It’s Not Everyday Your Mother Returns From the Dead

I don't think you really believe in miracles until you've witnessed one. And there is nothing more miraculous than the birth of a baby. When my parents were sick, we prayed for miracles. But it wasn't meant to be. I doubted if there even was a God for a long time. But I'm a believer again. Losing my parents was so hard. Then starting our DPS (Dead Parents Society) support group changed everything. The only problem was, I had lost my parents a while ago and now I had to…

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Pepperidge Farm Golfish Mac and Cheese, Hold the Popcorn

My brother Juan called me the other day. I was floating my sore back in the pool. His first words were, now I know why you're crazy. Oh, boy. Here we go. So I roll my eyes and get comfy. I lay back and wait for it. He's about to tell me a story. When we were kids and my mom's brother Tank would call, she would snap her fingers at us and sign for us to go get her cigarettes. We always knew that meant it was Uncle Tank…

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Laughter Through Tears is My Favorite Emotion

When my dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer, we knew exactly what to expect. We had just gone through it with our mom. My brothers, Juan and Dat, and I were devastated. When you're put into a situation like this, you can make what you want of it. You can choose to laugh or cry. We chose to laugh. A lot. It's not that we didn't care. Nothing could be farther from the truth. But we knew no matter what we chose, the outcome would be the same. And if…

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I’ll Take the Beau and Shelly with a side of Back Pain, Please

I have been to hell and back. I am still in shock that back pain can be so life-altering. I got an epidural injection last Friday morning and thought I'd be out with my dancing shoes on that night. Sorely, sorely, mistaken. When I returned home to an empty house to rest the eight hours the doctor suggested, I felt fine. I read over the papers I was sent home with. Pain may worsen for 1-2 days after injection. What? Impossible. How could the pain get worse than this? I…

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Women as Priests? Everyone Likes Being Invited to the Party

It is 2014. I am a Catholic. Born and raised. Catholic Grammar School, Catholic High School, and even Catholic College. Sunday mass was mandatory, no questions asked. My parents went to mass on every holy day of obligation with us, unless we were going at school. They also attended morning mass everyday during Lent. Beau and I are also sending our kids to Catholic School starting this fall. We just think it's the best for our kids. Case closed. When my mom was dying, my Dad reminded us that this…

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Aunt Toots: You Say Patato, I say Potahto

My mom had an aunt named Toots. She was my grandma's much older sister.  This woman was older than Christ himself before we were even born. She was born sometime in the 1890's. I often wondered if she had a pet dinosaur growing up. I can't remember what started me thinking about her the other day, but I did. I can't think of the last time I had thought about her. And that's funny, considering she was a major part of my life growing up. Sort of. I sent a…

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A Few Credits Shy of My Mother’s Final Wish

When I originally started out on my college journey, I had really high hopes for myself. And then I got there. I really had no clue what college was all about. In some ways, I still don't. Neither of my parents went to college. My older brother Juan did and graduated in four years. I didn't understand that's how it worked. You took fifteen hours a semester, passed all of them, and graduated in four years. Seems easy enough. But this is me we are talking about. I can still…

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The Time Aunt Batsy Died, But Then Really Didn’t

Aunt Batsy is the matriarch of our family. She has been this for about twenty years now. And she seems to really enjoy this position. She likes to remind us all of her title. Perhaps that is why she feels it appropriate to wear a tiara to a funeral. We're not sure and too afraid to ask, for what the answer might be. Aunt Batsy doesn't drive. She never did. But then in her sixties decided, what the hell, I'll get my drivers license. It makes perfect sense if you are…

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Best Frezins Forever

There is an expression that cousins are the first friends that you ever have. In my family, this is very true. Sometimes even the only friends you'll ever have. We all grew up together. Some right in the same parish, some in others close by. And most of us went to the same high schools together. We are also very close in age. I couldn't imagine growing up any other way. My two closest cousins have always been Boo and Shelly. They are sisters and I can't remember a time we were…

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Don’t Sweat the Toy Room

This is the state of our toy room. I wish I could say it's like this because my back is injured and I can't clean it up. But that would be a big fat lie. It's been like this forever. My kids never go in here, nor do they ever even look for any of these toys. I could rent a dumpster and throw it all away and they would never notice. The only problem with that is, if they saw me throwing it all away, suddenly these toys would be…

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Yes Michigan! The Feeling’s Forever

***When reading this, please do so in Tim Allen's voice. A few years ago, my Uncle Larry and Aunt Lonna bought a cottage in Michigan. They are the nicest, most laid back people you'll ever meet. And if you don't come up to the cottage, their feelings are actually hurt. They want everyone there all the time. It's a nice big place that can accommodate a lot of people. And thank God, because there are a lot of us. When you're there you feel like you're home. The first few years, Beau…

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Life After Death and a Fur Coat

One of the hardest parts of having my mom die was having to watch my Dad suffer. My Mom and Dad were very much in love and were best friends. They did everything together. They had a lot of friends, who were couples, that they went out with all of the time. They vacationed together. They went on dates together. So when my Mom died, my Dad was completely lost without her. Right after my mom died, my Dad informed us that her wish was to be cremated. This was news…

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