Sunday, August 2, 2009

Great Caesars' Ghosts

Recognizing that even before the Caesar boys, Juli and Augie, got involved and decided that the greatest evidence of one's legacy was thirty-one days of hot and humid weather, thus forever rendering the meaning of the names of the year's final four months moot, today would not have been the first of the year there is a fervent hope - here 'neath the snow globe - that having reached 08/02/09 a change is indeed going to come.

Today marks the first anniversary of Nanny's death. It was on this very morning one year ago that Margaret's grandmother - her mom's mom - died in her sleep. At the time, while Margaret was distraught, as were her mom and her Uncle Mike (Nan's son), after the initial combination platter of shock and sadness had been polished off all concerned were able to step back and marvel at the life Nan had lived. All ninety fours years of it.

None of us reasonably anticipated that the mourning clothes pulled out for Nanny's services would get the amount of use that they did in the year that followed. One week following Nanny's death, her sister Meni died - which meant that in seven days more than 180 years of life exited the stage. And the final, most tragic act in what became a trilogy of sadness took place ten months to the day after Nanny's death. Suzy B. - my bride's mom and Nanny's daughter - died in the wee small hours of 06/02/09, ten months to the day after her own mother's death.

I am not a religious man so there is no one or nothing to whom or which I pray. It is not only an exercise in which I do not engage, it is one in which I typically have difficulty understanding why others do as it strikes me as little more than simply bones on boards. But I suspect that today Margaret, Joe, Frank, Uncle Mike and the rest of the family shall arise with - if not a prayer - then at least a hope. A hope that the dawning of the second of August aught-nine does not mark the arrival upon the scene of the second of the apocalyptic Four Horsemen but rather a sea change of sorts. A seismic shift in the collective luck that has been hovering over her entire family for the past twelve months.

The journey from 08/02/08 to 08/02/09 has been a trying one for Margaret, Joe, Frank and the entire family. Yet, through it all - while they have had more than their share of awful days, shed more than their share of tears and mourned the loss of more than one pillar of their tribe - they have all kept on keeping on. They have done what they must - lived their lives - even when it has hurt them to do so. Even when pressing onward and forward has made their bones ache and their hearts hurt they have done so. For not going forward is akin to giving up and each of them has too much love for the other and too much love for those who have been lost to the ravages of time to ever, ever give up. Sometimes we press on not simply because we want to - but because we must.

One year further on up the road, Nan's absence is felt every day. It is an absence that has been exacerbated by the fact that we are but two months up the road from the death of Suzy B. I know not whether it is irony or coincidence that a mother and daughter so close in life are now linked so closely to one another in death. I know only that today is 08/02/09 and if there is any justice in this world, then the 365 days to follow shall be better than those that preceded it.

The alternative is simply too terrifying to consider.


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