8765 Times Seven

There are 8765 hours in a year.  That mean more than 61-thousand hours have passed since Risa passed away – and still time remains an elusive concept to grasp.  Sometimes the hours (and days and months) fly by as I am amazed at what we have accomplished.   Other times, I can feel each of the hours painfully tick by – seemingly without a concern of the one that will follow.

Perhaps its due to the time of year when this day comes that I get very retrospective.  Maybe it’s because sometimes in those long hours I wonder what would those who are no longer with us think about how we’re doing.  Would Risa be OK with the decisions we’ve made the life we’ve cut out? Would Risa’s parents be proud grandparents?  Would my father be happy with the way I’ve gone about being a father? Would my brother be an influence on my kids?

I’d like to think the answer to the questions are all the same – a resounding yes.  But in those long hours sometimes you never know.

I have a high school senior now.  She’s going to college next year.  Removing someone from the house and changing a dynamic that works.  Do we have the ability to make another adjustment?  I think so.

I have a high school sophomore now.  Her path is in the arts – something Risa would be far better at navigating that I’ll be, but we’ll figure it out. But is that path the right one?  I think so.

But all of that is the next 8765 hours.

The last 8765 were filled with accomplishment and lessons I think we can all look back on know the people we remember – not only today but everyday – would be pretty proud of the way we carried ourselves.

There were new faces and new experiences that helped fill out the last 8765 hours – and each is important in shaping the next.  Some will be influential for a long time to come.  Others are fleeting in their moment in our lives and some we’ll need the next 8765 (or more) to figure out.

But that’s life, right?

I think when my father died when I was young I was able not to dwell on it and let that moment define my life.  My hope is my kids are able to do the same – and I’ve been able to use my experiences to set them up to flourish.

There are 8765 hours in a year.  61,355 of them have ticked by since Risa passed away.  As we start the next block of time – we’ll do so knowing we’ve done our best, and will continue to do just that.

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The Ski Trip

Jimminy PeakAs we head into the winter months in the Northeast – my girls and I are about to embark upon what has become one of our family rituals since it became the three of us.  The ski trip.  This is something we’ve done three of the last four years – the only year we missed was when I had both knees operated on, and not surprisingly they match exactly against our lives in a one parent home.

Although it was four years ago, I remember it like it was yesterday – Risa had passed away and the girls went back to school.  The next week I went back to work.  The next week was Christmas vacation, and there was no way I was staying in the house for more than a week with all that we had been through.  I looked at Florida, I looked at Jamaica, I looked at California.  None of them as a last minute trip in December made sense.  But skiing did.

I had talked about skiing with my kids the year before – but because of the state of flux we were living in then, we couldn’t go.  I had skied for years before 14.5 was born.  But at that time, had not skied in 10 years  The girls were into it though.

With an invite from my cousin – we rented skis on Black Friday in 2010 and that Saturday set off for skiing.

I put the girls in lessons with their cousins.  I set out to recapture any level of skiing I could and we had a great weekend.

With the exception of the year I was recovering from surgery to both knees – we’ve skied every year since.  So, this year, with more than a foot falling as I type in the Berkshires at Jimminy Peak we’ll head out tomorrow afternoon to ski for the weekend.

This year will be a little different though.  14.5 is going to snowboard. So I have to put her back into lessons.  12.0 is bringing a friend.  So my hope is she and the friend will ski together, 14.5 will work on her snowboarding and I can ski for fun.  We’ll have a lot of together time as we spend the weekend at the mountain.

The ski trip is on.  First of the season.  More to follow.  See you on the mountain.

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52 Weeks +

This is one of those posts that is a few days late.  I’ll say because of the demands of being a single parent during the holiday season.  The cynic in me will say it’s a series of thoughts I’m trying to avoid.  Reality is it’s probably somewhere between.

So we’ve marked a year since Risa passed.  With the unveiling next week, I intentionally did not call a lot of attention to the day with the girls, but the subject did come up during the weekend-and we talked about it a little.

What struck me though was the familiarity that the weekend took on.  While the memories of that five days last year is vivid to me like it all occurred yesterday-I could not help the moments of deja vu over the weekend.  From the hustle of the holidays to spending time at the temple’s Hanukkah party to the discussion with the Rabbi about how I wanted to handle the next solemn moment to the flurry of emails and texts from family about “stuff” that was coming up it really felt like I had already done all of this.

But this time, if I were looking for differences it wasn’t that tough.

While marking a year of mourning and transition, I can also take a moment to look back and see real success.  Tangible moments that make me think we’re on the other side of this part of our lives.  Yes, we have memories and even moments of pain and self-doubt.  But by and large, 52 weeks later the girls and I can truly say we’re doing alright.

One of the worries I have is someone on the outside looking in and seeing us a year later not in a traditional sense of mourning-but rather in a state of recharging our lives.  It’s something each of us in the house do in our own way.  9.0 looking for new things (violin like her mother, art projects) to be interested in.  11.0 becoming an increasingly independent young lady (with a pretty cute childish streak) or me trying to figure out what’s next…and then the voice, “It’s only been a year.”

Well, for us, it’s been years.

So yes, we mark the calendar solemnly.  Sunday we will go to the grave side and unveil the headstone (even that has not been a simple as it should have been).  No one here has forgotten-and like Risa did 13 years ago when she was told she had a brain tumor-none of us has let this moment define us either.

And that may be the lasting tribute each of us can give to our wife, mother and friend.

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