Archive for November, 2014

Schlepping Around LA

Probably the one thing that I miss most about not living near Jonathan, Liz and Joshua is not being able to just pick up the phone and call them anytime – being in different time zones nine hours apart – and arrange to meet them for dinner that evening.  We all decided that we would not fill every minute of the day with something to do and be more spontaneous on this visit, and leave more time to have with each other. Steve and I are working around their schedule since they are working, and we are schlepping into Los Angeles during the week to make it easier for them.

This past week – our first week here – we drove into Los Angeles to have dinner with Jonathan and Liz, saw their beautiful new apartment and had special time with them. Then on another day we drove to Hermosa Beach to have dinner with Joshua and Lupe and had special time with them.

On our drive from Orange County to Los Angeles we passed the exit on the freeway that we used to  take to get to my parents’  house and a flood of tears began streaming down my face, as I told Steve why I was so emotional. Then we passed the exit that we used to take when I went to the Kabbala class with my parents when I was visiting them, and the tears kept coming.  At first I said to Steve that I was happy that we don’t live here any more, as everywhere we go reminds me of my parents, since this is where we grew up and is where they spent 50 years of their lives. Then I calmed down and I embraced my feelings realizing that this is all part of the healing process. As everyone says, “Time is a Great Healer,” and by the time we drove passed what used to be my parents’ house the next day, I was able to get out of the car and look around at all of the changes that the new owners had done, and not get emotional. I had no attachment to it at all now as it wasn’t my parents’ house any more. Then I felt happy that I was back in Southern California to enjoy all of the good things about it again.

We finished the week with a family dinner at Mark and Diane’s house (Liz’s parents) – both families spending an amazing evening together – eating, drinking and catching up on everything.  We are so blessed that our families are very close and that we always have a good time when we are with them. Here is to many more happy and fun times together during our visit here.

Oh yeah, my girlfriends Carol and Esther met us at their house for a quick visit since they live so close and I even squeezed in a clothes shopping trip with Harriet earlier in the day.

I’m loving being back in our USA home with my family and friends.

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It was just a year ago that we began our previous visit here in Southern California and so much has happened since then. That trip was the start of a four month “visit from hell” as we watched my mom die and then my dad die, both within six weeks of each other.  Two funerals to plan and attend, two times of Shiva – mourning – and a house to clean out with 50 years of their stuff to go through – a lifetime of family memories – to get the house ready to sell.

And now we are back for the first time with them not here. It feels so strange as I go through many firsts. We had always stayed at their house with them, since we were there to take care of them and visit with them. Now I will visit them at the cemetery, only able to talk to them in my thoughts and to remember and hold onto a lifetime of memories of times shared with our family.  Now we are staying with friends and family for the next few months. As we drove up to our friends’ house in Orange County, not far from where my parents used to live, it feels surreal. The reality that my parents are really gone along with their family house hits hard. It did not feel like we were back home in the USA. It took a few days for everything to sink in and realize that it is a new normal.

There will be a lot of firsts on this visit – the first time they are not both waiting at the door to hug us when we come in, the first Veteran’s Day parade on the Huntington Beach Pier without them (I could not go to it this year), the first Shabbat we are not together lighting  the candles, saying the blessing and having dinner together, the first Thanksgiving, Chanukah, New Year’s Eve that we will not be celebrating together, as well as my dad’s birthday which was on December 25th – Christmas Day. Sometimes I catch myself wanting to pick up the phone to tell them something only to realize that they are not there.

Their unveiling is in a few weeks and even though there are a few more months of mourning and saying Kaddish for them every day, I feel that this visit will give me closure and I will come full circle able to move forward with my life and be able to enjoy being with our Jonathan, Liz and Joshua and all of our friends here, starting new family traditions and celebrating the holidays with our family together with Liz’s parents and family.

They are in a better place at peace together as they were for almost 59 years.

So we can now move on with our lives as Steve and I live between Southern California, South of France and England. Jonathan, Liz and Joshua can continue their adventures here in Southern California and visit us in France and England as we create our family memories together around the world.

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