Thoughts about Meghan Markle Fever

I have never been into a royal event as I have been into this one. Ever. And I am trying to figure out why. Lord knows I have seen and heard of a few royal events in my time-but nothing has captured my heart, interest or imagination as much as this one has. Follow me on this journey as I try to breakdown my fascination.

Image result for meghan markle wedding people magazine

1. What should have been the Royal Weddings of all royal weddings for me – I remember years ago seeing the first royal wedding for people of my generation.

Image result for kate middleton people magazine wedding cover

I remember that I was working on a take home final exam throughout the night and seeing the wedding on the ABCnews/yahoo livestream video.  I remember Barbara Walters taking a pause from what she was saying to describe the wedding dress as Kate exited the car. I remember the keen focus in Ms. Walters’ voice! I remember how David Muir and other journalists took personal pictures from the wedding!

There was so much pomp circumstance, I remember when I saw different heads of state there. I remember the inside of Westminster Abbey. I remember the kiss (or rather kisses) at the balcony of the Buckingham palace. I remember the grand elegance of Kate Middleton’s dress.

There was enough pomp and circumstance to last me a lifetime. Then why am I so into this one??

2. Then there was one.

Image result for princess diana funeral mummy card people.com

My grandfather died on August 31st, 1997- the same day as Princess Diana. As my father said, “The whole world is in mourning as we are mourning.” It was a gray, deary time for us. During that time I remember pouring through People magazines and a Princess Diana Commerative books learning more about Princess Diana and her amazing journey (and dresses). I think focusing on Diana’s glamorous pictures bonded my father and me to my grandfather even more.

Image result for princess diana wedding carriage

I remember my father telling me how it was like to watch the royal wedding in 1981 and just the grand majesty and fairy tale of it all! It was like living through July 29th, 1981 all over again! I also remember him reminiscing about how Dan Rather managed to make  a joke about America in all the circumstance and how if the U.K played their cards right then this (i.e the US) would have been the U.K’s too! Funny what people remember. ( I also just realized that my Dad remembered Dan Rather and I remember David Muir/Barbara Walters).

This is the first royal wedding where those before me weren’t here.

Some people eat for three ( i.e. if you are pregnant with twins) and now I have to watch for three. Grandpa and Daddy I miss you!

3. This time I really have been in a hell, so I need this. 

Image result for kate middleton newsweek in a world going to hell

I still remember when this Newsweek  magazine cover came into my home, and thought that the title was so cheesy. True, there was a recession going on at that time, the Arab Spring happened, and many other hellish things. But, hellish things are known to happen at any given living moment!  The good old days were never really that good anyway, so I am not sure about what hell the author of this article is referring to.

But, this time around I truly do feel, “In a world gone to hell, thank God for a wedding.” Aside from the hell American politics are in, I do feel that since my father died I have been in a hell.

When my father died- the funeral home committed some terrible blunders. I kid you not.  The guardianship company (they were in charge of managing his health and finances) were not returning my calls/emails. When I did speak to the director she told me to have a fucking life. It has been hard to figure out everything by myself. It has been a living hell for sometime.

So, I needed this wedding.

4. As the Royal Gift Shop shows:

Royal Wedding Official Commemmorative Wedding Bells Decoration

This is a wedding for both sides of the pond! And this makes me freaking proud to be an American.

An American has joined the royal family. I love being a proud patriotic American. I love saying the pledge of allegiance, thanking a vet, and singing the national anthem. Seeing, one of our own being celebrated and exalted makes me beam,especially as she is proudly accepted into the establishment of another country.  After all 80 years ago when another American tried to enter into the same establishment of another country- it was unthinkable.

5. Meghan Markle’s wedding  would make my Grandfather proud.. according to my Dad.

Some years ago I spoke to my father on the phone and I told him, ” Edward the VII had to abdicate the thrown because he wanted to marry a Wallis Simpson, a thirty-something American divorcee…” before I could finish my father had a teary-mom-moment, and said “Oh… your grandfather would have been so happy to hear this!!!”

My grandfather was partially a British citizen and loved history. So, to my father hearing his daughter discuss something historical and British was a beaming moment! And having Meghan Markle, a 30-something American divorcee marry into the Royal family is a full circle moment. Not just for history but a full circle moment I can share with my Pa and Grandpa in heaven.

6.  I think People magazine’s title said it all: See Prince Charles Walk Meghan Markle Down the Aisle After Heartbreak with Her Dad

This one is is heart breaking for me. Although, Meghan does have a father- he couldn’t walk her down the aisle.  Well, now that my Dad has transitioned ( I have a harder time saying g.o.n.e) I literally don’t have a father to walk me down the aisle.

I am not engaged or anything- but it is something that has crossed my mind since the death. I thought recently about a family friend- who has been a only devoutly loyal person to me since Pa died.

But, maybe I could tear a page out of Meghan Markle’s book for inspiration. Hint, hint!

7. Meghan Markle makes me want to get married.

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Seeing Ms. Markle drive with her mother to the church, hear the church bells, as she ascended the steps of the chapel, and hear Handel’s music as she started her walk.. I don’t know what it is- but now I am inspired to get married!!!

This is huge coming from me because as a little girl I never wanted to play dress-up as a bride. I never wanted to be a bride for Halloween or pretend. I never bought Barbie wedding dresses for my Barbies. I screamed whenever people said that when I was older I could get married.

I was super, super girly as a child-pink and dolls everywhere- but never into weddings. All of this carried over into my life as an adult.

Until a three years ago I had never knew what a wedding party was. And my whole life I have been to 1.5 weddings!

BUT Now, I have wedding fever. Thanks to Ms. Markle:)

Oh.. and could it be a mere coincidence that when I finally woke up in the morning to see the wedding it was 6:36 am- the minute she said I do:) 

8. I still cannot figure out what is it about this woman??!!!

Image result for meghan markle toothless child

I am like this toothless grinning boy on the inside- and whenever I think or see Meghan Markle! But, I am not sure why?

The world already had a princess before Meghan Markle came along and her name is Kate Middleton.  Kate Middleton is a classical natural beauty.

Her wedding was the first MAJOR royal event in thirty years.  The first.

Her wedding dress was the epitome of tradition and lace and in some ways more of a dazzling, intricate spectacle than Meghan’s.

She broke convention by being a commoner and marrying into the royal family. She put some major serious holes into the British class structure. And heck she even has a name to match her middle class heritage: Middleton!!

I mean I always liked her. I saw the 20/20 wedding special about her at least ten times. And how her mother transformed her family into upper middle-classdom with their business, Party Pieces. And how one commentator said about Kate, ” Kate is a girl who has never had a toe out of line. She will join in on the fun. But, at a party she will have one drink instead of three.”

Yet, I don’t fully know if she ever fully did it for me.  I remember being annoyed since she got married at how people.com always showcased something about her online. Like why do I need to know about her pantyhose..again?

And I had mixed feelings about the monarchy in the U.K.

With Meghan Markle however, I am mesmerized by everything this woman does so far. There is something captivating about her.

Is it that she is American? Or a modern young woman (and 36 is young to all you 5 year olds) with a free, hip, life before royalhood ( with pics and a former blog as evidence)?

Is it because she is the most gorgeous looking royal? Ironically, plastic surgeons have said that there has been a demand in her nose albeit that is imperfectly perfect! By some standards, Kate’s larger eyes and shorter nose might be deemed more perfect.

Or it her boldness that made one British onlooker who met her, ” She is our Diana?” Diana was known for her boldness after all, having her own sense of style and for looking into causes nobody else did. Meghan wearing sleeveless dresses for interviews, no pantyhose during engagement announcements, and discussing how menstruation create barriers for third-world girls’ progress seems to be doing the same kind of bold.

I think Meghan Markle has some sort of charisma. After all, she was in the movie and television star! Just as Kate Middleton’s name denoted her middle class heritage Meghan Markle with the Sparkle’s last name reminds you of her sparklingness!

I wonder what my father would say about her? Would he think she is as beautiful and captivating as I find her? Or would he think that Kate Middleton is the ultimate regal highness? What would my anglophile Grandpa think of her and her Amerincan-ness?

I think there is something about Meghan Markle’s warmth and personality that lends on aura around her, to the people she surrounds, and whatever ensemble she may don. After all how is it possible that she impeccably charms everyone?

People magazine said it the best on June 14, 2018 with the headlines:

We’ve Never Seen the Queen Smile Like This! See Her Chemistry with Meghan Markle in Action

Image result for meghan markle and queen laughing together

Or for that matter Prince Charles, too!

Prince Charles laughs with Meghan Markle at Royal Ascot on June 19, 2018.

9. I lied there wasn’t there wasn’t just one. There is another: Thumper:)

Like the name of the blog says..  A life after a death does include bunnies. Even on the day of a royal wedding and the day souvenirs arrive!

So, even though Pa and Grandpa aren’t here- I have her!

Meghan Markle souvenir and thumper.jpg

10. Meghan Markle fever continues.  I keep staring at pics of her like this:

Image result for meghan markle charles bday people.com

She stole the show with those flouncy curls and and sweet-as-candy dress

11. And in the form of souvenirs:

Meghan Markle souvenir.jpg

12. Watching Television movies of her at home:

 

13.  Parting Thoughts on the Royal Wedding

Milestones Mean More Now Than Meritocracy– I remember when Kate Middleton got married, I was like what is she doing that is special? Did she and Prince William find a cure for cancer? What did they do that was special? Celebrating the Oscars is amazing- we celebrate people’s talents. Here, we just celebrate wealth, and tradition- and though it’s amazing to see- some people never question it.

But now, perhaps, after a loss, I understand that the monarchy does do a lot. They are great cultural ambassadors, they tie us to the past, and can be nice something nice to stare at.  And it’s okay to look at things that gives us some pomp, and circumstance.

And I realized that in life we shouldn’t always just judge people on how much they can achieve,  what cool things they have done, and how they are busy.

It is okay to just be. And to celebrate life’s milestones such as weddings.

Time stood Still-– When huge events such as this happen- one always remembers where they were, what they were doing, and who they were with (or in my case it was who I wasn’t with).

I have to be honest- it didn’t matter what celebrity was posting a nude selfie or going to a movie premiere. Or what else was happening in the world outside of me. Nothing mattered to have my focus bathed in the foliage of this wedding.

And I don’t know about you- but in this short attention lifespan world we have clicked ourselves into- everything else was white noise.

It is important to be a part of events like this in life.

Cherry Blossom/Cotton Candy Clouds and the Gift that Keeps on Giving-I remember I didn’t want the May 19th or the weekend of May 19th to end. I didn’t want to go back into the real world. Visually the wedding was so majestic, yet light and airy that it was like looking at Cherry blossoms. I remember when she entered the church and Handel’s music played I felt that I was floating in the heavens on cotton candy clouds. There was a solemnity of the whole process- but there was an unique regal awe and levity to it.

I remember reporters saying that they felt they were in heavens when she entered the church and the music played, and that some of them cried. So, it wasn’t just me,

Years ago, in a 20/20 special it said that the Hollywood celebrities come and go-but Kate Middleton is the real deal; there is only one monarchy.

Well, in that same token there is only one majestic monarchy and one very regal, real, Meghan Markle.

And even though the Wedding is over both the monarchy, Meghan Markle, and their spectacle will not dim out. They are the gifts that keep on giving and helps many, including me, as we live in the shadows of death, bureaucracy and the other battles that be.

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Happy Connection Day Grandma

Today’s post is dedicated to my father’s mother- my grandmother. She died on this very day 24 years ago. When I met her as a child she was in a vegetative state and couldn’t feed, wash or walk herself. But, I was surrounded by her legend. She couldn’t speak for herself but everyone spoke of her.

They said that she got a math degree in the early 1940s at a time when many women didn’t go to college. That She gave some feminist speeches on campus before feminism was a word. Note being- she was laughed at, during said speeches- but pushed on. And it was this love of math and science that my father inherited- which propelled him into an engineering career.

She was a lovely wife and mother, who gave generously. In a bind? She would give you a silver dollar. Or better yet how about a Spanish 24 karat gold guinea coin.

My dad idealized her and never said ONE. NEGATIVE. SYLLABLE ABOUT HER. Others seemed to echo this as well. I am not sure how nobody had one negative syllable to mention about a person.

But all of this adds to the more reason as to why my men- don’t-cry -generation father weeped for her when she died. And why I always regretted not being born earlier to experience her soul pre-vegetative state

Which brings me to 5.18. It was a sad day when she died. But, being able to mourn her life and seeing my Dad mourn her connected me with her. That’s the thing about when people die. It technically is another milestone. And instead of celebrating it with the people who have passed, you celebrate it for them.  And in the midst of acute sadness, there is an acute connection with the departed. You connect with them in a unique deep reflective way. So when someone dies I like to sometimes call it connection day- instead of date of death. And for me to have always been surrounded by the legend of this magnificent woman, yet whom someone I couldnt communicate with, to be able to connect with her means so much to me. So much.

That said, I wanted to tell my Grandmother wherever she is: Hope you are happy Grandmother. Hope you are keeping Daddy and Grandpa company . And I hope to one day soon meet you again. Until then, watch over Thumper and me:)

– Muah, Love and Good Night

Happy Belated Birthday to me

Yesterday was my birthday. Now, you might be wondering- what am I doing writing about my birthday on a blogsite devoted to death and my Dad. But, if you think about it- aren’t birthdays always inextricably linked to ones parents?

So, on one’s special day you, one always thinks about the person/persons who brought them to this earth. If you are on good terms with your parent and they are alive- you might pick up the phone and call them.

But to those of us who cannot pick up the phone and place a call to the people who made our birthday possible, reminescing about them is the next best option.

Some of us may reminsce about our parent, their being, essence, and face- and how they aren’t there. And this back of the mind shadowy image which evokes a gut response- casts a shadow on the day.

But, all is not dim or dark in the venn diagram of birthdays and deceased parents. Birthdays also remind us of the birthdays and traditions which we experienced with them❤

To be continued…

 

 

 

What Could Be Funny About a Death?

Someone asked me recently, have you found any humor in the death experience. I blinked a few times and said, “Umm..no..”

What can ever be so funny related to a death? In particular to losing a parent? Well, perhaps when life gives you the intersection of a death with that of a eight pound -grey-bunny named Thumper.

I still remember the day when I finally took the call and heard the words, ” Your father passed away.” I remember holding onto something which some might say that doubled up as a crutch. his something that held on to/used as a crutch was my eight pound bunny.

Later, that night I was searching in a sea of papers relating to my Dad. A few of his briefcases were opened- and it smelled of him. I felt so nauseated that I fell asleep on my kitchen floor. What woke me up was the sound of chewing and I looked up and my bunny Thumper was chewing  a sheet of paper.

It turned out that the paper she was chewing was  my Dad’s handwriting, which in a way was infuriating. But, it was also so light and ridiculous that it buoyed me out of the panic-stricken grief and graveyard of papers I collapsed in.

So, this is the only funny aspect/story/tangent I have thus far relating to my father’s death. Have you had any intersections between humor and death?

 

 

The movies and Dad

I was named after the movies. I grew up with my father telling me that the talkies were the movies with sound and before talkies,movies were silent. Even though he was born in the 1940s and grew up in 50s, a time when ‘talkies’ were prevalent, he grew up watching silent film.

And he named his only kid after the wife of one of his favorite directors: Charlie Chaplin. The wife happened to be a silent film actress.

I saw ‘Gone with the Wind’ when I was six, and when I was eight my Dad made sure I saw the classics like ‘Dr. Zhivago,’ ‘One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest,’ ‘My Fair Lady’ and the ‘Sound of Music.’

My father also resembled a striking resemblance to the actor Al Pacino, with a closer runner up being Dustin Hoffman. In fact, looking at Godfather and its sequels as well as the Graduate is like seeing my dad in 3-d. My father and I had a running joke of how we are an Al Pacino family and that between him and myself- we completed/made up Pacino. You see, my father had Pacino’s face- and I have Pacino’s birthday- April 25th.

So you would think that since Pa is gone, that I would watch movies with actors which resembled my father or the classics which I experienced with my father. Or maybe even see movies which my father said that he meant to see but never got a chance to fully finish- like ‘ Lawrence of Arabia.’

Instead, I watch movies about fathers and children or things involving deaths of fathers.

From the library I rented ‘Catch Me If You Can,’ ‘Rain Man’ and ‘Saving Mr. Banks.” All three movies involve the deaths of fathers.

‘Catch Me if You Can’ involves a young man who learned the best from his Dad (conning), tries his best to emulate him and get back what his father lost-wealth and prestige. Upon his father’s death his conning ways minimize as he is heartbroken and lost.

‘Rain Man’ is about an arrogant young business-man who deep down was hurt by his father and finally comes to term with the hurt- upon his father’s death. But upon dealing with the complexities of his father’s will and estate- he discovers something else his father left him: a brother.

The third movie, ‘Saving Mr. Banks,’ is about the creator of Mary Poppins who has never fully grieved the death of her father- and has tried to work out her childhood troubles through her literary work: ‘Mary Poppins.’ And because  it relates to her father- she doesn’t want to part ways with it- even if that means parting with it to Walt Disney. I should point out that the writer of Mary Poppins, Helen Goff, is so connected with her father that she goes by Mrs. Travers- her father’s first name.

I should point out that in different ways I resonate with all three stories. Perhaps not in the same way. After all I don’t find a brother in dealing with my father’s estate- but lord knows that I know a thing or two about estates thanks to the death. I too, as Leonardo Dicaprio’s character know how it is like to feel resigned after a father’s death. And like Mrs. Travers I know how it is like working out a father’s death through literary work. Or at least attempt to.

I also bought ‘Mrs. Doubtfire from the grocery store- the penultimate movie about paternal bond.

But even I after a while need something a little light. So, I thought- why not get a movie about mice. So, I got ‘Ratatouille’ and ‘ Mousehunt.’ However, it seems that fathers, deaths, and estates don’t escape me! In ‘Mousehunt,’ someone dies and there is a reading of a will/estate. And in ‘Ratatouille,’ not only is there a reading of a will and estate, but there is an estate because the main chef died- who was the father of the main character! Aghhhh!

Makes me wonder- if there is a reason why I keep getting connected with paternal bonded movies even when I try to escape them..is someone trying to say hello😉

But the cool thing about movies are- you can see them over and over and be reminded of who you saw them with and who they remind you of. They are art, and art is immortal. And it aids in us dealing with the finiteness of mortality and mortals.

 

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Keeping Dad Alive

Well, from the last post you might have read that lot of Dad’s clothing have been gone. There aren’t a lot of things/objects left of him. So, that is why I probably do whatever I can to keep whatever links of him alive.

What’s in a way sadder is that when someone dies- accounts and other transactions used start to die out too. And it is a reminder that these persons somehow don’t matter anymore to society.

So, my Dad’s cell phone account was in some ways another object, like his clothing, that I wanted to keep around for my own link to him. But, also to keep his link in society alive as well.

We are and always have been a T- Mobile family. My dad started a family plan with them back in 2004- when I was still in grade school. I remember him one day holding three T- mobile bags in a summer afternoon when he came to pick me up.

This is back before smart- phones and social media stars like Kim K. Back when cellphones were just cellphones. And contracts still ruled the airwaves.

Over the years he never switched over to anyone else- despite the few times I went over in monthly minutes and costed him a few extra hundred dollars.

Then in 2014, when Alzheimer’s forced him to go into an assisted living facility where he wasn’t allowed to have a cell phone, I decided to pay for his cell phone and mine.

Since, his death I keep both phones. But, his line is always turned off. I am on a grandfathered plan which makes keeping both lines very affordable. I had the option of keeping both lines in my name. But, I chose not to. That way, when I login – I can still see my Dad’s name. And somehow seeing him on a business account, in the world of transactions, makes me feel that he is still relevant to the sea of commerce. And in this world where money only seems to matter- it helps to know that he has a name still floating around in those waters.

I am just happy that in that sea of commerce I have an anchor always connecting me to my Dad.

 

Being Near Men’s Clothing Still Makes Me Uncomfortable

My father loved clothes. He Never broke his bank account on them. But, he had a sensible clothing collection that would make any professional career man envy. Dress shirts. Short sleeve shirts. Double breasted jackets. Trench Coat.  A sea of navy blue dress pants and sports jackets. Three piece suits. Silk marigold paisley shirts from the 1960’s.  Fish net shirts from the 1970’s (One of which I wanted to wear in high school to which he said absolutely not!).  Acid-washed black jeans jacket from the 80’s. Corduroy pants for casual wear. Dress boots, monk shoes, slip-on shoes. AND TIES GALORE. His closet was a sea of yesterday, casual, and elegance.

I am one of the girliest girls out there. Lots of skirts and dresses. Lots of colors. Lots of lace. I can describe a woman’s outfit from a mile away. Peasant top,khaki pencil skirt, with espardilles.

But, if there is one thing that this girly knows better than women’s clothes is men’s clothing. I grew up around a never ending carousel of them: Docker’s; Haggar; Hush Puppies: Florsheim; Pierre Cardin; Levi’s Strauss.  I can tell when a man is a 34 by 34 or a 36 by 38. I can guess when a man wears a 9 in shoes versus a 10 and a half in boots. And best of all I can guess a man’s collar size; I can tell a mile away if a man’s collar is 15.5 or 18.

One of my first summer jobs after high school was working in Marshall’s and of all places I was placed in the Men’s department. So, I was able to further hone these skills. Granted, since then maybe my men’s size spotting skills maybe a little less spot- on then I would like, lol!

Since my Dad died- it has been especially hard to be around/walk around the men’s department in any clothing stores. I frequent the local salvation army (pictures), and when I get too close to the men’s section- I feel that I am in the force field of Kryptonite. The men’s section is right in the middle of the store. Yet, I never walk through the men’s section to get to the other side of the store- always around it.

This past weekend it was especially hard because I was out of town and I passed by the one brand that my father put father smiled and put on a somewhat lofty pedestal: Brook’s Brothers.  He had only one item of Brooke’s Brothers. He would tell me that he heard the actor Kevin Costner and other Hollywood actors of yesteryear say that his shirt was Brooks Brothers. Thankfully, there was a window between the labeled item and me- otherwise I would have been a puddle on the floor.

It’s funny, I myself have never been into labels and I remember my father would usually go after what something looked like rather than the label. But, in looking back perhaps I was mistaken.

What makes it ultra-hard to be around men’s clothing/shoes/items is that his ex-wife took a lot of his things and what she didn’t take was thrown out. I only have one clothing item of my father with me. One.

And perhaps being around the sea of men’s clothing in the stores is a reminder of not only of the man who isn’t here but the reminders of him, which aren’t too.

What about you- is it hard for you to be around things from someone you lost?