Dear Mom & Dad: Good Bye 2023


Dear Mom and Dad,

Well we've finally reached the end of this HORRIBLE year.  This will be the first New Year's Eve where I won't talk to one of you and to say that sucks is putting it mildly.  I thought 2022 was rough, but it had nothing on 2023.  And for all the complaining I did back at the beginning of the year (Dad, it WAS a pain in the behind to come down every single weekend to write checks, make sure all the bills were paid and that income was correctly recorded in your ledger), I didn't think it would end so quickly.  (I still have guilt over being away the night you died Dad.)

I write this from your/my home.  The shore seemed like the best place to kick out 2023 and pray that 2024 would be a better one.  I find a sense of calm here and watched as the sky lightened this morning, as the last day of 2023 dawned.  (I can't say I saw the sun rise because of the clouds, but it was nice to lie in bed and see the clouds roll by and the sky lighten)  The lagoon is not frozen over and a few ducks (mallards, not the "divey" ones that you loved Mom) have paddled by.  (Also there is this rather large piece of styrofoam that keeps floating up and down the lagoon, seemingly defying the laws of wind and water current.)  Calm has been in short supply this year and I am grateful when I can find it.  The Jersey shore (off season) as well as Skytop have been my refuge and I am determined to find/focus on calm and peace wherever it might be in 2024.

We also came down because Steve & I both seem to have slight colds and I am hoping the cleaner (notice I didn't say clean) ocean air might help to facilitate the road to better health.  It comes as no surprise that we end this awful year with runny and stuffy noses.  I THINK the two of us are better today than we were yesterday, so here's hoping that we are even better on the first day of 2024.

James stayed back "home".  Although I think the air down here would do him good as well.  He has these bouts of sneezing attacks which are frustrating me.  They mostly happen in his room.  I was going to clean it, but he took care of it...though how well I cannot say.  I have changed his comforter (tossing the old one out as it was stained with ink...)I appreciate his talent as an artist, but I don't appreciate the sploshes of paint/ink that have shown up all over the house or the clippings of thread and fabric. When neither of those "solved" the problem, I washed the sheets and pillows as well as airing out (and beating) his throw pillows.  All of this SEEMED to help a bit, but he still has these dreaded sneezing attacks' ' and I am angry that we haven't found the culprit for the problem.  (Although I suspect it might be more than one, hence the easing, somewhat.) This gave him the ability to host a friend from college overnight (who actually lives "down here" when he is not in college) and to spend time with other friends tonight. (Turns out the spending time with friends tonight will be at OUR house...No parent supervision. But I've known most of these "kids' ' for a long time.  I'm trusting them, as I did when they spent the weekend together [unsupervised] at the NJ shore home of one of the gang.  Most, if not all, of them are legally adults [although not of age to consume alcohol], so I'll just say a prayer or two.) What messes I will find when we return home tomorrow afternoon will probably kill my sense of calm.  (Although to be honest, just heading home on the GSP tomorrow will do that long before I get there.)

What I think I miss the most about not having you around is sharing news.  While I know many will say, your parents know, the act of sharing is what I so loved and miss.  When James finally printed out his grades for his first semester (3 As and 2 A-s), I longed to be able to pick up the phone and tell you.  Steve was able to share with his mom and I did let beloved cousin Lee and Aunt Joanne know, it wasn't the same.  Every time something silly, frustrating or newsworthy happens, I want to share with you and I can't.  

I also, surprisingly and in some strange way, miss hearing your "news."  Telling me about what your friends were up to or what you had done together.  I used to think that news was dull.  But now I yearn for it.  I miss knowing about what they are up to, though why I don't know.  I've heard from a few since your passings and sent out Christmas cards to a few as well.  I never realized how much I needed that connection; and now that it's gone it makes your loss harder.  Dad got two Christmas cards this year from people I didn't think to contact.  (Nor did I have their contact information.)  Tomorrow I will send them notes, thanking them for thinking of Dad and sharing the sad news.

Oh, and by the way Mom, the Ocean County Court System wants you on Jury Duty in 23 days.  (You might think I've made that up; I haven't.)    Don't worry I took care of it. And Dad, Mary Beth's house is finally (almost) finished and she and the family will move in mid-January.  I wish you were here to see it.

This terrible year is almost over.  I pray for peace and calm in 2024.  (Not just for me, but for the world.)  I miss you both so much.


P.S.  As I wrote this, I saw not one, but two “sets” of “divey” ducks in the lagoon.  I’m taking that as a sign.  Of what, I’m not sure, but hopefully it’s one of your approval.


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