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Lisa 1/31/10

On this last Friday, my sister Lisa would have turned 57 if she had lived. Her birthday is Jan 29. She has now been gone for over three months. To me, it does not seem that long
I realized today that I still have her number on my cellphone speed dial.  I do not want to remove it. I have looked at her emails to me over and over again. Mostly they are about nothing special, just everyday life stuff. I have not wanted to delete them. They are my last lingering connections.
I do think about what Lise would be thinking about so many things. I wonder if she would be mad at Obama like so much of the Left. Chances are, not very. I know, though, she was not on board with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Could I have gotten her to go see Avatar? Yes, definitely. She would have liked the 3-D, especially at an IMAX. Not that she wished anything bad on anyone but she would be glad Scott Roeder, the guy who murdered Dr Tiller, got convicted of first degree murder.
It is a certainty that Lise would have been uninterested in the upcoming Super Bowl. Even if the Eagles were in it, she would not have cared although she would have been happy for me. Just about my only football memory with Lise goes back to childhood. She came to a game at Franklin Field in the early 60’s where the Eagles played before they played at the Vet. I remember she got lost when she went to get a hot dog. My dad found her. It was a different world then. No one thought about missing children like they might think now.
Lise was a big Phillies fan along with her kids, her de facto ex-husband, and her whole birth family. She did not live sports but this is the Phillies Golden Age. Hard not to like a team with Ryan Howard, J. Roll, Chase Utley,  and Shane Victorino. She enjoyed the sheer pleasure of watching such a great team. I don’t think it will ever be better than this for Phillies fans.
Since Lisa died, I have thought about going to a grief counselor but I haven’t gotten it together to do that. I did get a couple therapist names. It has helped me to talk and email friends about Lise. I suppose this has given me an outlet. At the suggestion of Lise’s friend and my friend Bebo, I checked out a book, Surviving the Death of a Sibling, by T.J. Wray.
Wray argues that when an adult loses a sibling, society fails to recognize the depth of the loss. She describes what she calls dismissive condolences by people who expect you to get over it.
What I find hard and what bothers me is that I always expected Lisa to be here for my whole life. I wrongly assumed her ongoing presence. She was a keeper of secrets and a repository of family knowledge. She knew me like a book and she and I could level. She had worked harder than anyone at keeping our family together.
To say there is a loss does not come close to specifying the degree of emptiness of Lisa’s absence. Lisa’s death, along with our Dad’s last May, completely tossed my birth family to hell. We are like a fragment of what we were.
Through this all, my mom has been an unbelieveable rock. I treasure her. She is tough and has soldiered through a nightmare. I feel incredibly lucky to have such a wonderful mother. She has totally been there for me.
I did want to note that in the last week our family received notice that Lisa would be honored posthumously on Feb 24, 2010 at the Campeones de la Justicia Banquet by the Immigration Law Society and Alianza, the Latino Law Student Society. This event honors the most prominent and distinguished Hispanic leaders in the legal community in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The event will be at 6pm at hte Camden County Boathouse on Cooper River Park.
I want to end with a poem by Ferlighetti. Lisa loved Ferlinghetti and she and I had shared a copy of Coney Island of the Mind.
    The world is a beautiful place
                                          to be born into
if you don’t mind happiness
                                   not always being
                                                        so very much fun
    if you don’t mind a touch of hell
                                              now and then
             just when everything is fine
                                            because even in heaven
                            they don’t sing
                                                all the time
            The world is a beautiful place
                                                  to be born into
    if you don’t mind some people dying
                                                        all the time
                      or maybe only starving
                                                    some of the time
                which isn’t half so bad
                                                if it isn’t you
Oh the world is a beautiful place
                                              to be born into
            if you don’t mind
                                 a few dead minds
                in the higher places
                                            or a bomb or two
                        now and then
                                           in your upturned faces
    or such other improprieties
                                          as our Name Brand Society
                            is prey to
                                        with its men of distinction
        and its men of extinction
                                          and its priests
                    and other patrolmen
                                            and its various segregations
and congressional investigations
                                            and other constipations
            that our fool flesh
                                    is heir to
    Yes the world is the best place of all
                                                  for a lot of such things as
        making the fun scene
                                        and making the love scene
and making the sad scene
                  and singing low songs and having inspirations
      and walking around
                                looking at everything
                                                        and smelling flowers
        and goosing statues
                                    and even thinking
                                                    and kissing people and
        making babies and wearing pants
                                                and waving hats and
                                      and going swimming in rivers
                        on picnics
                                in the middle of the summer
        and just generally
                                ‘living it up’
    but then right in the middle of it
                                            comes the smiling

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