Of great interest to me is our existential angst. our responses to questions posed when we face our ultimate end, or our impending end or the possibility of an end. Those responses are of notable value. They are, or they could be, the heart of the matter. The souls answers to life’s questions. When faced with our humanity, our protective walls of self-righteous beliefs fall.. at least that’s a prediction I hope to prove.
I will begin with letters to my sweet bubba bella. Why? Because I feel this urgency, this need to express and put onto paper all that I have in my mind for her to one day read, learn, remember and most importantly to grow. At her young age of 5 she cant understand all that I want her to, simply because life hasn’t happened enough. She cant store all my important messages or even yet understand them. But one day she will, and it is then that I hope she can turn to these letters in times of joy, sadness, anger, confusion and hope to find confirmation of her beliefs, solutions or new ways of thinking but mostly a deeper understanding of how I became me, which is part of how she became her.
I came to know death at a young age. My father, your grandpa Samuel Pesacreta passed away when I was just seventeen. Then at 22 my boyfriend, Chris, who I would’ve likely married, passed away all of a sudden from a genetic condition. These events define me whether I want them to or not. They have made me who I am today in so many ways. They likely shaped my current career as a psychologist, my mannerisms as a wife, mother, daughter and friend. They are a part of the definition of me. How morbid some may think. How sad might say others. How strong yet said from others. All partially true but none as true as how enlightening.
Because to me, now, as I look back 20 plus years in time, that is the feeling those experiences provided me. I became enlightened to our humanity. To the possibility that we can literally die tomorrow. Of course this brought with it a host of challenges, which I will share. More than the challenges it opened to my eyes to the world of possible.
I was for all intensive purposes a “daddy’s girl.” He was a retired air force colonel when I came into his life and I had the luxury, though I didn’t know that at the time, of his undivided, truly unconditional attention and love. He was 56 when I was born, he had experienced world war II, Korea and Vietnam wars. He had travelled the world extensively, be married, divorced and remarried. He was born an to first generation Italian immigrants and raised in Beacon new york. Why do I share these facts of his life? Because its what I have come to store in my mind. How I have remembered him. Its also what he shared with me as a child, its what I remember. I also remember many other stories, messages, moments in time that I’ll share with you so you can come to know your grandpa, the greatest man I have known.
Why share? Why talk of the past and persons gone? Because you wont know him, you wont kiss his scruffy cheeks or hold his calloused hands. You wont sit for hours playing blackjack or solitaire to teach you quick math and number order. You wont rake leaves with him in the yard or swim laps with him at the pool. You wont eat a dagwood sandwhich or a filet of fish from Mcdonalds. You wont watch him make a soft boiled egg, crack it into a shallow white Corelle bowl and learn to dip your crispy toast.
You might write dictionary words 10 of them 10 times and the definition and a new sentence. You might be forced to write and re-write your essays for school with mommy’s corrections. You might have to clean baseboards and door jams or rake leaves or clean windows before you can spend time with your friends or buy something you want at the store. These are just a few of the many memories I have stored of my dad. Memories I wish I could implant into your mind. Lessons from those memoires I wish you could automatically just know and understand.
As I begin this journey of sharing my candid, free flowing thoughts with you I’m overwhelmed, unsure of myself and my path. If grandpa Sam was sitting here, he would say a few strong words, guiding messages that I have held near and dear and that have led me through much time and again.
- If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.
- Treat others the way you wish to be treated.
- Give without the expectation of anything in return.
- Learn about the world you live in, really learn, seek to understand
- Be responsible for your actions