The New Normal

I've been trying to figure out "The New Normal" for the past seven years.  The new normal once I realized A. was going to stick around and not be a passing couple of months stint.  The new normal once A. proposed on national TV.  The new normal after our wedding.  The new normal when a little over a year into our marriage, I almost lost A. because he had to undergo an emergency quadruple open heart bypass. The new normal as the wife of a coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) survivor.  The new normal as the daughter of someone living with advanced prostate cancer.  The new normal after my Dad passed away.

This past weekend, I experienced every emotion from utterly ecstatic and excited because my godbrother, JR married M., the love of his life, even after I, then a tween, dropped him on his 1-year-old head . . . to heartaching sadness at Sunday's wake and today's funeral for JB, who alongside his kids, will begin to figure out the new normal without N., mama & wife, starting tomorrow.

I'm more reflective than usual given it's Dad's second death anniversary (August 30), and I was drawn to wanting to be around folks who also knew my Dad.  I thought that perhaps it might be selfish of me to want to be there for JB and N.'s families.  But I also wanted to show JB my support.  JB is blessed to have joyously welcomed a daughter and son into the world and mournfully the sacredness of N.'s passing.  I have only witnessed the holiness of my Dad's last breath and not a child's first upon birth.   They say the experience is the same -- the first and last breaths of life.

It was truly a precious gift to be around some of our old family friends, my parents' friends at JR and M.'s wedding as well as others at N.'s wake & funeral. So many of them knew my parents before they were married.  Some had come up the ranks of the city hospital with my mom, and others had spent many weekends with my folks participating in community activities like the Filipino Family Bowling League, affectionately referred to as FFBL -- so much a part of Fil Am history circa 1970 - 80s in JC.

Memories can be profoundly comforting as we try desperately to recall the familiarity of having our loved ones around.  That heartwarming fellowship of family friends, those who knew my parents and watched me grow up alongside their kids, is what I needed to break through this year's death anniversary blues.  

We miss you, Dad.  And be sure to give a warm welcome to N.  Remember, JB's wife?  She's from JC too.