be in. I won't dwell in this phase for long, I am sure. But I will experience it and work my way through it, no matter how long it takes and no matter who tells me that anger is not good.

I am feeling I need to exact some revenge or tell people how I feel. Some who even had the balls to attend the wake and funeral and "comfort" my father and my family.

What f'n jerks. Who treats someone like crap and then attend their funeral? You know who? People who are filled with GUILT!

One of my brother's friends told me the other day to not stand too close to these people because when lightening strikes them, you don't want to be too close.

Feeling all of this, I decided it was time for some divine intervention. So I visited a priest today.

He was wonderful! I started out sobbing like crazy. It felt really good to sob. Boy did it ever since I have tried to be strong in front of my family. Out it came. By the end of the meeting, I felt better.

For the moment. Later? Who knows. I can only take it one day, one moment at a time.
"If possible, on your part, live at peace with all.
Beloved, do not look for revenge but leave room for the wrath;
for it is written, 'Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.'
Rather, if your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink;
for by so doing you will heap burning coals upon his head.
Do not be conquered by evil but conquer evil with good.
Romans 12:18-21

May 18, 2010

The Grief Diet is not a Particularly Good Diet

I weighed myself two days after my brother died and I had lost 8 lbs. I have lost 2 more since that first weekend, three weeks ago.

Can I stand to lose weight? Abso-freakin-lutely! I need to lose more but, this isn't the way to lose it.

It is as if my stomach has shrunk. I have a lump in my throat and a knot in my stomach that makes it hard to eat.

Last Monday, I didn't get to eat anything until 2:30pm. I made myself a ham and cheese sandwich. Nothing fancy. I could only eat 1/2 of it before realizing I could not get down any more. I had to wrap the other half in plastic wrap and eat if for dinner. When the heck has that ever happened for this food lover? Never.

The following day, I had a cup of tea and an English muffin. It was like sandpaper in my mouth and I threw the rest away.

I have to be kind to myself and realize that if I can only eat one meal a day, so be it. There are no rules here. I can only do my best. Whatever my best is on that particular day.

"Bread deals with living things, with giving life,
with growth, with the seed, the grain that nurtures.
It is not coincidence that we say bread is the staff of life."
- Lionel Poilane

May 17, 2010

Garden Grief Relief

Everyone grieves differently. There is no right or wrong way to grieve.

And, no parent should ever have to bury their child.

My father loved my brother greatly and was so proud of him. My father grieves by spending time in his garden. He begins back in the winter by taking his seeds from last years plants and begins the process of turning them into fabulous deliciousness.

He turns the soil. He plants. He waters.

My dad is 82 and had to be hospitalized after my brother's funeral. The grief was just too much for him. He is okay now with a clean bill of health. But now, when he needs to take on these garden tasks, I watch him and help him. I am scared that I will lose him. Because then, I will be alone.

I took this photo of my dad this weekend. I thought it was so poignant. He didn't know I was taking it but I can see and feel his grief.
Together, we planted sunflowers.
Swiss chard.
Zucchini.
There still is a lot to plant.
But, my Dad's garden will help him deal with his grief at losing his only son. I know my brother is watching my dad as he toils in his garden.
"Death leaves a heartache no one can heal.
Love leaves a memory no one can steal."

May 14, 2010

We Finally Have a Winner for my First Giveaway

Thank you so much everyone for your patience with the results of my first giveaway.

Because of the passing of my brother on April 23, the day the giveaway ended, I was unable to pick a winner.

For my first giveaway, I asked readers of The Single Nester to leave me a comment on how to meet a great guy so that this Single Nester becomes a Double.

I received many great suggestions.

From Kathy of Creative Home Expressions, Home Depot and Lowes might find me a hunky man.

Heather of Books and Quilts suggested the Calgary Stampede. Hmmm . . . a bit geographically undesirable for this New Yorker.

LisaLuLu told me to "keep my personality poppin" and Adrianna of Dreams of Perfection told me that a few good men could be found in the military.

Well, I pulled out a recently purchased beach hat from Land's End for the great price of $5.99and after a not so scientific method of choosing a winner (sheets of paper in my beach hat) the winner of this set of two fun and flirty picture framesis Lisa B. of Easy Frugal Living.

Thank you everyone for participating in my first giveaway and for your many kinds thoughts and prayers.

"Friendship isn't a big thing - it's a million little things." - Author Unknown

May 12, 2010

What was then is no longer

Isn't it amazing how one single, solitary moment can shape how you live the rest of your life?

As you know, my brother unexpectedly and suddenly passed away over 2 weeks ago. It has been a hard time and I have been trying to stay strong for my dad and for my two nieces. Quite frankly I am sick of staying strong for others. In doing so, I have not been able to grieve for the brother that I lost and some have forgotten that I lost someone too.

Some A$$holes have even told me how I should be grieving. And, this really pisses me off! How can someone tell another how they should grieve?

There are only two people that have the same DNA as my parents; my brother and me. Now, there is just one - me.

Me. That is the person I need to focus on moving forward.

How can you give to others when you have left nothing for yourself?

My heart has been filled with the thoughts and prayers of many. The blogging community has reached out to me and supported me in ways I never thought possible. I appreciate every one of your emails and comments.

I am sure I will be leaning on all of you in the future and please forgive me if my next few blog posts aren't the cheeriest.
" 'Tis very certain the desire of life prolongs it." - Lord Byron
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