A grandmother is a mother who has a second chance

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Why I blog

I've seen a couple of people write on this topic so thought I'd give it a try. Those of you who have read my blog before know that my father passed away last Saturday after a steady decline in a nursing home in Chicago. He's been in that home for a couple of years and Ed and I would travel to Chicago at least four times a year to see him. We would always try to take him to restaurants he liked (he loved going to Shaws for the 1/2 price oyster happy hour), drive downtown to see the holiday lights, take him to the John Hancock building for lunch (his favorite place in Chicago), anything we could do to bring some joy to him.

During one of those trips a year or so ago, I bought a little book called "To Our Children's Children". The idea is that older people (like me!) go through the book answering a series of questions and write those answers down to leave your story to your children. Since I knew my dad wouldn't be able to do that, I highlighted the questions I wanted to ask and spent several hours with him and my laptop finding out the story of his life. I wish I had done it sooner because, at the age of 84, there were so many things he had forgotten. But we had a good time. He got to re-live some good memories, I heard some things I hadn't known, and there were a couple of times that his stories made him laugh so hard I couldn't even understand what he was trying to say. The last couple of years he didn't have much to laugh about, so it was wonderful to hear that sound.

Earlier this year I was talking to Jenni about the book and Dad, and I said that I wish I had the time and energy to write it all down. Along with other stories about my mom, and the rest of our family. Coming from a fairly large Italian family, there was always a lot of laughter, a lot of characters, and a lot of stories. And telling them always brings me joy and makes me feel closer to all of them again. Even the ones who are gone. That's when Jenni suggested I start a blog. Of course, being me, I thought that was a dumb idea - I mean isn't that something only teenagers do and who the heck would ever read what I wrote. But Jenni said she'd read it and there are services that can print out all your blog pages and turn them into a book.

That sold me. So I started this last February. It's been fun, cathartic, and given me the opportunity to write down so many things that I don't want to be lost after I'm gone. I love my family, I've always felt strongest and the most loved when the family is together. And I want to honor all of them - past and present - by preserving their memories.

This past week, I've come to see another side of being in blogland. The new friends you make. I've received such wonderful supportive comments and e-mails from people I only know through the Internet - Cheryl, Chris, Ira, Lisa, Melissa - and some bloggers I know in person - Catheroo, Scoobers, Jenni. Losing a parent is a lonely thing. Even though I had become the "parent" in this case, he was still my dad. His passing left a hole in my life. But the caring words of all of you have helped fill that hole. And for that I'm grateful.

So I'll go on writing stories about my family and someday my kids and my grandkids will hopefully feel the same joy about all of them that I do.

Thank you for reading, commenting, and caring.


Scoobers said...

I love this post. I love that you're here and telling your family's stories and keeping your father's memory alive.

(that Jenni sure is a great instigator and motivator)

I will always be a faithful reader.

Big hugs and kisses to you!


Desert Diva said...

I think the greatest expression of love after you lose a parent is to honor their memory by sharing "stories."

Although I lost my father when I was very young, I did see my mother decline and eventually pass away. I know exactly what you mean by "becoming the parent."

I think "sharing stories" by blogging (or journaling) heightens our own awareness regarding loved ones and helps us to reflect on the importance of family.

Desert Diva said...

Thinking of you in this difficult time, and hoping that you find comfort in the special relationship you had with your father...

Fleur de Lisa said...

When my son was born, my parents gave me a book similar to the one you're talking about. It's the most cherished thing! Even though my son is fortunate enough to grow up with them in his life, having a written document will be so precious to him just as it will be to your sweet grandchildren!

Catheroo said...

I am so glad you started blogging. Although I've known Jenni for years, it's so nice to get to know her mom through your writing (and to hear hilarious childhood stories about Jenni). You're my favorite mom of a friend. That sounds lame, but it's true. :-)

I also feel like I know your dad more than just meeting him at Jenni's wedding. I hope you share more stories about him because you have a captive audience.