Finding My Rudder

Finding My Rudder

A major event that I produced is now past. Everything went well; the event was well received; kudos’ were exchanged and I move forward. Except I need to adjust myself.

It’s been just over six Imagemonths since Dad died; nine months since his surgery and about a year since he found out the cancer was back. Grief is an unknown for most people. We do not know how we’ll deal with the sadness and loss. For me, every day brings a moment of memory. Some days are better than others. Tears flow now as I write this.

My amazing cohort in the planning of the major event that just passed spent some time on the phone with me advising me that basically, I need an attitude adjustment. During the stressful weeks leading to the event, some of my actions and reactions were off the charts; we all have intense moments. What she described to me gave me extreme pause and the knowledge that I have been rudderless.

My new normal is without dad. Baseball season reminds me of that every day. He was who I talked with about the Phillies’ pitching; a great Chase Utley play to first and whether Ryan Howard can make it through the season without major injury. The day before the event, we orchestrated a photo-op at a school. To take the aerial photograph above the scene created by children, Ladder 24 came to the scene. The firefighters assisted me into the bucket of the extension ladder and from 90 feet above, I snapped the shots.

Dad was a retired firefighter. Ladder 24 is the last fire truck he stood in front of in May 2013. My mom, dad, husband and son were Imagedriving back from a Sunday lunch and I knew we needed to stop at the firehouse. The firefighters on duty knew me and welcomed us into the house for a short and meaningful visit. Dad was in his element; talking about firefighting days, sharing stories with the men on duty. The photo I have of mom and dad at the firehouse that day and in front of Ladder 24 mean a lot – especially now.

My son was grateful to see his Pop-Pop in his element; the camaraderie of a firehouse is like family. I grew up knowing this. Dad’s easy-going, happy ways made him always popular among his colleagues. That is why I have felt rudderless. I know I’m turning the corner; I feel as though if I could just talk with him for a minute, I’d get my bearings again.

Time will pass; I will make the needed adjustments in my attitude; I’ll breathe and wait while situations play out. Dad would want me to do that. I can hear him now.

Always With Me

It may be grim, but I have been reading the obituaries for years. Perhaps because I was in the news business or just out of morbid curiosity, I would read the ‘obits’ on the way to work when I was a full-time radio reporter/news anchor. the practice has continued through the years. Sometimes I’d spot a former neighbor or the mother of a friend or a teacher from my past. I’m always filled with wonder about how someone lived their life; who loved them; who is grieving their loss.
Death is a fact of life as the saying goes. How we choose to remember people in our lives after they’ve passed is a very personal thing. I am fortunate to have both of my parents. Memories, old letters and cards and items they’ve given me through the years become more precious. I cherish my dad’s fireman boots and his Philadelphia Fire Department helmet – the old-fashioned kind that weigh about 10 pounds; I cherish my mom’s handwriting on recipe cards and postcards I’ve collected through the years.

(L-R) Ken Breskin, Doug Breskin and Greg Breskin; Doug's 40th birthday, Feb. 1999

(L-R) Ken Breskin, Doug Breskin and Greg Breskin; Doug’s 40th birthday, Feb. 1999

My husband lost his dad in October of 2000. His death came after a fairly short but painful illness. I’m certain not a day goes by that my husband doesn’t think of his dad in some way.

We were spending holiday time with his family, including his sister and brother when Doug showed his brown, leather gloves to his sister and asked,” Do you know where I got these?” The gloves were his dad’s. I never knew that those leather gloves meant so much to Doug until he said,” When I’m wearing them, I imagine I’m holding dad’s hand.”

Very sweet.