Posts Tagged With: Our Love is Here to Stay

Day 2451: In memory of my mother

Today is the 11th anniversary of my late mother’s passing, according to the lunar Hebrew calendar AND the solar Gregorian calendar. To honor her memory, I lit a Yahrzeit candle:

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This is the obituary of my mother that’s still online:

Louise (Sulkin) Koplow

Entered into rest August 12 at the age of 90 years, of Peabody, formerly of Lynn & Swampscott. Beloved wife of the late Aaron Koplow. Devoted mother of Ellen Koplow of Medford & Ann Koplow of Brighton. Cherished grandmother of Aaron David Fairbanks of Brighton. Loving sister of the late Emma Gordon, Elizabeth Rich, Esther Sulkin, Beatrice Plane, Ernest & Louis Sulkin. Dear aunt of many nieces, nephews, grand nieces, grand nephews & their families. She also leaves a large group of friends that she has known for decades. Services at Stanetsky-Hymanson Memorial Chapel, 10 Vinnin Street, SALEM/SWAMPSCOTT line on Thursday, Aug. 14 at 1:00 p.m. Interment at Cong. Ahabat Shalom Memorial Park, Danvers. Memorial week through Tuesday, August 19, daily from 2-5pm and 7-9pm at Woodbridge Assisted Living, 240 Lynnfield St, Peabody. In lieu of flowers, expressions of sympathy may be made in her memory to the American Heart Assoc., 20 Speen St., Framingham, MA 01701.

I miss my mother, who had a huge influence on me, every day.  As the years go by, I have more “conversations” with her in my head. I can still hear her voice, saying my name, with a mixture of love, concern, worry, and anticipation.  Here are other things I can hear her say, in her special voice:

Everything worth doing is worth doing well.

There’s a place for everything and everything in its place.

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

I can also hear her infectious laugh and see her dancing and clapping at holidays and celebrations.  She loved my father’s sense of humor  but she would kick him under the table when she thought he had gone too far with a teasing joke.  She was thoughtful, kind, and welcoming to all.  She didn’t like surprises, but she appreciated the wedding anniversary surprise party my sister organized for our parents. My mother loved living near the ocean and she spent a lot of time in the sun on the beach.

My mother was very clean and neat and she did not want a pet in our house.  However, after my first heart surgery at age 10, she let me get my heart’s desire — a kitty.  She loved that cat, too, and after Tuffy died at age 13, my mother told me she saw a bird in the yard  she thought was Tuffy reincarnated.  Although reincarnation didn’t really fit in with the Orthodox Jewish beliefs my mother adopted after she married my father, I think that reflected how she chose to grieve — to believe that a beloved spirit still existed.  Like my mother did with Tuffy,  I see my mother in other beings, everywhere.

Yesterday, consciously or unconsciously, I took many photos to fit today’s post.

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Here’s a favorite photo of my mother:

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Here‘s a song that my father sang to my mother on another anniversary celebration:

Thanks to my mother, to all who loved her, and to you — of course! — for reading this post, today.

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Categories: in memoriam, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 32 Comments

Day 2394: A little bit different

Yesterday, when I was being a little bit different than anybody else I know, I noticed this:

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and I knew that “a little bit different” was a little bit different from any other blog title I’d used before in the past six-and-a-half years.

When I looked at all my other photos from yesterday …

…they were all a little bit different, so I knew I would use that title for today’s blog post.

This morning, I realized that this post might be a little bit different from most published today by not mentioning Father’s Day up front. And then, when I looked at my photos again with a little bit different perspective, I realized they all related to my father. I guess I see them that way because I’m related to my father and we are both a little bit different.

My late father was humble and kind.

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He cared much more about other people than he did about money …

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… but he worked very, very hard to be a good provider for his family.

He had a beautiful singing voice and was very musical. He bought us a piano when my sister and I were young.

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My father paid for piano lessons for his little-bit-different daughters but never learned to play himself. That calendar photo of the dog playing piano (which is a little bit different)  arrived yesterday in the mail from my wonderful cousin, Lani. Lani, like the rest of us, is a little bit different and she also loved my father.

Lani, and everybody else who knew my father, would say that my father was incredibly funny, although they might tell that story in a little bit different ways. My dad  told me he wrote little-bit-different rhymes for his high school year book, including this memorable one (which is a little bit different from totally kind):

Jerry is a drummer rare.

If he didn’t play, we wouldn’t care.

Perhaps you can see his influence in this little-bit-different certificate I’ll be presenting later this week to an exiting board member of my group therapy professional organization:

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When I was very young, my father moved us to a little-bit-different home which was a block away from the ocean, on the North Shore of Boston. I’m now living on the little-bit-different South Shore of Boston.

I think my father would have noticed the irony in that little-bit-different last photo in that sea-side montage.

My father was a life-long Democrat and so am I, although we were a little bit different in our politics.

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That very different photo reminds me of my father in several little bit different ways.  He brought home all the different magazines from the pharmacy he owned but never  ridiculous rags like The Globe or the National Enquirer. Also, he would sometimes ask my different friends this little question, “Are your parents still together?”  Leave it to my father to throw in little-bit-different conversation starters when talking to my friends.

My father really enjoyed our little-bit-different cat, Tuffy, who my parents got me when I was recovering from major heart surgery at age 10.

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Harley, pictured there,  reminds me a lot of Tuffy, in looks and in temperament although, of course, they’re a little bit different. My dad and I used to play a little-bit-different game with Tuffy, where we would sit on the floor in the kitchen and roll back and forth little-bit-different balls made of Challah bread,  with Tuffy trying to catch them. Tuffy, who was a little bit different in her taste in treats, would catch the bread balls and eat them.

My father was a married to a clean freak …

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… who was a little bit different from most clean freaks by letting us sit on the floor and toss bread balls back and forth with our cat. My father had this little-bit-different joke he used to tell about my mother:

I got up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, and when I got back Weezie had made the bed.

Leave it my father to tell a joke that was a little-bit-different from the truth, even though he was impeccable with his word.

I took driver’s education in high school, but my memories of learning to drive are all of my father.

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My father was one of Boston’s safest drivers (which believe me, is not saying much) and because of him, I am a safe driver, too.

After my father retired, he and my mother travelled abroad …

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… but I don’t think they made it to Barcelona. My traveling has been a little bit different but I haven’t been to Barcelona, although I did travel to Spain with my beloved friend Jeanette.  I have memories of Jeanette and my father getting along really well, although they were a little bit different  from each other (but who isn’t?). Maybe someday I’ll make it to Barcelona, which I understand is a little bit different from the rest of Spain.

My father grew up in an Orthodox Jewish household and so did I, although our upbringings were a little bit different.  Whenever we ate out, we only had fish or meatless dishes.

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My father was sensitive to other people’s feelings and was pretty sensitive himself.  We hurt each other a few times in our lives, but we always forgave each other, keeping the connection alive as long as he was.

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I only heard my father swear once, and that was when he was very angry about a young man who had hurt me when I was in my early 20’s.

My father took care of much of what grew on our property when I was growing up, as my little-bit-different boyfriend Michael does today.

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My father had a wonderful smile, which he did not keep to himself.

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Actually, neither of those animals really evoke my father, but this one does:

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I think my father and I were a little bit nuts, in a little bit different ways, but who isn’t?

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Also, I have vivid memories of my father on Saturdays eating pistachio nuts, which he was nuuuuuuuttssss about.

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My father had a wonderful zest for life, which I believe I’ve inherited.  Yay!

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I’ve tried to color in some details about my father in this little-bit-different post, which is not by the numbers and which attempts to capture the magic of  my Dad.  I hope it’s no mystery why I miss my father, every little-bit-different day.

Here‘s a song my father sang to my mother on a special anniversary (and he sounded a little bit different from Nat King Cole and Frank Sinatra):

 

I look forward to all your little-bit-different comments.

A little-bit-different thanks to all who helped me create today’s blog post and — of course! — to YOU!

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Categories: love, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Day 1354: See the love in everything

Yesterday, after facilitating a therapy group I loved at work, I went to see my lovely Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapist, George.  I love EMDR, because it has helped me reduce my anxiety about very unlovely experiences I had in the hospital when I was a child.

Because I’m having open heart surgery at the Mayo Clinic next Wednesday, I loved the opportunity  to work with George in reducing my anxiety about that.  George and I tried  several lovely images to use when I’m going into surgery on September 21, including floating on the top of lovely water or being held by loving hands.   I love that I came up with this idea at the end of the session: I said to George, “I shall just see the love in everything.” George loved that, too.

I love reporting to you that after the session, I saw the love in everything and everybody.  I love that next week I shall also see the love in:

  • the lovely Deb, who will drive us to the airport in her lovely Honda Fit,
  • the security personnel at the airport,
  • the plane that takes my boyfriend Michael and me to Minneapolis,
  • the shuttle that transports us to Rochester,
  • the hotel where we’ll be staying across the street from the hospital before my admission,
  • all the staff at the Mayo Clinic,
  • all the tests they’ll give me,
  • the needles and other things they’ll poke me with,
  • the questions they’ll ask me,
  • the operating room,
  • the hands of my surgeon,
  • the cardiac care unit,
  • the machines I’ll be attached to,
  • the medications they’ll give me,
  • the tubes going in and out of my body,  and
  • everything and everybody else during my recovery.

Do you see the love in everything I photographed yesterday?

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I see the love in those cats named Stormcloud and Peaches, who are being adopted together by some lovely family today.

I see the love in this lovely tune, which my late father sang with love to my late mother at an anniversary celebration.

I will see the love in everything you leave in a comment.

I see the love in all who helped me create this post and in you, here and now.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 38 Comments

Day 1054: Here and Now

In therapy and in this blog, I invite people to be in the here and now.

Here and now, I’ll try to explain why that is.

If we focus our attention on the present,  we can

  • appreciate the gifts of the moment,
  • be less overwhelmed,
  • be more aware of what we can control,
  • let go of regrets about the past,
  • reduce fear about the future (which is unknown), and
  • identify achievable next steps.

Being in the here and now isn’t easy. It takes practice, commitment, and vigilance  to gently refocus our attention — which wanders  to the future, the past, all over the place —  to the present moment.

Are you with me?  Are you here and now?  Or are you thinking about

  • what’s already happened (which you can’t change),
  • what might happen (or might not), and
  • other places?

Here, now, are some photos presently on my phone:

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Here, now, is music about here …

… and now.

In the present moment, I’m grateful to Rumi, cats, supportive people, healthy food, Gene Kelly, the Gershwin brothers, Pat Metheny, all my senses, and you — of course! — for being here and now.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, Psychotherapy | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

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