I feel like this post has been such a long time coming. It has been months since I have blogged and years (holy crap) since I have blogged on a consistent basis. I have been feeling an urge to start blogging again over the past few months, and have been baking and cooking and photographing but not posting. I think it's time to come back to posting :) But first, I want to explain where I've been.
Life, needless to say, over the past few years has been crazy. I had a job working for a professional sports team in marketing that took up all of my time. Worked 6, 7 days a week, 15 hours a day. It was the most fun I have ever had at a job... but also the most stress. I needed a change. I got a new position at a fantastic advertising firm. I had my life back. I could see friends and family again. I could finally start planning my wedding. And then my life changed.
On February 7, 2012, I lost the most important person in my life - my dad. Two days after his annual Super Bowl party, where he watched his beloved Giants (G-men!) win the big game, I got a phone call from my brother saying my dad had died. It was so sudden... I talked to him the night before and he sounded fine. To say I was shattered would be the biggest understatement in the world. There are no words for the pain, confusion, sadness and anger I went through after losing my father. 8 months before my wedding, where I was so excited to have him walk me down the aisle, where I was so excited to take him to Italy, the country of his heritage of which he was so proud, and I lost it all in an instant.
He was my best friend. I talked to him four, five times A DAY. No joke. I would call him on my walk to the subway to chat for a few minutes. At work to say whats up and ask what his dogs were doing. When I read an article and I wanted to get his opinion on it (people loved hearing my dad's take on things - me included). When I wanted to talk about Mob Wives or American Idol. And he LOVED Behind the music: Notorious BIG and Tupac.
And my father was loved by everyone around him. He was the person who MADE every party a party. He had a "chair" in everyone's house where he would sit with a glass of Dewar's in hand, and he would sit back and watch the party and people would flock to him. Everyone called him "Uncle Bob", whether he was your uncle or not, because if he wasn't, he may as well have been, because he made everyone feel like family. Not only was he nice, but he was hysterically funny. He loved fart jokes, cursing, and telling stories from his days as a New York City police officer in the tumultous times of the city during the 70s and 80s.
When I had to complete the horrific task of passing on the shocking news to people, most people said "but he was my best friend." And he was. He was everyone's best friend. He was the epitome of a "shirt off my back" type of person, who would give and give even if he didn't have. He made everyone feel like his entire world, because we all were his entire world. Friends. Family. Strangers. It didn't matter if he knew you for 50 years or 5 minutes, he always wanted to make everyone feel like family.
I found a lot of beauty within all of the sadness of the days surrounding his wake and funeral. I was floored by the outpouring of love and support from friends and family. At his wake, literally hundreds of people come to pay their respects, with a line going out of the funeral parlor. We laughed and cried and told stories of the wonderful man he was. The day of the funeral was an oddly serene day as the snow fell ever so lightly and the bells of the church tolled while the NYPD color guard walked my father's casket, adorned in a green US flag (the green flag is a sentimental colored flag used by the NYPD) slowly up the steps of the church. The driver commented that he had never seen such a large funeral processional in his life (again, another showing of just how loved my dad was) and to commemorate him together, we all took a shot of Dewars at his gravesite. Although he was Italian, whenever he toasted, he said "Nasdrovya" (the Russian word for cheers), and the word Nasdrovya chimed from over 100 lips and rang out throughout the cool, open air of the expansive cemetary.
I was, and forever will be, so honored to have a man who was so loved, and showed so much love, as my father. He was a rare person that doesn't come along often. I still get so angry and wish I could have had more time with him... I felt like I have been robbed of another 15, 20, 25 years of good times and sharing special moments - my wedding, my first child, holidays, etc. and I don't understand it. I feel as if I am missing years of wonderful moments, not just because I am missing my dad, but because I am missing Bobby, this man who just made everything so much better just by being around. I miss him cracking himself up, where he would laugh so hard he would cry and his shoulders would shake. I miss his stories. I miss his insights. I miss the sound of his voice and his hugs. I miss the way he would look at me when I was being a bratty girl. I miss him making fun of me when I messed up cooking or baking something. I miss him cursing about how much the Mets suck. I miss his warm eyes and big smile. I miss listening to him sing oldies. I miss punching him in the arm and telling him how annoying he is. I know I'll miss holidays with him... he lived for holidays, Christmas especially. I miss his michevious smile. I miss every. single. thing. about him.
I miss my dad.
But I am blessed to have had 30 wonderful years and memories with him. I could go on for days about the man he was and how much he meant to everyone in his life, and I do not doubt for a second that everyone that knew him feels a little emptier without my dad in their life, because he was so full of life and love and happiness that everyone around him felt it. I would give anything to be able to hug him one last time and tell him just how much I love him. I do sometimes in my dreams. And sometimes that makes me feel better.
The night before he died, I talked to him on the phone. He told me about a dream that he had (he always had very vivid dreams and always asked me what they meant): There were two women dressed in white pouring water over his stomach and telling him that everything was going to be ok.
"What do you think that means?" he asked me.
"I'm not sure," I said, "But it sounds peaceful."
The next morning he died, and that night I looked up that dream. Water means peace and your stomach means new beginnings. I hope wherever he is, those women are taking care of him. If there is a heaven, I picture him up there with a crowd of people gathered up around him, as he is sitting in a chair making everyone laugh, and welcoming each new person to heaven like he's known them forever.