by Jeff Marshall
September 29, 2011.
Less than three weeks after the horror of 9/11, one of New York’s greatest institutions, SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE, proved once and for all that the show must go on. Mayor Rudy Giuliani was there to lend his support. Producer Lorne Michaels asked the now-famous question “Can we be funny?”, to which Guiliani jokingly replied, “Why start now?”. And suddenly everyone realized that New York – and the rest of the world – would get through this.
My personal 9/11 took place December 8 of last year, when my mom very suddenly and unexpectedly passed away. She was a life force – the heart of our family, my best friend, the woman I credit for my sense of humor.
Unfortunately, there is no user’s manual for grief. It’s been the most intense, harrowing learning experience of my life. Those of you who have lost a parent or close loved one can surely relate. And through it all – I must admit – I feel like I lost a good deal of my sense of humor. And mom would throw a fit about that!
So today’s blog is a first step in my own version of HOW STELLA GOT HER GROOVE BACK. (Terry McMillan’s book has no relation to my life whatsoever, but that is just such a great title!)
Since mom’s passing, I have moved in with my dad to help take care of him, which is a sitcom in itself – sort of a cross between THE ODD COUPLE, ALL IN THE FAMILY, and HEE HAW. He’s a pull-my-finger, cowboys-and-Indians, pork rinds kind of fella. He is also my saving grace. Taking care of him is exactly the purpose and responsibility I need right now. Without him and the rest of the family, it’s hard telling in what condition you’d find me.
I’ve gone back and forth trying to decide exactly how to focus my blog from here. I’ve always found the greatest inspiration for my writing in sharing from my everyday life. Well, my everyday life for the last three months has been totally dedicated to my mom and the aftermath of her passing. There has been humor to be found during this period of my life, but do I really want to be known as the callous jerk who is making jokes after his mom just passed away? It’s a delicate balancing act, but I am bound and determined to find the recipe for success.
By the way, you’ll probably find me using a lot of cooking terms – hence the recipe usage above – as Jeff Boyardee is indeed trying to become Chef Boyardee. There have been epic disasters (homemade noodles, fried zucchini, potato pancakes) and delicious cuisine (um, hmmm, let me think…). By the time I’m done I’m sure I’ll have enough stories to fill a dozen blogs!
I want to thank those of you who have been praying for my family during this time of grief. The outpouring of love and support has been astonishing. I especially want to thank my ever-loving editor, Mrs. Borgstede, for her patience during this reclusive time of my life, for her love in traveling across country to be with me for a few days, and especially for her humor, which has inspired me to step away from the grief buffet every now and then and crack a joke or two.
I look forward to continue sharing my thoughts, my stories, my anecdotes, and my warped view of life with you for as long as you’ll have me. After all, the show must go on!