Romantic Life Lessons, Whining

Happy New Year!

I’m a little late. Now there’s a loaded sentence. Am I the only one envisioning a trip to Duane Reade to get a pregnancy test? Those days are over for me. Okay, already, I’m wading into TMI waters. Forget all of the above. Happy April 29. And Happy Birthday to Kate Mulgrew and Michelle Pfeiffer.

There is so much to say. What first? I’m not sure where to start. I am healthy, my life is good, I love my husband and my family. I have a roof over my head and can pay my bills. Right now, there is no crisis. For some reason, I’ve achieved a new high* with running. When I was 16, I couldn’t bring myself to run more than 6 miles. At 54, I am easily running 7 miles and climbing. Running is no longer the sport my father gave me as a kid, it’s all mine.

I’ve also written a lot, along with reading everything I can grab. My favorite has been those books I wouldn’t normally pick up. Whenever I feel a storm coming through, I go straight for one of my five books in progress and that helps. Yay, book clubs! Turning that sad tide into something good has been one of the lessons of COVID.

I tried to do some tide-turning this week…and succeeded! Most people have dealt with tremendous loss over the last few years. As we come out of a horrendous experience, the depressing aspects can linger. Therapy has guided me to seek new ways of coping. It’s tough, though, when wallowing comes naturally.

This week, I thought a lot about my Uncle Lenny, who was “100% a saint,” according to my mother. We can say that because we’re not Catholic and it *is* true. Lenny was the one who put a positive spin on everything, showed up for people, and made excellent sandwiches the minute you walked in the door. In addition to working hard and creating an amazing family with my awesome Aunt Rachel, Lenny dabbled in many things, including carving beautiful ducks out of wood, gardening (his annual fig tree updates were more exciting than breaking news), playing saxophone, and cultivating his beloved Model A car obsession. Every time he was around another person, he engaged and made you feel cherished.

As I rolled my eyes through this week, thinking Sartre was right about hell, I felt my inherent awfulness and knew I’d wind up taking it out on those I loved most. Instead, I wondered what Uncle Lenny would do. Definitely something different. He’d go with Sam to support a classmate’s endeavor in Brooklyn (I’m really bad about going to other boroughs). So I went, and–not a surprise–it was a total blast! We met fascinating people and, best of all, I got to discuss the joys of writing with an impressive kid. There’s nothing better than communing with others when you’re living in your head.

Lenny isn’t here with us…but he sort of is. What a life he had, and we miss him so much. It’s hard to believe that one day, he was just gone. But leave it to him to inspire a packed house in a church on the 20th anniversary of 9/11–during COVID for his funeral. There was no red or blue state, no pandemic, no xenophobia or racism, and no grudges during the honoring of Lenny’s life. Everything about him was about togetherness, and the night of his funeral, my cousins and I wound up standing in a circle doing shots of fireball and going through memories of this great man.

To honor him, I will try to remember the other path when existentialist cliches are being too obnoxious (and let’s face it, boring). There is a bright side. Even though everything is locked up in Duane Reade now, we still have easy access to the occasional Snickers bar. Thank you, Lenny Mercurio, for so much.

I hope you are all doing well, hanging with loved ones, and showing 2023 who’s boss.

*not that kind


5 thoughts on “Happy New Year!”

  1. Patience What a lovely note. I remember your Uncle Lenny.  Though I only met him once, he made a lasting impression on me. It was at the Yale Club dinner that he hosted for Bonnie and my joint birthdays. Can’t remember the year but it was probably when we turned 75..a big milestone year.  So much fun. Glad you are getting out..even to other boroughs. Do you think you might be pregnant?  Wow! A dreary weekend, good for reading and getting over the first (miserable) cold I have had since Covid My brother showed up in Chapel Hill and we closed on getting into Carolina Meadows on Tuesday. Non stop meetings (with some parties) through Thursday and I scrambled back to NYC (a day early) totally exhausted. But the cold caught up with me. See you soon. Stay well. Judy

    Sent from Yahoo Mail for iPhone

    1. Judy, Judy, Judy!!! I remember that Yale Club dinner! I’m so glad you had the chance to meet him. I miss him so much. Ack. What can ya do? I hope everything looks good at Carolina Meadows and you’re getting all settled–and feeling better. I hope to see you soon! Oh, and I’m not pregnant, I swear. 🙂

  2. I’m sorry about your loss. Your uncle sounds remarkable. I’m glad you’re hanging in there despite the last few years of challenges. Also, the cat would like to complain that you didn’t mention him under your list of good things.

    1. You are so right. Yossi is very cross. He definitely saved our mental health during COVID!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s