grandmother’s memorial recap

December 6th, 2016 § 2 comments § permalink

This past weekend, we memorialized Helen Zidar with a Catholic mass, placement of her ashes, and a brunch with all the cousins. Her life spanned the coal patch, several wars, public housing, the rise of the unions, raising two kids, the unexpected death of her husband (my grandfather, Luke Zidar), the unexpected death of her daughter (my Aunt Audrey) and ultimately receiving her four grandkids and four more great grandkids for many visits, as her surviving son (my dad, Bernard Zidar) expertly managed her care and affairs.

These are the photos shown at her memorial brunch, as my dad narrated and those gathered joined in with memories of our ancestors and the great lives of Helen and Luke. At the end are a few photos I took from my vantage in the room, as well as a few shots of us at the house. I wish I would have gotten more photos of everyone, but I was too thoroughly enjoying meeting “new, old” cousins and catching up with people face-to-face.

Hooray and bon voyage to Helen, and say hello to G-pap for us.

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dear president

December 1st, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

Many of my acquaintances are writing good old fashioned letters lately, to their elected officials. This is for you, dears:

dmpp
ORDER HERE (this is real)

I have diligent friends who generously circulate their hand-crafted call lists and phone scripts, encouraging their circle to support the Water Protectors, watchdog political appointments, and bear witness to the uptick of hate crimes in Trump’s America.  I know some that battle in an online scrum and others who are organizing travel to protests.  For many reasons, I weigh how and where my own energy can be directed.

After swastikas with pro-Trump slogans were spray painted on the Brooklyn playground named after Adam “MCA” Yauch, late member of the Beastie Boys and avowed peace warrior, his former bandmate said the following:

“If you’re able to volunteer, volunteer…if you’re a musician, write that anthem. If you’re a writer, write. Take what you’re good at, and what you truly enjoy, and lend your services to the causes you care most about. ‘Cause we can’t, and we won’t, and we don’t stop.”

Adam “Ad-Rock” Horowitz

This struck me, because I have a hope that my most purposeful work lies ahead, but my next steps are (still) less than clear.

Side note – During the same event, Public Advocate Tish James sang “We Shall Overcome” with the gathered crowd, a mental image that gives me an attack of nostalgia for NYC and makes me wonder if there is a video out there pls?

Right now I watch those individuals and groups who have been doing this thing – those who have been engaged in resistance and will be for the long haul. I admire those who have steadily stoked a fire that fuels their ability to both row and steer.  I was shocked by the election outcome, but I have been even more impacted by those who are making new ways forward.  Specifically, I mean #BlackLivesMatter and #noDAPL, campaigns I view as expressions of pure love for humanity and the earth, respectively. If you try to tell me different, mind you are in for a long conversation with footnotes.

I try to steer clear of echo chambers and instead make eye contact and hear/learn/use people’s names right away. Traveling often makes me feel like my hands are cut off, like I have no pull in a place where people don’t know me. Lately, I’m moving more as a pilgrim, so that every wandering step has more purpose, and every stranger is the next opportunity for exchange.

I am still thinking of what I have to offer in that exchange besides postcards, tho.

goodbye, Helen

November 20th, 2016 § 2 comments § permalink

My Grandmother Helen passed away this afternoon.  Can you imagine witnessing almost a full century? Her life spanned the home radio to the Apple watch. I don’t have my full files on the boat, but I have been going through what I have and finding a few shots from her life, included here below.  She was our matriarch, our oldest living family member, for quite some time. Now my parents are the official leaders of our tribe, and they have concluded a long and heroic chapter of eldercare.  My siblings and I are lucky to have parents that set such a great example of how generations care for one another.

F and I are in Hampton, VA, and so this morning I visited the Emancipation Oak, gave it a hug, and said a prayer for Helen, my parents and All of Us. May we be free in the ways each of us are seeking.

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Helen in work clothes at Norma Drive.

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Dad and Helen at Pamela’s in Shadyside.

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Dad, Helen, Audrey and Mom at Audrey’s.

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Helen at the Devonshire.

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Fabio is presented to Helen.

01

Helen’s dressing table at Norma Drive.