Wednesday, March 12, 2014

My Way

Allison, LeOra, me circa 1987.

In my last post, I talked about LeOra and I'm finally feeling like it has been long enough that I am able to write about an experience I had without getting too emotional.

For most of my adult life as a family we've been talking with LeOra about her pending funeral and jokingly about the things we want of hers when she dies.  My grandfather died when I was only 7 and maybe because of that we talk fairly openly about death in my family.  One of the first times that Matt D met LeOra in 2004 he told her that he'd sing at her funeral.  Her specific request for this was "My Way" by Frank Sinatra.  According to her, she moved away from home in Utah and married someone who wasn't the picture-perfect Mormon that her family expected her to be with.  She just made her way in California and if anyone could say that they lived and full and happy life, it was LeOra.

LeOra died on a Tuesday morning in late November of 2013.  I got the call around 10am while I was sitting at my desk.  When I saw my dad's text asking that I call him, I knew it was something bad.  He told me that she hadn't been responsive the day before and that at 6am, surrounded by her daughters and her oldest grandaughter, she slipped peacefully away.  I immediately stood up and asked HR how much time I could take off and told them that I needed to leave immediately.  I am lucky in that I have such a supportive office - our HR director who is also our CFO told me to walk back to my desk, pack up whatever I needed and leave without a word to anyone.  He said he would take care of it and that I should take off as much time as I needed.  At this point I was crying, but keeping myself together fairly well.

I rode the elevator with a coworker in disbelief that LeOra was really gone.  I walked slowly over to the subway and just let myself cry.  On the platform I walked over to the bench and began to sob.  I was just beside myself.  One of my closest friends and greatest heros had just died and I was just figuring out how to processes it all.  For those of you in New York, you'll know this, but there are very frequently musicians of all kinds performing on subway platforms.  Between sobs I noticed that there was a man beside me playing the violin.  After a few seconds I realized that I recognized the song he was playing: My Way.

Of course.  LeOra!

I sobbed harder and began to look through my purse for some money to give the old violinist.  I found a $10 bill and as I turned to give it to him, he looked at me.  He had tears streaming down his face.  I stood up to hand him the money and he put down the violin and walked over and put his arms around me and let me cry until the train came a few seconds later.

Three days later we'd made most of the funeral arrangements (none of which included Matt or anyone singing "My Way") and were sitting at her viewing.  For a while that evening I was able to sit with my mom in the room alone and talk about what a great grandma she was to me and how much she will be missed.  We'd asked the funeral home to not have any music playing in the background since it seemed a little cheesy for our/her taste.  Of course while my mom and I sat there, I noticed that there was some music playing from a little stereo in the back of the room.  A piano rendition of  "My Way" played loud and clear.  I called my dad on his cell phone immediately and said "Dad, I have an idea.  Call the organist and ask him to play 'My Way' as the prelude music tomorrow at the funeral."

After our family prayer before the funeral services, we walked in all holding hands as a family to the song LeOra always wanted sung at her funeral.  She did it just the way she wanted.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Oh, 2013. I am glad you are over.

I feel bad whenever I say that 2013 kinda sucked.  There were so many things to be grateful for - so many major blessings received.  Wonderful friends!  My job!  I live in New York!  My family is awesome!  Many of my friends have gotten married to great people!

But the heaviness remains.  2013 was hard on me.

My grandmother, one of my closest friends, passed away in November.  I've been feeling less weepy in recent weeks about it all, but even typing it is making my tear ducts wet.  I went to San Francisco to celebrate 100 years of her life even though she wasn't there anymore, and I was able to hold hands and cry with people who understand how I feel.  The last time I saw her, 2 weeks before she died, I told her how much I loved her and what a great grandma she has been to me.  I have no doubts that I will see her again and that we will dance again and laugh again, but knowing that I have to continue my life without her is just hard.  I miss her.  I will continue to miss her for a long, long time.  LeOra, I thought that you'd live forever.

Some close friends of my family died tragically toward the end of the year.  Friends were critically ill.  I went on some really bad dates.  I went on some really good dates, just to be fair.  Hey - I dated!  A friend pointed out to me the other day that I broke up with someone on New Years last year over Noah's Ark (I believe that to SOME degree it is plausible, but who knows/cares{apparently he did}).  This summer I went on a date with a guy who built his own boat and he took me out on it.  On December 30th I ended up on a date with a guy named Noah.  It all comes full circle, doesn't it?  

The Year of the Flood.

2014 is going to be my year - I know it.

In no particular order, here are some photos from 2013 that make me happy.  With so many wonderful friends, I shouldn't really complain.

If 2013 was any indicator, I should buy stock in McDonalds.

Here's to an even better 2014.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Autumn 2013

I hear lots of talk these days about how the word "busy" is a cop out.  If spending time with friends, exercising, working, commuting, and eating equal "busy", then that is what is going on with me.  Here are a few pictures from life as of late.

Apple picking in Upstate

Amber made a carmel apple cake for one of our Sunday night dinners and I haven't stopped thinking about it, since.

Our potluck dinner crew.  My fellow foodies are some good peeps.

I went to DC for a singles conference and saw Brady.  Been about 12 years at least.  For those who know who Blythe is, this is her brother.

I went to New Hampshire with some friends in October and we went apple picking again.  I think we spend more time taking photos at these orchards than we do actually picking apples.

The colors!

Not the best photo, but I love it.
Fallapalozza Family Photo 2013
Procession of the Ghouls at St. John the Divine.  This was cool...and very weird.

Daniel and me at Suzi's Halloween party.  I was wearing my jockey costume...and I'm not sure why we're posing like that.

Me and Lane heading out to a Halloween Party with friends

The Blaze is a jack-o-lantern festival about an hour north of NYC.  much more exciting  and thorough photos can be found here.

All made of pumpkins.  Thousands of them.

For Halloween a few of us went to march in the Greenwich Village Halloween Parade as the Rockford Peaches baseball team.  I will definitely do it again - marching in the parade was a blast.  
The day after Halloween I flew to California for a long weekend and was lucky enough to attend Connor's 5th birthday party.  How is he 5???

Theresa and I went to Target and bought matching sweatshirts, because...TWINS!  When I decide to grow up some day, I'm going to live next door to Theresa.  I need more of her in my life.  Side note: I had to laugh when I was at her house because we own so many of the same random products.  Is shopping also genetic?  Weird.  Shampoo, hand soap, moisturizer, etc.

Ryan and I playing in the bounce house.  Never too old, people.  Never too old.

Taylor - 13 going on 27.  My dad told me a few months ago that Taylor and I looked a lot alike and I didn't see it until I saw this photo.  Yikes.

On Monday I went for a hike in the hills behind my aunt and uncle's house in Marin.  Truly one of my favorite places on earth.

It was right around this time that I started thinking that maybe I'd taken a wrong turn.

With trusty Kallie by my side

And 8 miles later, I got home.  Woops.  I unintentionally almost killed the dog, I think.  Obviously I was just trying to kill myself and the dog just happened to be there.  #deathmarch2013

Me and Gram.  In exactly 1 month she will be 100 years old.  Hang on, Gram!  You can do it!

About an hour before I had to leave, I met up with these beauties for a quick bite and laughs.  Oh how I miss them.  I'm so glad that they are all still a part of my life.  I could go on, but sheesh. Love them.

More important reasons that I went to California, coming right up.