A year ago today I was visiting my sis in Northern Virginia. We were having a lovely visit together that included Starbucks, shopping and lively cooking adventures in her kitchen. It was expected to be a brief visit since Rocket-man was on business travel there. Sis and I had just finished being pampered at the beauty salon followed by a late lunch at Chipotle. We were just exiting the restaurant when we got the call.

Our step-father had passed.

Carefree (most of the time) family!

Carefree (most of the time) family!

It wasn’t completely unexpected…and yet…it was. It nearly knocked the wind out of us and unfortunately set into motion “the year from hell.”  Sis immediately broke down. It happened to me later. I can still hear my sis’s voice; we are in the car on the phone frantically trying to track down the people who needed to know.

“Why aren’t you crying?” she said through heart-breaking sobs.

“Oh I will,” I said with a tightness in my chest that made it difficult to breathe. “We all process grief in different ways.”  Trust me. I had my share of crying spells, and then some, in the months after his death….and sis did too.

So today marks a year since Kurt left this earth. He was a curmudgeon in his later years and yet often quite affable too, with a good deal of German stubbornness mixed-in.  But he was also a generous soul, passionate about his craft, as well as good food and justice. He loved working in his garden and getting out and about every day.  And he took care of our mother, which often was not an easy task.

Sis and I miss him…even when he was being difficult about one thing or another. To us—most especially to my sis who knew him even better than I— he was one, big, lovable teddy bear.

Kurt says HelloYesterday while going through some boxes in my study I found something Kurt wrote to me in 2008. He wasn’t one to write letters (to me, at least) though sometimes I’d receive something in the mail from him…usually a political cartoon or an op-ed piece from their local paper supporting his stance on a particular topic. I certainly didn’t expect letters given that he was not my father and I had known him for less than twenty years. Still, finding the note, a year minus a day of his passing, made my heart skip a beat and brought tears to my eyes.

The note simply said: Hello Cristina. Have a wonderful day. Kurt.

So today, in memory of Kurt, I’ll put every effort into having a wonderful day all the while keeping him at the top of my thoughts.

Kurt, rest assured that I’ll raise a glass to you this evening. Rocket-man and I will open a good bottle of wine and say “Cheers, Prost! – ein Toast!…and Salute” in your honor. I’ll imagine that you are smiling down on me—on all of us—from your happy place in the clouds. And, strange as it seems, I find some solace that you are not on this earth as it has grown even crazier—deadlier— since you departed it!  Oh my Kurt!  You would not be happy with the evil that continues to rock this world!

Though we are having another cold snap, the sun is shining…daffodils are blooming and Easter is around the corner. Life continues. Hope springs eternal. I look forward to the day when I once again soak up the Arizona sun for I’m certain to feel your presence strongest there!

Cheers Kurt. Know that you are missed. And yes…I especially miss all those pounds of mortadella you’d buy just for me every time I visited.

Love ~ Cristina