An Italian-American living la dolce vita in the Deep South

An Italian-American living la dolce vita in the Deep South

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Getting through the Firsts

All the firsts following the death of a loved one are so hard: the first holiday, the first birthday, the first vacation, the first family reunion.

This Friday will be a first for our family since Papa is coming for a visit and, for the first time, he'll be coming alone.

We are terribly excited about his visit, and yet we can't wrap our minds around the idea that things this time will be different. In the past, we gathered in the front yard to welcome them both. Nana would walk up our porch steps carrying the leftovers from wherever they stopped for lunch along I-95, and Papa would follow carrying their pillows and Nana's purse.

Year after year it was like this and so we can't imagine it otherwise.

This week we've caught ourselves saying Nana and Papa a lot ...

this Friday when Nana and Papa come ...
Nana and Papa are coming to your game ...
do you think Nana and Papa want to ...

I think, with over 50 years of marriage, we had stopped thinking of them as Nana and Papa, but rather as NanaandPapa ... one word, because the two never did anything without the other; they finished each other's sentences and made decisions as one.

So this first of Papa coming alone will be hard.

When I spoke with him a few days ago I told him I was planning meals -- that I was going to feed him well -- and was there anything he'd like me to fix. He said he likes pies, and so pies I will bake ... homemade crust and all. He said he has a craving for Manhattan Clam Chowder. I have never made Manhattan Clam Chowder but I will find a recipe and we will cook it together.

And since Papa also likes to stay busy, we have some projects for him: replacing recessed lighting with pendant lights; hanging a new chandelier in the master bathroom; replacing the belt on our dryer, which just broke today.

Night and Day ... Heaven and Earth ... North and South ...

Mom and Dad ...

Nana and Papa.

There are just some things that belong in pairs.

So, really, this weekend when Papa sits down to eat a slice of apple pie, Nana will be there because she wouldn't miss dessert for anything.

When Papa and I make the clam chowder, Nana will be there scribbling the recipe on a scrap of paper which she will then add to her recipe collection.

No, Nana may not be here physically, but Papa will be.

And wherever Papa is ... Nana is somewhere nearby.

13 comments:

Poirier said...

Tears in my eyes. What a beautiful blog!

Ellen Stewart (aka Ellie/El/e) said...

You know, the firsts are hard, but so are the seconds and thirds. My mom died almost 19 years ago, and I still have moments when she should be here. With my dad it's been since 2000, and it's the same.

When I got engaged in 2007, I was bereft, because it was them I wanted to share the news with most.

Sigh.

Anonymous said...

Brava Maria, you have been able to express your feelings so well. I too share these feelings and I know that it will seem so strange to have Papa here without his dear Nana. Like you said, I have never encountered one without the other.
I know however that Nana is watching down from heaven with her "birichino" smile.

MOM

Tiziana said...

Ho difficoltà a rispondere a questo blog perchè non trovo le parole giuste per esprimere i sentimenti che mi hai suscitato: malinconia, tristezza, ma anche gioia e serenità e la certezza che una bella famiglia è la cosa più bella che si possa desiderare per sempre.

PAOLA said...

Cara Maria grazie per il blog: ha arricchito la mia giornata

Laura said...

Tissue alert was necessary for this....lovely, lovely post.

Soutenus said...

Dag blast it -- I am crying. And as I type this I realize that this little sorrow is but a teeny tiny fraction of what you feel.

Blessings, my blog friend! When you wrap your arms around Papa . . . know that many of us are hugging him (and you), too.

Lisa said...

Aw, dangit, Bia. You made me cry, too... Blessings for Papa -- and Nana who's most definitely with him.

Darla said...

So sad...so hard for all of you! Hopefully you can, at the same time, make some good and special firsts, along with the more sad ones.

E said...

You will be wise Bia. You will speak about missing Nana and in the talking you will make a new memory. She will be with you int hat conversation.
Blessing to you....How lucky Pap is to have all of you

:o) mg said...

Sadly, I knowwhatcha mean.

Lisa said...

Boo hoo - but it's okay. Nice memories with a tinge of heartbreak - or rather, 'heart hurt' for me. He's got a great family, full of love and caring - and pie making! Thanks, Maria et al

Amy Jo said...

So touching...what a beautiful post. I had not read your blog for a while...I have missed it! What a lovely family you have! Such beautiful sentiments...I am teary eyed after reading...thank you!