US Capitol building June 2010

2021 Has Been a Year Already

On the second day of the new year, my father died. And on the sixth day of January 2021, we had doubts about America’s survival.

The new year has really kicked off in style, hasn’t it? And it is NOT wearing it well. 2021 has made a very poor first impression and will have to work hard to turn it around.

US Capitol building June 2010
June 2010 – a memento of a more peaceful time

I wrote most of what follows earlier this past week and have posted shorter versions of it to Facebook and Instagram.

Over the last few days, I’ve been discovering one way in which I may NOT be built for the pandemic life. There are times when even an introvert needs to be with people. The aftermath of loss is one of those times.

I am grateful to all of the family and friends who have responded to my sister’s and my Facebook and Instagram posts about our dad’s death on January 2 with kindness and sympathy. I’m so glad to live in a time when we have the connective powers of the internet. But we have rituals around death that involve the living coming together – to comfort, to remember, to celebrate a well-lived life that touched theirs. Those rituals are important and they are necessary…and thanks to the pandemic, we can’t have them right now.

And maybe it’s selfish, but I want them.

When my mother died, the family came together right away from all across the country. After my father-in-law passed, my mother-in-law had a full house for days. Now, I want to sit with people who know me – whether or not they knew Dad – and talk, or listen, or not. I need hugs and hand-holding and shared feelings.

While I am glad to be able to reach out online, I have to confess: it doesn’t give the comfort of presence.

I know my family isn’t unique during this Year of Out Coronavirus. Even when COVID-19 isn’t the cause of a death, it’s shaping what we do in its wake. We have taken care of the basic final arrangements for Dad. (I bought that “pre-need” cremation plan three days before it became a “need.”) But there’s no ceremony we can arrange just yet, and no clear sense of when that will be able to happen.

My introverted temperament did not come from my dad.

While age had quieted him a bit, Eddie Lantos was one of those people who never met a stranger and was always up for chitchat. He was well-known and well-liked in the senior apartment complex where he lived for his last 15 years. Dad was a regular at the local Senior Center until COVID closed it; he and his friend Tom met there for lunch nearly every day, and often attended the Friday-night dances there. (Once Dad started walking with a cane I worried a bit about the dancing.) He was involved with social groups at church—he really enjoyed those casino outings—and was the oldest member of his Knights of Columbus council.

In short, I’m sure he would have wanted a traditional wake and Catholic funeral Mass with a crowd to see him off. What Dad would have wanted is a version of what I want. We can’t give him that…and we can’t have it for ourselves, either.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 2,315 other subscribers

In Memoriam

In Memoriam

This isn’t the post I planned for today, but I don’t feel right talking about anything else today. (Some of you might have already seen this on Facebook and/or Instagram…feel free to pass on by.) I saw my dad on November 1, 2020, 2 months and two days ago. The photos accompanying this post were taken at my sistet’s house during that visit. It turned out to be the last time I saw him. He […]

Show-and-Tell MONDAY: Recapping Sunday

Show-and-Tell MONDAY: Recapping Sunday

The day started with a motorcycle and ended in a hospital, but despite what you might suspect, one had nothing to do with the other! But to begin by backtracking, this happened last Sunday: Yesterday. Paul and I began our morning with a ride to Malibu on his motorcycle, where this happened along the way: When I took my phone out of my jacket pocket after we got home, I found this text: An hour […]

Show & Tell Sunday: One Year with Winchester!

Show & Tell Sunday: One Year with Winchester!

On November 8, 2014, we brought home an addition to the family. Today we’re celebrating our first year with Winchester! Since he’s only four years old, we look forward to many more with him…even though he’s turned out not to be the dog we thought he was. The day we brought him home, and the first of many hours chilling on the couch with his best friend. Our little captain is on the bridge! There’s […]

This Is Not the Shaggy-Dog Story We Thought It Was

This Is Not the Shaggy-Dog Story We Thought It Was

 You think you know someone… When we first brought our dog home in November 2014, he came with a story: “Chester is an adorable 3-year-old petite Golden mix who loves to receive cuddles and attention, and gives plenty of kisses in return. Chester’s favorite pastimes are chasing tennis balls and making a game of giving the ball back to his people, playing with his knotted rope, and getting walks – there is so much to sniff along […]

Slowdown on Sunday: My Reading Mother

Slowdown on Sunday: My Reading Mother

“Richer than I you can never be — I had a Mother who read to me.”                 —from “The Reading Mother” by Strickland Gillilan I actually did not have a mother who read to me. In our house, the parent who did the reading aloud was my dad. And once I learned to read for myself, before I entered kindergarten, I really didn’t want anyone to read to me. My mother’s eyesight was so poor […]

4 Things You Can Do For a Family Whose Daughter Has Leukemia #beatcancer

4 Things You Can Do For a Family Whose Daughter Has Leukemia #beatcancer

As some of you already know, my stepdaughter Kate started chemotherapy for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) at City of Hope Cancer Hospital on Tuesday of this week. She will be undergoing an intense treatment regimen for most of the next month–maybe less, possibly longer, all depending on how her cancer responds. Kate’s visitors are being strictly limited. I haven’t seen her myself since she was admitted to the hospital, and I’m not sure when I will, but […]

Sunday Slowdown, Unwelcome Randomness Edition: #cancersucks

Sunday Slowdown, Unwelcome Randomness Edition: #cancersucks

Some of you already know this, but if you hadn’t yet heard, we got good news on my husband Paul’s biopsies–both were negative. He is cancer-free. But the bullet that he dodged hit someone else, and he told me he’d much rather have taken it himself. I believe it. Many parents would say the same. This past Thursday, my 20-year-old stepdaughter Kate was admitted to our local hospital. Routine lab tests at a doctor’s appointment […]

Paul’s PSA of the Day: Say Yes to Sunscreen

Paul’s PSA of the Day: Say Yes to Sunscreen

Today’s post was graciously approved by my husband, who will be spending this afternoon in outpatient surgery at UCLA Medical Center.  “So, the skin cancer they removed 2 weeks ago turned out to be a melanoma. So now I have to go back and get a larger chunk cut out (the black outline). They will need to replace the skin with a piece from my upper leg. Fun. All this because I didn’t wear sunscreen […]

Instead of 1000 Words…Happy Anniversary!

Instead of 1000 Words…Happy Anniversary!

A few photos from eight years ago today…some of my happiest memories, colored with love and anticipation of memories we have yet to make, together. Subscribe to Blog via Email Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. Join 2,315 other subscribers Email Address Subscribe

Celebrating 3 Decades of Chris (Not-Quite-Wordless Wednesday)

Celebrating 3 Decades of Chris (Not-Quite-Wordless Wednesday)

Our parenting stories are our own, and although there’s a stretch of years when it’s difficult to separate them from the stories of those we parent, eventually our children’s stories become their own, too (and parent bloggers find themselves floundering for new things to talk about). This story was supposed to begin on July 4, 1984. From the very beginning, Chris has done things in his own time. My parenting story began 30 years ago […]

WW: Reader, I Married Their Father

WW: Reader, I Married Their Father

October 21, 2006. We were all so much younger then…(and is it me, or do the kids look a little bit unnerved at the prospect?) An InLinkz Link-up Subscribe to Blog via Email Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. Join 2,315 other subscribers Email Address Subscribe