Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Don't Cry II

"Why are you stifling your cries? Crying is supposed to be somewhat of a loud event." Jeffrey looked at me puzzled, as I sat across from him not crying hard enough. In the past 12 years I've been going to him for counseling, he has never once seen me cry before. To me, I was having a full-fledged meltdown. To him? I was just sniffling over something trivial, like watching the ending of Titanic.

"Louder?" I asked.
"Yes. You're holding back. Let it out."

I sniffled some more, wiped my nose and then said, "I don't know how."  I spoke about this 5 years ago on this previous article and it mentions more about how Mom always told me, "Don't cry, mama - don't cry." I told Jeffrey about it and how my father did the same thing. They both wanted to see all of their kids happy. Crying meant that they were 100% unhappy with everything. So, even if you were crying over a heartbreak, it meant somehow, you weren't happy with the life they provided for you. It has a lot to do with overall happiness, rather than circumstantial. I explained to Jeffrey a story that my father always used to tell, even during his last days here with us.

At the age of 4 years old, I had this horrible cold. I was sniffling and couldn't breathe through my nose. On top of that, I had croup cough and I was just plain miserable. While sitting on the carpet playing with my toys, I started crying because I couldn't breathe.

"Don't cry baby, don't cry."
"B-b-b-but why not?" as I sniffled and coughed in his direction.
"Because if you cry, you won't be able to breathe at all!"

As I finally succumbed to it and remained as quiet as possible, until the tears started flowing harder.

"Just a little bit," as I measured an inch between my thumb and pointer finger, "Just a little bit?"
You could see the amusement in my father's face as he said, "Okay, just one more minute and that's it."

Back in 2011, I was going through a turbulent time. I thought Dad was inside sleeping off the oxycontin, when all of the sudden, I see him running out from his bedroom with his arms stretched out heading toward me - nephrostomy tubes n' all.

"What's wrong? Don't cry baby! Don't cry!" He hugged me so tight and then said, "I hate seeing you cry! Don't cry!"

It was the first bear hug Dad had ever given me. He was more of a problem solver, not much of an emotional crutch. He didn't know how to handle an emotional girl or woman blubbering about whatever. Mom was the caretaker for that, and even so, you would still get the same message, "Don't cry, mama."  It was out of love, more than it was about control. They just wanted to see us happy all. the. time. And what parent doesn't want that?

On one of Dad's last days here, before hospice shuffled him up to the hospital to his final resting days, (aka 'drugged up coma') - we got to say goodbye to him. He was awake and fully aware. Each family member got to go in and say something, give him a kiss and make sure he knew we all loved him. As I cried my eyes out in the other room, I heard, "Deb! Deb! Come in here, Dad wants a kiss from you."

I sucked it up, dried my eyes and went in…with humor. That's the only way I can cope with things. As I approached his ashen colored body just lying there, it took all of me to 'hold it together' and…not cry.

"This is gonna cost you, you know."
He laughed and nodded, he couldn't say very many words at this point. I kissed him on the forehead and said, "I love you, Dad."
He cracked another smile, as I rubbed his silver hair. As I got up before I started crying my eyes out, I mumbled, "Don't think I won't pickpocket you on the way out."
I got another laugh, possibly the last laugh he ever let out before he passed on.

I miss him calling out my nickname with his loud n' boisterous voice, "Debit!!!" And I'd reply with a louder yelp, "Poppayyyy!"  We did that every time we saw one another. It started when I was a kid, sucking every bit of change and dollar bills right out of his pocket. So the name remained, "Debit".
When Dad passed on, I would have these vivid dreams of him. Some of which he was telling me, "Don't let ya' mutha see you cryin'."  And I promised I wouldn't. But now I sit here, worrying over the new health scare that the doctor told my mother. I haven't slept for three nights. My eyes are puffy and red and yet, I still remember the message, "Don't let ya' mutha see you cryin'."  My mother, my best friend in the whole world, now has a potentially dangerous health scare, and I cannot for the life of me, imagine her in any sort of discomfort. So, I remain silent and stifle my tears. If I am crying, you won't hear a peep from me. It's not a "loud event", as Jeffrey would like to see, but more of a protective mechanism, so that I don't scare my mom.

So if you're reading this today and you have a few moments, would you please send some prayers and positive energy this way for my mother? I feel like the one nightmare I've always had as a child may be pushing through and I'm trying my best to stall it. And it's not like I am denying nature's calling, if that's God's will, but I can't lose my mom right now. Most of all, it would kill me to see her suffer. It would just kill me. Nobody wants to see their loved ones sick and I truly believe she can be one of these feisty Italians making it through till she's 110 years old. She's got too much in her to have the potential "C" word rain on her parade. She still has a long life ahead of her and in my eyes, she is still young and still has so much to experience. I need her healthy in her golden years - not suffering and full of sickness. So please, prayers! And if possible, more prayers. I am one true mama's girl.

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com or join her on Facebook and Twitter. Check out her cooking blog for some of her famous recipes!