Still Miss Them

“That night was the beginning of my living again, and also his words helped me with Helen’s death.
:” I’m intrigued with your affection for Jack. What was he like?”

“I could regale you for hours with Jack stories.”
“So regale me, all I have is time.”

“Two examples of his zaniness stand out in my mind. The first is that one night we are in lay clothes. No collars just suits and ties in New York City. It’s the middle of winter and Jack decides that we should go to a restaurant in New York that has great Italian food and opera performers. When we get there the place is mobbed with a long waiting line to get in. Jack tells me to take my overcoat off and drape it on my shoulders Italian style. He goes past the line into the restaurant. A few minutes later the owner comes out and escorts me into the restaurant and seats us at the front table. I speak Italian but he would know that I am not native born so I said”When I am in America I only speak English.I whispered to Jack” What the hell did you tell this guy” I told him that you were the famous Italian Heart surgeon. I said” are you nuts what if someone has a heart attack?”
Murph never batted an eye he said: “just jump on his chest and start pounding.”

“You may be right he sounds a little like Maniac.”

“The second story occurred in Greece. We arrived at the dock to catch the boat to Hydra a few minutes late. Jack bribed a local fisherman to catch the large ship. When we
arrived at the ship he told me to put on sunglasses and wait until he returned. After about ten minutes three sailors come down the ladder and escort me to a private deck. The entire trip people were leaning over the rail to the deck taking my pictures. Jack had told the captain that he was forbidden to tell them who I was because of national security. The entire trip people were leaning over the deck to take my picture,”

“I think that Jack would have fit into the old neighborhood.”

:’ In some ways he was like Father Reynolds. Jack was a magnet for anyone who was a little off center. One night about three a.m the phone rings in the rectory I answered it and a woman asks for Fr. Jack. I asked her if it was an emergency, and she says” Whenever I have a problem I speak with my husband, my boyfriend, my psychiatrist or Father Jack. Tonight I didn’t know who to speak with so I put their names in a hat and pulled out Fr. Jacks’ name. I asked her to wait walked into Jacks bedroom woke him up and said” Wake up Jack you just won a raffle.”

When someone like that dies a piece of you goes with them. Death was a frequent part of our lives, but its’ different when it’s someone you love.”

Helen’s death was so much like Jack’s in that it was a total shock I could not bear the early evening without her. The loss was enormous, but the months after the funeral were worse. I realize now that I did everything possible to avoid going home at night.”

“It’s so hard to visit places that were special for us. Her favorite restaurant at the Shore was the Golden Lantern. We used to eat there at least twice a month, but I haven’t been near the place since she died.”

“I feel incomplete without her. I don’t brood about it, but the ache is always there.”

“So true, the pain comes and goes, and doesn’t have an expiration date. It’s not just the holidays; it could be a song, a place or seeing someone that we both knew.”

“In our culture you are allowed a brief mourning period, and then everyone goes back to their routines leaving you to grieve by yourselfI have been through so many personal tragedies and Arlene was my anchor going through the grief. Now my anchor is gone and it is so foreign not to have her be with me like in the past.My kids help but there is no replacing her..”

: “my daughter Mary looks so much like Arlene, and has so many of her qualities.”

true of my kids also they are the image of their mother. Those Irish genes overshadow the Italian names I gave my kids.”

“That’s because we are a superior people.”

There are not a lot of opportunities to talk about my wife any more. The kids talk about her, but no one else mentions her.”

“I think people believe that it will cause us pain to talk about them, so they avoid it.”

: “Yeah, when I mention her there is usually silence or a quick change to another topic.”

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