So...

Dec. 9th, 2009 11:56 am
zouzounaki: (Default)
Today is the fifth anniversary of my dad passing away. I had all of this stuff planned to say but realized, in the end, it didn't really matter. All that does matter is how much I loved him and how much I miss him, despite our oftentimes turbulent relationship, due mostly to the fact that we were so much alike.

I leave you for the day with two songs that remind me of Dad, the first because I heard it on the radio right after we made the decision to take him off of life support and the lyrics, each one, just spoke directly into my heart.

"A Long December" by Counting Crows

And this one because it reminded me of Dad from the moment I first heard it: "Winter" by Tori Amos

Funny how they're both seasonal songs.

Peace, Ghani
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So, tonight is the five year mark: on August 18th 2004 at approximately 12:15 a.m., my mother passed away. There was a lot I wanted to post; I've been thinking about it all day. There's so much to say about everything: my mom especially, what happened that night, the aftermath. Most of you have heard it all over the years; many of you knew me when it happened, many more have read posts since. There's just the one thing I want to say now: I miss my mom, every second of every day that goes by. She was the light of my life, my rock, the most beautiful women I will ever meet.

Peace, Ghani
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So, tomorrow is the third anniversary of my father's passing. As many of you know, it was a little more difficult than with my mother's (three years this past August) as she went suddenly and Dad, well, we had to make the decision.

In no way is the decision ever easy; the doctors are very candid with you about what will happen and all illusions of a peaceful drifting away as the monitors flatline are totally shattered. We know what our dad wanted and we made the decision really quickly (which surprised the doctors because there are three of us and usually at least one member of the family dithers) and we waited. He--and we--were blessed with the fact that it only took one day.

Me and Dad, we had some hard times together. I mean, really, really difficult times between the two of us, like beyond the telling of it, as many of you know. But I was also extremely close with him, and I loved him and I miss him so fiercely.

How to Save a Life lyrics )

Peace, Ghani
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Well, today is the day. Three years to the day, to be exact, that my mom passes away. I've said most that needed to be said, and some stuff that never did, and there's only ever one thing that should be repeated: I miss her. Like a fist in my chest clutching around my heart, like a big old hole in my life. We had a rocky past, but in the last few years of her life, we were so close.

I lost my best friend, and I learned that life can throw things at you in the blink of an eye; everything can change.

'Who Knew' lyrics by Pink )

Peace, Ghani
zouzounaki: (Default)
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Edward Harrison LeZotte
1937-2004


Seems like it was yesterday when I saw your face
You told me how proud you were, but I walked away
If only I knew what I know today

I would hold you in my arms
I would take the pain away
Thank you for all you've done

Forgive all your mistakes
There's nothing I wouldn't do
To hear your voice again
Sometimes I wanna call you
But I know you won't be there

I'm sorry for blaming you
For everything I just couldn't do
And I've hurt myself by hurting you

Some days I feel broke inside but I won't admit
Sometimes I just wanna hide 'cause it's you I miss
And it's so hard to say goodbye
When it comes to this

Would you tell me I was wrong?
Would you help me understand?
Are you looking down upon me?
Are you proud of who I am?

There's nothing I wouldn't do
To have just one more chance
To look into your eyes
And see you looking back

Ohh I'm sorry for blaming you
For everything I just couldn't do
And I've hurt myself

If I had just one more day
I would tell you how much that I've missed you
Since you've been away
It's dangerous
It's so out of line
To try and turn back time

I'm sorry for blaming you
For everything I just couldn't do
And I've hurt myself by hurting you
-Christina Aguilera


For more lyrics )

Peace, Ghani
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Today is a sad day indeed. Steve Irwin passed away yesterday from a sting-ray barb to the heart, a death that only two others in recorded history have shared -a bit of irony as he did so many dangerous things in his life. Unfortunately, I feel like that's overshadowed his achievements somewhat, and it's important to remember that he was a conservationist, an environmentalist, a humanitarian, a devouted animal lover, husband, best friend and father.

He himself, in an interview for his show a couple of years back, joked that he knew he had to be extra careful because, if he slipped up and died, everyone would say instantly, "I knew a croc would get 'im!" That's much the attitude that I've seen online today, and that's completely understandable. I remember when I first saw him and Terri on the Discovery Channel, I thought he was insane! I think, though, that we have to get past how dangerous his work was by realizing how very, very careful he was, and that this tragic accident occured probably because he wasn't expecting very many, if any, complications or threats.

And, of course, his work was overshadowed in the last few years by the so-called "Baby Bob Incident", something people should be ashamed for. It was Australia's attempt to take him down a peg (he was late in catching on there and, even when he did, was resented terribly!) and it was sad to see that not even Animal Planet really stood behind him (they issued a statement with a disclaimer). He was a professional as well as a doting father, and I trusted him completely that he would never put his son at risk. It's the way he grew up, and the way he was raising his own children. He was the real deal, unlike so many of the prettier, flashier television personalities out there.

What people usually fail to mention about the "baby dangling" was that the press were there at special invitation or they would have never have gotten their "money shot." It was Bob's christening, performed by a group of visiting Buddhist nuns in Croc Stadium. It was the end of the day, the crocs had been fed and exercised and, if you see film of it, you can see how far Steve is keeping his son from the croc. Do I sound defensive? Yeah, I do. Because it's stupid that that should have overshadowed all the good work he'd done, because he passed on with that attitude still being the prevalent one. Because he raised his daughter in the exact same way but the press weren't there to get pictures of it, so they weren't interested. Because Bindi Sue is so well adjusted and so much like her father,a s Bob will probably be in the future.

His fans -like me, a die-hard- got to know Steve through the tele, his warmth, his passion. He opened up his life and his heart to us and we truly felt like he was our friend.

I can't imagine, therefore, the pain that the people so close to him, the people whose lives he touched personally, feel right now. His marriage to Terri was what he himself described as a true love story; his devoution to his kids so strong, and you can see from Bindi Sue's mischievous smile that they were so much alike. His best friendship with Wes, who shared in duties at the Australian Zoo as well as his friends' passion to conservation. My heart goes out to all those whose lives were made better for knowing him. Their fans' grief is great, their own grief must be shattering.

It does always seem to be the great, kind ones whom tragedy befalls; not just the famous, but the truly good at heart. His heart was enormous, it encompassed his family, his fans and his causes. And that's how he should be remembered. The world is an emptier place for the loss of him.

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Peace, Ghani
zouzounaki: (Default)
Yeah, so yesterday marked the second anniversary of my mother's passing and, while I have been in an introspective mood, I'm not quite sure what I'm thinking this year.

It's quite obvious that things have moved on for me since last year. I'm living in a new place, so the visual memories or triggers for memories aren't there; I've worked out a lot fo problems I had had; I have whole new set of problems to work on.

So, does it mean I've "moved on"? (A ridiculous term, to be sure, but not as genuinely insipid as "closure.") I still miss her that badly; I still cry at anything that reminds me of her; I still, only very ocassionally, though, have dreams in which I talk to her, tell her that I wish she had been a round to see the last Star Wars movie, or watch Monk with a new assistant. That scheme's kind of replaced the earlier one where I'd dream that I was just with her and one of us would realize that she shouldn't or couldn't be.

On the other hand, I'm cautious of saying that I'm "over it." A very good and very wise friend of mine told me soon after my mom's passing that, no matter what age you are, it's always gonna be one of the most devastating things that happens to you and you're always going to want your mummy back. And that's true. Very true, as a matter of fact! But I've also realized that, no matter how close we had gotten, no matter how much she had learned to take care of me, to talk to me when my illness was getting the better of me, to, metaphorically and literally, pick me up off the floor when I was having a breakdown and bring me back to reality, I've learned that there is life without her. So, I miss her until my heart feels like it's going to burst, I do still need her and would do almost anything to have her back again, but, you know, I'm really okay now without her.

My biggest regret is that she never got to live a life after my father, never got to wake up without knowing that frustration of having to deal with him in latter years. Little did we all know that he had emphysema and would only outlive her for three months.

I love ya, mom. In your last couple of years, you were my guiding light, my shining star. We were closer than we had ever been and I had ever dreamed we would be. I wish you were here with me now but maybe I'll see you again someday. Until then, I hope you're somewhere watching Law & Order with Elvis and drinin' a big ol' cup of coffee!

Peace, Ghani
zouzounaki: (Default)
A much haeartfelt thanks to those who expressed their well wishes yesterday, when I was pretty distraught. Friends, what can I say? They're about the greatest thing in the world! Hugs! And for all of you:

Dance, dance! (Caution, not dial-up friendly!) )

Love y'all! Mwwwww-ah!

Peace, Ghani
zouzounaki: (Default)
7 a.m.
So, last night, Mandy got really, really sick; well, she was ill during the day but it really became a concern last night. And it's not just the bee sting sick from a couple of days ago when her cheeks got all puffy and cute like a chipmunk; it looks like she can't move her back legs anymore. So here it is, seven in the morning, I've been up for two hours. Ann's taken her to the vet and I'm waiting to hear news but, to be honest, I'm not hopeful.

9:30 a.m.
Well, it's not the best of news. actually, it's pretty much the worst. They did tests and found that she had a gastrointestinal tumor which was keeping gas in her stomach, one of her lungs had collapsed and she was close to a heart attack. The choice wasn't a difficult one. Well, it's always difficult when you have to say yes to voluntarily losing your little loved one but she was in so much pain. It also turned out she was a bit older than they had estimated, about 15 rather than 10, so she's had quite the long life, even if it was peppered with some not so great.

So, I said goodbye. Ann was kind enough to be there with her when she knew I couldn't be. Mandy was a rescue dog, a product of an evil backyard breeder, she was stunted in growth and in poor health in general. She'd had more litters of babies than they could even guess at, had no idea how old she was (see: above), so I knew she wasn't in this for the long haul but it still hurts my heart. She was such a sweet little thing and I wish life had treated her better!

Read more... )

Peace, Ghani
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Yesterday was the one year anniversary of my father's passing. Three days ago last year, we made the very difficult decision to take him off of life support and it was a year ago Friday, at approximately 11 p.m., that we got the call that it was finally over.

They make up very nice euphamisms for taking someone off of life support, as if you're just going to pull a plug and, bang, they just switch off like a light. It doesn't work that way. We were told that it could take more than two weeks so I count myself, and my family, and especially my father, among the lucky. I think this leads to many misconceptions that have surfaced lately in the media but I don't want to get political about it so I'll stop there. This is about my dad.

My father and I had had a very complex relationship as I was close to him when I was very young and too little to understand his sudden change when he started drinking, unlike my brother and sister who had experience with it and were old enough to understand and deal with it. He abused me, I won't lie about it, mostly mentally, sometimes physically but very rarely. And when it was, you could see in his eyes it wasn't him. I don't hate him. He was a very sad, very unhappy old man diagnosed too late in life with severe manic depression and towards the end, he had developed dementia, making it even harder to cope with his commonly explosive temper and mood swings.

But to only say that about him would feel wrong, be wrong, forced, fake. He was an intellectual; he loved books on anything from ancient history to Rippermania conspiracies. He loved Joyce and Fitzgerald, Homer and Doyle, Christie and Smollet. He loved cartoon art and owned many pieces of original drawings by such masters as Walt Kelly. He was smart, outspoken and, when he wanted, extremely loving and caring. He often told me that, even though he didn't know how to deal with my illness, we wished he could take it all away and I could be happy.

This is the last real "landmark" of my ultimately crappy year so now I really feel as if I can move on. This song reminds me frighteningly how it felt last year and up until recently, made me cry:

A long December and there's reason to believe
Maybe this year will be better than the last
I can't remember the last thing that you said as you were leavin'
Now the days go by so fast

The smell of hospitals in winter
And the feeling that it's all a lot of oysters, but no pearls
All at once you look across a crowded room
To see the way that light attaches to a girl

Drove up to Hillside Manor sometime after two a.m.
And talked a little while about the year
I guess the winter makes you laugh a little slower,
Makes you talk a little lower about the things you could not show her

And it's been a long December and there's reason to believe
Maybe this year will be better than the last
I can't remember all the times I tried to tell my myself
To hold on to these moments as they pass


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Peace, Ghani
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My parents' Australian Shepard, Tillie, just passed away this morning. She was nine years old, a good run for the old girl. I can't help a feeling of loss not just for the dog we cared for so much but of the last firm tie we had to our parents. We love you, Tillie!

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We bought her in a pet store, we were actually in search of a kitty as one of our senior pet members had just passed. My dad saw her and just absolutely fell in love! I'm not usually as close with dogs as I am with cats but Tillie took to me immediately, curling up against me during the car ride home. She was just a little poof ball back then and we were all so excited. She's been happier and healthier the past year than she ever has been in her life, I believe. And loved above all else!

Peace, Ghani
zouzounaki: (Default)
And if you recognize the quote in the title, you've watched Shaun of the Dead far too many times, possibly too many times to admit to in polite social circles! So why am I using it now? There are two reasons: I've been watching movies nonstop in an attempt to try to occupy my mind, take it off of the events that have occured over the past year and because it's a movie that I love that my mom never got a chance to see. It was one year ago last night that my mom passed away quite unexpectedly and suddenly in her sleep.

I was extremely close with my mother; we had both found ourselves in situations we didn't want to be in and turned to each other for comfort, for fun, for a friend. I had been sitting with her, watching the Olympics (which was no small measure of pride for her as she was born and grew up in Athens; she was excited to finally see the games make their way there!), she had felt sick all day and it was the first I had seen her since I had gotten up that morning. Here's what I don't tell many people because, though I know it's not rational, I still fester with guilt over it: my mom had the habit of faking illness to hide her depression. She would stay in bed all day and claim to have something wrong with her stomach or sinuses, both which she had real problems with but not to the degree that she would pretend. I thought she was pretending that day. I got angry and told my sister that I wished both of my parents would just f***ing die. I've never, ever wanted to take back anything I've ever said as much as that. I know it wouldn't make a difference in the grand scheme of things but it would to me.

She said she had a stomach ailment, she was dizzy. Coincidentally, this is the same thing that kept my father from going to the hospital for four days while he was having a massive heart attack. It wasn't a heart attack that claimed my mother but what they believe to be a brain anyeursm, which couldn't have been helped even if she had gone into the hospital the moment she felt it. She passed away apporximately 15 minutes after I had said goodnight and left her room. My father, who had dozed off, had awoken about an hour later and told us all afterwards that he had known instantly something was worng. I'll remember what came next for the rest of my life, hear it in my mind again and again: my insomnia had me sitting on the toilet at about a quarter after midnight, reading one of the Star Wars Infinities movie graphic novels (I remember this detail because I had just gotten them that day and sold them without ever finishing them the next day because of what they represented to me) when I heard my father.

"Oh God! I can't wake her! She isn't waking up!"

Again, I thought my dad was overreacting; it wouldn't have been the first time. I rushed to get up as he banged on the door that leads to my side of the house. When I walked into their bedroom, I knew it was already to late. Touching her, seeing her; she just WASN'T THERE anymore. My dad called 911 and sat in the den crying as both me and my sister tried to wake her in vain. I even administered CPR as per the instructions of the 911 operator. When the ambulence arrived, they took one look at her and, like us, knew it was too late. The Body had always been one of my favorite episodes from one of my favorite shows, Buffy The Vampire Slayer; I can no longer watch it as the first third of it is so realistic and so close to what I experienced, down to the way the 911 operator was talking to me.

I was calm, eerily so. I wrote to my close friends and called my brother because neither my sister nor my father were in any shape to do so themselves. My crisis calm, so to speak, had kicked in; the grieving would come later.

I hadn't been close to my mother in my youth; as a matter of fact, she had always been a source of antagonism and not just the normal mother/teenage daughter kind. My (at the time) abusive alcoholic dad was often the catalyst for our fights, as well as my mental illness which both my parents had just refused to deal with for years. She often promised to take my side only to buckle under the "authority" of my school or doctors; she sometimes pretended to be on my side to gain my trust, only to betray it completely. I'm telling you all of this so that you understand: my mom was not perfect, I do not hold her up to being so.

It was about five years ago that we really started becoming close. When it looked like I would pretty much become a shut-in and my mother was used to dealing with my sometimes paralyzing panic attacks and mood swings, we became thick as thieves. She knew how to hold me to calm me down, knew when I was not eating and would insist, she saw me through a nervous breakdown. We joked about things my friends had said or done online and she became just as a strong a presence in those friendships than if she were directly involved.

I loved her laugh, though she had less and less reason to do so as the years wore on. We had always believed that she would outlive my father and would be happy after his passing, living with me. She never got that chance. Rather, her difficulties with my increasingly senile father led her to smoke more heavily, drink more cups of coffee a day to "calm her nerves" despite desperate warnings from our physician. Later, I would talk to my doctor and she would admit to being angry with my mom; she felt she was doing so much as comitting suicide to get away from her troubles by ignoring the warnings of her massively high blood pressure.

My mom never got to see the Retrun of the King: EE or The Village or, the most heartbreaking of all as the Star Wars prequels were something we shared and one of the reasons we became so close, the final installment in the new trilogy. These things remind me of her and I always still and probably always will have the urge to run to find her, to share these things with her. It seems like small things compared to the wider world, but they were our things and they made both of us happy when we could not find happiness elsewhere. I missed her 60th birthday, I was looking forward to the next big milestone which never happened. I really regret that.

Last night, I lay awake and had the bad luck of seeing two ambulences pass the street outside my window; not an everyday occurence and a painful reminder of that night. Not that I could ever forget. Sitting on the can, I kept hearing my dad's words play again and again in my mind. Neither me nor my sister got much sleep last night.

I love you, mom.

Vasileke "Bess" George LeZotte
Oct. 12 1942- Aug. 18 2004

If you were here
I know that you would
Truly be amazed
At what's become of what you made
If you were here
You would know how I treasured every day
How every single word you spoke
Echos in me like a memory of hope

When you were here
You could not feel the value that I placed
On every look that crossed your face
When you were here
I did not know just how I had embraced
All that you hid behind your face
Could not hide from me
'Cause it hid in me too

-lyrics by Poe

Peace, Ghani

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