Uncle Bill

January 23, 2007 § 7 Comments

I just found out that my “uncle” Bill committed suicide on January 7th.

He wasn’t a blood relative, but living overseas and being a military kid made them hard to come by. In all aspects, he was closer than any of my ‘real’ uncles ever could be. I remember being as young as four years old and running through his house, eating candy, and going to the old once-screen movie theater on the military compound in the Philippines. I remember looking up to his older kids and wanting to be like them. Our familes worked our way around the world and ending up in the same city in Florida. I remember holiday gatherings, taking his younger son to Lollapalooza, and babysitting his grandson. He was there for me when my father died, as well as there for me when I got married.

And then I remember hearing about Aunt Cathy losing her long battle with cancer. I was already in Atlanta at the time, and sent condolences through my family still in Florida. I heard he had changed dramatically, obviously depressed by his loss. Mom hadn’t been in touch with him, the yearly Christmas letter stopped arriving, and “I don’t know” became the answer when we asked about him.

There’s always a sense of regret with someone’s passing. I know this because it took me years to come to terms with my father’s death. He was such a good friend to my parents and us, and I feel awful about losing touch with him during the last couple of years. I have no idea what he was going through. I can’t imagine what it took for him to take his own life and leave his kids and grandchildren behind. All of those times I could have (should have) called have passed, and now I’ll never get to tell him how much he was loved by us.

Portrait with Daddy

September 27, 2006 § 2 Comments

My dad would have been 79 years old today.

I’m Back!

July 11, 2006 § 2 Comments

I’m back from my whirlwhind trip home to see my new niece.  It was great to spend time with my mom, sister, and brother-in-law, and the baby is absolutely adorable.  And chunky.  And goofy.  I spent a good deal of time fighting with my mom over who gets to hold her.

Here’s me finally meeting her:

I finally meet Jordin!

And obviously we had to go get dim sum.  She’s not really into it yet, though.

First dim sum!

My mom watched the baby one night and my sis, brother in law, and I went to eat Giant Ass Chicken Nachos™ and beer.

Giant Ass Chicken Nachos

After wrestling Jordin from my mom, I let her sleep on my boobs.  See, they’re good for something!

My boobs make good pillows

Since I’m the educator in the family, I thought I’d go ahead and start teaching her gang signs.

Teaching my niece gang signs

She’s also pretty good at kung-fu.

Everybody was kung fu fightin'

Here’s a pic of all the girls (my sis, me, baby, mom).

The Girls

All in all it was a great trip.  I’ll be back soon, and hopefully she won’t grow too much!

Circle of life, and all

June 23, 2006 § 5 Comments

Originally uploaded by mingaling.

My father died nine years ago today.  I think it’s fitting that my new darling niece looks like him (even if a little squishy-faced!).

I’m an Aunt!

June 20, 2006 § 18 Comments

Jordin Elle Harris*
born at 2:30 pm
8 lbs 2 oz, 19 inches
Winter Park, Florida

Sister is doing well and thanking the baby jesus for modern medicine, my brother in law reports that the baby is the most gorgeous thing he’s ever seen, and my mom is as giddy as a school girl.

*Please note that I had no influence whatsoever on that name.  Um, hello?  Where’s the Ming?

Pins and Needles

June 20, 2006 § 5 Comments

The doctor decided to induce, so they broke my sister’s water this morning and we’re waiting for the pitocin to kick in. 

I’m on pins and needles waiting to hear the news.  My cell phone is glued to me and I keep looking at the clock.  I know she’s just fine – she sounds so happy (yet bored) and my brother in law is awesome and will definitely be there every step of the way.  My mom will be getting there shortly, too, and I know if I ever get to have a kid she’s pretty much the only person I’d trust around my post-birthing hormonal state.  As quiet and reserved as my mom is, it’s pretty much unimaginable to think of her doing anything else but mothering.  She makes it look so effortless.  Sis just sounded so happy, anxious, and a little bit scared, and I did my best to cheer her on.  I mean, why worry about forgetting how to do something when you’ve got like 10 people in and out of your nether regions for hours upon hours?

I hate that I’m not there, and I was almost in tears this morning about it when talking to her.  It’s hard to explain to someone who isn’t that close to their siblings… we moved around so much when we were young and we pretty much stuck together since that’s all we had.  She may be five years younger and completely different, yet it feels like we’re practically the same and can finish each other’s sentences.  She is undoubtedly my best friend. I will see her and the baby in two (long) weeks, but just miss everyone so much it hurts.

*UPDATE:  Mom calls to tell me sis is quite happy with the epidural.  Talked to sis, and she’s pretty much numb from her knees to her back.  Drugs are awesome!

Painful Reminders

June 16, 2006 § 13 Comments

Story Corps made me weepy this morning.  That’s not unusual, but the theme centered on this weekend – Father’s Day.

As I walked around the shops and glanced at advertisements, they all reminded me of Father’s Day sales, what to get dad, how about something he’ll love, etc.  Lucky kids who still have their dads ponder what to get him, how to spend time with him, brunch perhaps?  Grilling?  All painful reminders. 

My father was traveling on Father’s Day in 1997.  The family all made plans to celebrate and give gifts when he returned.  I painstakingly picked out two shirts that he really wanted.  Daddy was a big guy, so I made sure to track them down in the specialty big &tall stores for him.  But I never saw him alive again.  He suffered a heart attack in his parked car halfway to his destination, and he suffered second-degree burns sitting in that hot car in the Texas sun (it was hours before anyone had found him).  By the time we got there he was unresponsive and on life support, and we had to let him go.  After he died, we flew home only to find our much more empty house filled with wrapped and unopened Father’s Day gifts sitting on the table.

That Story Corps interview was of a daughter interviewing her dad, and I just sat there and couldn’t think of anything I wouldn’t give just to have one more conversation or word with him, to tell him I miss him…  So forgive me if I’m bitter and sad this month.  They’re just painful reminders of the empty space in my heart.

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