Clan Culture: One Year After Dad

The Aftermath of Papa’s Passing

As the one-year anniversary of my Dad’s passing came and went, I was filled with a mixture of heartache, pain, and Relief. Yes, Relief with a capital “R”. The past year had been filled with all of the “Firsts” without Dad; the first Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, Easter, his birthday, Mom’s birthday, his granddaughter’s birthday, and finally, my birthday; special days without him seemed like torture and he was sorely missed.

Those who knew my Dad well, knew what an incredibly humorous, caring, giving, and dedicated man he was. “Hi, my name is Sally, and I’ll be your server today.” Dad would almost always respond “Hi, my name is Dick, and I’ll be your customer today.” Chuckles ensued around the table. He spent all of his retirement years on a golf course, and I know the players appreciated his humor as much as his skill. I bet there are more than a few who feel the loss as they pass through the Pro Shop.

The year hasn’t been pretty. In fact, it has probably been one of the worst years in my life – and I’ve had some pretty bad years. Not only had I been grieving the loss of the first-and-best man in my life, but there were many times when I had to push aside my own grief to take care of my Mom and my daughter.

I’ve also felt the stab of knowledge and the subsequent dull-ache of losing my favorite aunt. My Auntie Jill was married to my Uncle Bobby, the sole survivor of the original Iovino Clan, and the second youngest. My Auntie Jill had acted as a Godmother to me; she was always honest, loving, a fantastic cook, and made me feel like I was always welcome in her home. One of my fondest memories is staying with her family during the days immediately following the Blizzard of 1978. She was obsessed with Elvis, and when my husband and I danced to “Can’t Help Falling in Love”, Auntie Jill clapped and yelled out “Alright Stephanie!” It will one of those things that will remain in my heart until it is my turn.

So as this “worst-ever” year comes to a close, I try to tell myself that Dad wouldn’t want me to suffer over this loss, but to rejoice in him, his ability to make people laugh, and most of all, to see the bright side in any situation. I feel my Dad around all the time; he comes in the form of music while I’m driving, his voice in my heart, and through the smiles and laughs of my daughter, Maia.