July 9, 2010

So last night I was flipping through channels and started to watch a really bad reality show that I will otherwise never admit to watching. Really, it’s just that embarrassing.

The reality ‘stars’ of the show were getting married and during the ceremony they stopped to remember those who could not be there for the event, specifically the brother of the groom who had passed away many years ago. At that moment, the camera thoughtfully panned from the wedding couple to the parents of the groom who were all visually moved by the moment and were obviously reflecting on the memories of their son and brother. I am not sure how many years had passed since the brother had passed away, but the impact seemed to be intense, even after such a long time. It was actually a very nice moment for such an intellectually retarded TV show.

It was particularly meaningful to me only because I have recently spent a lot of time thinking about the enormity of my mother’s passing and the impact it has had on my life. Just one year later, it’s still very real and seemingly “unrecoverable”.

I had originally setup this blog just after we learned that mom’s medication was no longer effective, so that I could share it with her and show her how much she meant to us (Chole’s Quilt). But to be honest, even before my mom started to lose some of her cognizance, she never really took much interest in the blog. Understandably, she had other concerns to think about – and plenty of heartfelt gestures of support and love to remind her of how much we cared in “realtime”.

But now I can’t help to wonder if she knew how much of an impact her absence would have on me [us?].

Would her selflessness and modesty have prevented her from assuming how much she would be missed? God, I hope not. I hope that unlike me, she’d had the foresight to know how hard this would be; how unnatural the world would seem to those of us who still think of her every day. I hope she knew that she’d leave behind memories, and grandchildren, friends and art to fill the void just enough to make it somewhat bearable, most of the time.


Happy Independence Day

July 4, 2010

I have a lot of pleasant 4th-of-July memories, especially of the fireworks show that we used to watch from my grandmother’s backyard.

Her house is located across the street from a park in Montebello, CA. Every year the city would sponsor a fireworks show that would draw a huge crowd to the park. Rather than join the crowd at the park, my aunts, uncles and cousins would place blankets across the lawn of my grandmother’s backyard, look up at the sky and enjoy the show together. It was like VIP seating just for us.

But the most memorable of these SoCal memories occurred on July 4, 1976. This was the day that my parents had decided that we would all move to Fresno.

For some reason our journey began that evening at just around dusk. We had all gathered at my grandmother’s house to say good-by before the 4-hour drive north to our new house. The street in front of my grandmother’s house was filled with cars and people heading towards the park for the fireworks display. I can still remember feeling conflicted between the realization that we were leaving LA and my disappointment that I would be missing the fireworks show.

Isaac was in the backseat of the car with our dog and I sat in the passenger seat next to my mom. We waved good-by one last time to everyone and I can remember feeling very odd as we slowly pulled away from the curb.

We drove off in silence, following my dad who was driving alone in his blue van ahead of us. As we passed through downtown Los Angeles on the eerily deserted freeway, I can remember seeing fireworks start to go off just beyond the skyline of the city. I looked at my mom and noticed the tears on her face, and then finally realized that I was crying as well. We kind of just cried together all the way over the Grapevine.

So much has changed since that life-changing night with my mom. My grandmother tells me that the city of Montebello no longer sponsors the firework show. And here I am, in Texas, with a bunch of crazy Texans who seem to take the 4th of July very seriously.

I will be spending this holiday at friend’s house on Lake Lewisville. Jet skis, bbq, live music – it’s always a good time at Suvi’s! Happy 4th of July everyone!