Summer's meditation

Sun Goddess
whose arms aglow
your beams reach out
Mnemosyne's spirit surrounds me
like the bay that hugs me ever
that precious Summer's day on the pier
 a last moment with my Dad -- 
i frequent the sanctuary
where your affection inspires 
courage to trust the Present's unknown 


Runner No. 159

Since the end of April, I'd prepared for My Run for My Dad. And it finally happened today.  I hadn't run a 5K since maybe ten years ago, & age has definitely caught up with me.  A. (& me too!) is so proud to say that I did it & finished in 40:30.81! I kept to my slow, even pace though found myself gasping a bit during the last mile as the humidity seemed to ramp up then.  I really am so thankful to A. for being so supportive as I can get pretty emotional reflecting on my memories of Dad.  Training for today has helped me tremendously to channel my grief productively, and I found myself less overwhelmed than I thought I would be by the end of the race . . . though on the drive to the park this morning, I had to keep myself from breaking out into a major bawl-fest.  Good thing my DD hot turbo and toasted multigrain bagel with salmon cream cheese kept me somewhat occupied.

It really is comforting to be supported by folks whether it's A., my husband, or our closest friends, E. and E.  Doing this run together fills me with heartful energy.  Thanks to P. and A.L. as my running partners, I thankfully didn't break too much to walk.  And to see my mother- and father-in-law at mile 2 with the videocam was a welcome sight as well as my sister-in-law, W., and niece, A., who cheered us on during the last leg of the race.  Sure it was Father's Day, but I also delight in the fact that the T. Tribe came out to support.

Perhaps the most unexpected moment of the day was my (randomly) assigned runner's number:   159 . . . which also happens to be my parents' house number. In addition, a small black moth floated by me for a couple of seconds right before we walked over to the starting point of the race.  The Chinese believe that a black moth symbolizes the soul of the departed returning to console the bereaved.

Thanks for running alongside me today, Dad.  Happy Father's Day.  


Happy 5th - Anniversary Blessings

five years of Amazing Grace
your newfangled heart
my Dad's premature death
my unexpected respite . . . 
your unexpected respite
our bayshore days
our imagined child whose picture is our stargaze

 Happy Anniversary, A.  Thank You, Great Spirit,
for Life's gift of knowing the deepest
respect, friendship, & love.


Happy what-would-be-your-42nd-anniversary

June 13th is my parents' anniversary.  I didn't greet my Mom 'Happy Anniversary' today as I'd already done so when we last saw her for our weekly dinner this past Wednesday, and she said not to remind her. Mom placed her hand affectionately on Dad's wooden urn and said, S. says happy anniversary.  

Dad's birthday followed by their anniversary followed by our anniversary followed by Father's Day.  Rough (?) June.  It's all good, I suppose, with nieces' and nephews' birthdays thrown into the mix too.  

Oh, how I do miss my Dad . . . I've found myself more than once in the past couple of weeks just smiling and feeling overwhelmed by certain memories -- whether I'm on my bus commute or trying to get through my next five minutes of running on the treadmill at the gym.  How he made me get up at 6am to learn how to play tennis.  At 11, I hated tennis as I was the most unathletic person.  While Dad had his own commitments, he made sure to show up at my high school musicals no matter how small a part I had (I was often just a chorus girl) and then would say how I was so much like him since he enjoyed participating in his high school zarzuelas too.  Despite his plea for me to go into the medical or law fields, he was supportive of my writing and pursuit of journalism.  He'd often ask me to be a guest columnist for his Knight of Columbus or Narvacanean publications.  And despite my fiercely independent nature as a young adult, Dad eventually came around and accepted that he and Mom had raised me to be extremely self-reliant (13 years of an all-girls school will do that), so it was okay that I wanted to live alone in my very own one-bedroom apartment at 22.    

I am lovingly appreciative of the life my Dad and Mom have given me.  I often wonder what my Dad would say to us as we are in our adoption process, what kind of parental advice he'd give us whether we asked for it or not and what fatherly guidance he'd offer to A. as a father-in-waiting . . . how excited he might be to be waiting with us.  How he'd tell us more than once how blessed we are to have experienced parents at all since sadly he, the youngest of seven, didn't grow up with his mother and father and had been raised by his older siblings.      

This upcoming August will mark two years since Dad's been gone . . . Thank you, Dad, for staying with me.       


Status update: Adoption in progress

Strange how so many facebook (fb) users update their statuses every minute.  Some just-found-out pregnant moms share their blessed news on fb before telling their partners.  Other proud dads-to-be immediately post their ultrasound photos as their profile pics. 

Me?  I struggle with whether or not to share, how much to share, how often to share any adoption/paper-in-waiting news with my closest family members and friends.  A. would say, It's none of their business.  Why do you need to share at all?  He's private that way.

Truthfully, I'd love to bask in the same pregnant glow and level of enthusiasm as other mamas-in-waiting.  Instead, sometimes we are met with underwhelming interest and ignorant assumptions about our choice to adopt.  And in those misinformed situations, A. may be right.

At the same time, I am grateful to have supportive close friends and family who -- without a doubt and with banners in hand -- will be our welcome wagon once we touch down at the airport and excitedly bounce out of the gate with the newest addition to our family.  I am thankful to be in our adoption process.  I strive to maintain a Buddhist outlook and appreciate the present moment.  No doubt it will be an amazing mama/papa/child event when we are finally face-to-face with a toddler of our very own.


Team SJ

A.'s first communal walk (ever) at Riverside Park (NYC) in support of our friend, E., and her rockstellar expertise in the world of hemophilia. E. is our constant reminder to respond to the community generously as she is one who inspires and does such heartening work in the healthcare industry. Thanks, E., for being such a rockstar!

Since Dad's passing, the summer months are always filled with mixed emotions. While I have fond memories of my Dad, I also experience not so happy ones as I recall how difficult the summer of 2008 was -- just two years ago.  And June is always the kickoff to a slew of family birthdays, wedding anniversaries as well as the end of Dad's cancer journey.  So a walk for a cause is a most welcome positive reaction to the anticipation of mournful reflection.

While we anticipated a walk in tremendous humidity, the train of tie-dyed cherry & blueberry slurpee-colored, walk-for-hemophilia t-shirts made for a most pleasant & festive stroll under the trees' shade.  The one-mile route proved to be enough, especially once E.L. made a run for the ice cream cart, a sure sign that his walk was complete . . . and well worth it!  

After our communal trek, we headed back home for our customary Pho Thanh Hoa meal, where we shared a Vietnamese feast, including our usual iced Viet coffees (slow drip with condensed milk), as well as hours-long, laughter-filled story-telling.  What was an ordinary collective march for a cause was also a tribute to our extraordinary experience with an easy & warm friendship. Thanks, E. & E. (A. & Mama G. too)!  



up in the Heavens
my Father dwells
his smile as joyous
as the sweet-tempered unicorn
who keeps him company
when he visits me
by chance in my visions of fancy