With the inability to get enough opportunities to volunteer in the real world, I have found a new place to work for a couple of months, The Cleveland Photo Fest (you can see the link on the “Kandi’s Land on The Web!” page). I am grateful for this.
My first day was a Saturday, May 8, 2021. This was day 16 for my Dad dying in the hospital. My wife had to work. The day before was my parents’ 61st wedding anniversary, the next was Mothers’ Day and the day after that, our 35th anniversary. I really needed to step away from myself, my life and escape into my selfish and happy place. PLEASE, I am by no means complaining, but I empty my head here and I am just setting the scene for what my day was like. We all deal with life and for every one of us, it is completely different. Even the similarities are completely different as we can only view the world through our own eyes and those eyes have been greatly influenced by our own personal experiences. My intention on this day was to be in a dress as long as possible without blowing through my self-made boundaries. The day did not go as I had hoped, but I did salvage some time for complete selfish joy.
The outfit, this dress…. Cost me maybe $2 at Piece Unique or that might have been one Lisa refused payment on (you are such a great friend!). There is not much to explain, a beautiful dress, the right black pumps and hose and a feeling of bliss which resulted in that smile you see!
I arrived at the gallery to see that it was only me and one of the photographers, a delightful gentleman. We chatted for quite a bit and he talked me through all of the photographs he was exhibiting. I had the opportunity to thoughtfully look at all the exhibits and photographs, many were very moving. We really only had a few visitors on the day. About 45 minutes into my shift, I got a phone call, which changed the tenor of my day.
I excused myself for the rest of my shift and since there was nothing I could do, I proceeded to get a bite to eat before heading home. I stopped at The Bourbon Street Barrel House for a Happy Hour dinner of gumbo and vodka cranberries. A much needed time to reflect and think. I then stopped at a local candy warehouse on my way home, which features every conceivable type of candy and sweets, to get a few treats to get me through the evening.
All day (it was only about a three hour outing), at three different places, I was treated like a queen. I was referred to frequently as “she”, “Ma’am” and received many smiles, great kindness. It helped that I was not in a mask wearing situation, so I was able to paint a broad smile to others. You can see the happiness that my being Kandi brings.
That phone call, with me looking like you see above, was with two of my sisters and my Mom, making the decision to simply let nature now take its course and let Dad go. A medical decision was required that this time. Frankly, it was an easy medical decision (I essentially made the decision with unanimous agreement) but a hard life moment. I just want Dad at peace and Mom freed of the burden she has been carrying. Never once did I feel wrong for being dressed at that moment. I felt absolutely, 100% human. More human than I would have otherwise.
I sat at that bar, in a very crowded restaurant, staring at myself in the mirror behind the bar, grinning broadly while crying at the same time. The gumbo was fabulous, the drinks my crutch.
Take nothing for granted. Tell your wife, your partner, your sister, your brother, your son or daughter that you love them because you never know when you won’t be able to do that. I have learned a lot about love lately. It is worthless unless you give it away, but then it is the only thing of any real value.
We lost Dad this past Monday morning (yes, on our 35th wedding anniversary). After the initial realization, there was a tremendous sense of relief. He is no longer suffering. Mom is unburdened from the role of 24/7 caregiver and can start to relax now. As it relates to the subject matter of this blog, Kandi will be stored away for about two weeks. There is always content coming, don’t worry about that, but new adventure posts will not be for a while.
We all go through this in one form or another. Whether we never know our Dad or it’s because of a divorce or he dies young, what have you, it’s the circle of life and it never seems to stop turning.