Happy Father’s Day

June 20th, 2010

The boys below, took off on their first annual Father’s Day golf outing this morning.  Three generations, enjoying the sun and each other.

Not sure you could ask for anything more.

Happy Father’s Day!

While they were away, KP, PJ, my mom and I had breakfast and took off to the cemetery.  Since we haven’t gotten a headstone yet, we decided to grab some rocks and some paint and do a little art therapy for the living.

Then we started walking around the cemetery and back behind the shed, were the caretakers keep stuff and throw other stuff away.

My mom found live plants in a pile of disregarded dead ones (Anne Marie, there were a few plant stands there too).  KP found an old rusted out dragon fly and PJ put together bouquets of weed-flowers.

When we put it all together my mom said, “Your dad would have loved doing this.”  I said, “Well, he wouldn’t have loved doing the art, he would have loved the fact that we were steeling this stuff from the back of the shed.”

I really miss you dad.

Death is nothing at all, I have only slipped away into the next room, I am I and you are you.

Whatever we were to each other, that we are still, call me by my old familiar name, speak to me in the easy way you always used.

Put no difference into your tone, wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow, laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we always enjoyed together.

Play, smile, think of me, pray for me, let my name be ever the household word that it always was, let it be spoken without effort, without the ghost of a shadow in it.

Life means all that it ever meant, it is the same as it ever was, there is absolute unbroken continuity.

What is death but a negligible accident? Why should I be out of mind, because I am out of sight?

I am waiting for you for an interval, somewhere very near, just around the corner, all is well.

Nothing is past; nothing is lost, one brief moment and all will be as it was before.

How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again!

Canon of St. Paul’s Cathedral

The dead connection

June 9th, 2010

So, do you think we connect with the dead or the dead connects with us?

I know, crazy pop is what you are thinking, but really??? Is it all coincidence or do we look for more meaning in the mundane happenings?

Yesterday, the kids were playing a game and they kept repeating the word AMAMENTO.  Now, that word means nothing to you and it was a made up word to them.  But to me, it stopped me in my tracks.  I turned to them and said, “What are you saying?”  They repeated, AMAMENTO!

The night my dad and I had our last conversation, he used that word.  He was confused and he was trying to get an idea out and all the languages he knew flooded together and out came AMAMENTO.  We joked about it and the conversation went on and on using the word.  He found out the made up word could be used for many things.  The word could be used affectionatley, my dad grabbed my mom’s hand, kissed it and tenderly said AMAMENTO.  Then it went to the other side of the coin where he put his fist up in the air and said, “Fucking AMAMENTO”.  It could be used for many things and we kept going as long as we could.

It made us laugh.

It was one of our last conversations.

My kids have never heard the word, but yet here it is.

I’m not sure if my dad was trying to communicate something to me from the other world or if it is just a happy coincidence that brought me right back to his memory.

Either way, it makes me feel close to him again.


Wingtips of a Dead Man

May 19th, 2010

Guest Blogger…NATHAN EKLUUUUUND! The following is a story that Nathan told me last week, he was kind enough to write about it. Enjoy!

“What size shoe do you wear?”


“Do you want to try on my dead dad’s shoes?”

“Yes. Yes I do.”

Mary asked if I would be interested in trying on her dad’s shoes that they had purchased a month or two before he died. Frugal like Tom himself, I espoused the “if the shoe fits, wear ‘em” mantra and I went ahead and accepted. I mean who doesn’t want some free Rockport red/brown arminian chili colored wingtips?

To be frank, the shoes aren’t actually really my style, assuming I have a style. But I love Mary, I loved her dad, I love free stuff, and I figured I’d find some occasion to wear them. And I was right.

Last week I went with a co-worker to make a pitch to a potential large client. Please note: I don’t really “make pitches” to “clients” with “co-workers.” Not really my normal gig. But the morning came and when it was time to get dressed, I figured I should dress the part. I knew my co-worker would be the black suit sort of guy. So I decided to play a little good cop/bad cop and I went the more dressed down route. A pair of khakis. A blue dress shirt. A brown sport coat. Pretty plain. A little cute.

But then it was time to pick shoes. It was a clear loafer outfit. But looking in the closet, there were the shoes. Calling to me. And I realized why. Tom made a career of selling stuff. And I bet he was really good at it. So, despite that fact that they were the wrong shoes for the outfit, I slid them on. Did they look good? No. Not really. But were they the right choice? Absolutely.

As we pulled into the client’s office, a black cat passed in front of our car. No kidding. My colleague was sort of jokingly shaken by it. Regardless of your personal view of superstition, I suppose a black cat passing in front of you isn’t necessarily a good omen.

As we were sitting in the lobby waiting for the meeting to start, Phil reiterated that the black cat was sort of unnerving. I crossed my legs and pointed at my shoes.

“See these shoes Phil? These are the wingtips of a dead man. We’re okay.”

An hour later we left the meeting. We had crushed it. It could not have gone better. The shoes were clearly more powerful than the cat. From here on, I’m dedicated to wearing these shoes each time I’m in a sales situation. They might not look good on me. They might not be right for the event. But damned if they don’t work.

Happy 75th

April 21st, 2010

Today is my dad’s birthday.

If he were still here he would be the big 75.

But…he’s not.  So we did what we could to celebrate him.

We went to church in his honor and then we went to the cemetery and found that someone had visited and brought him a flower.

We brought him coffee, his favorite muffin and then we remembered him, his love of church, his love of family and his love of friends.  Then we talked about  all the great things he would be doing today to celebrate himself.

I am sure there are a handful of people remembering my dad today, he had a lot of help celebrating his birthday.

Cheers to you dad.  Happy Birthday.

We sure miss you!

2 or 14 in dog years

April 7th, 2010

Yes, another spring birthday.

She spent her last day being one eating all the left over Easter ham, which filled half of a gallon sized zip lock bag.  And then she shit herself and threw-up.

Sounds about right for a Sellke birthday bash.

Happy 2nd Birthday Lucy!

Haiku for all seasons

March 31st, 2010

It’s really starting to sink in that my dad is gone.  As of late, the littlest of things can trip me up.

Last week I saw someone I hadn’t seen in several months and she asked how my dad was doing,  I burst into tears.

Driving by the cigar shop that my dad hung out at,  I burst into tears.

Having Easter hopping into our lives and CT’s birthday landing right on it, is hard.  Easter was my dad’s favorite Catholic holiday and he loved it when it coincided with his birthday.

About a week after my dad died, I received a card from one of my parent’s friends and on it was a Haiku.

I thought the worst thing to happen is that you would die –

but then you stayed dead.

Yup, that’s the worst.

Down to one

March 12th, 2010

At one point in time, our family had seven animals living in the house.  As of yesterday, we are down to one.

Whiskey “bit it”.  It was sad but no tears were shed.  My kids are getting the hang of the circle of life.

KP’s night time prayer went like this, “And I pray that Grandpa and Whiskey can now be together in heaven.”

I’m not sure Whiskey is going to feel the same way after last Easter.

Sitting still

February 28th, 2010

Today at church, while I sat still and listened to what was being said, I remembered a story a neighbor of my parents told me.  I have forgotten all about this, until today.

One of my parent’s neighbors has dreams.  He dreams about about good things and bad and about people he knows.  Many times he dreams very interesting dreams about people at very interesting times.

This particular neighbor had a dream about my dad, the night he died.

In his dream he saw my dad.  The entire scene started out gray.  The next thing he saw was my dad dressed all in white, a great white light surrounding and emanating out of him.  Only the dark rims of his glasses showing through.  My dad looked at his neighbor and said, “Don’t I look just great!”

And as I remembered the telling of this dream, I felt him there…there with me.

How adults say goodbye is different

February 24th, 2010

My friend Ellen was wielding the camera during my dad’s funeral and burial.  She caught this shot, which I just love.  Here it is…the last touch the kids will ever get of their grandpa.

However, the story doesn’t end there.

Before the casket even got out of the hearse, KP was standing at the edge of the very large grave, peering over the edge to see indeed how big that hole was and wondering what was going to happen next.  Like maybe he might even fall in.

After the burial service, as people were dispersing, the kids asked how the casket got into the ground.  Which quickly turned into, ARE WE GOING TO SEE GRANDPA GO INTO THE GROUND????

I quickly shot a look to my mother that said, you ok with this?  And with her nod of approval, the funeral director got the tooth missing, butt crack showing grave digger to come out early and lower my dad into the ground.

As they were watching in amazement, as the box went deeper and deeper, they each grabbed a flower from the arrangement on the casket.  And once the casket was in, they asked if they could throw in their flowers.

And with great gusto, as only little kids can get away with, they started throwing flowers into the hole and onto of the casket and belly laughing as they did it.

My mothers parting words were, “Your dad would have loved that.  The kids circled around him and the final thing he would hear, their laughter.”

Night time prayers

February 12th, 2010

Last night as KP was finishing up his prayers, he ended with, “and I hope Grandpa is comfy up in heaven.”