“That’s me and my dad. Jimmy D. See us? There with our matching stains in the upper right corners of our shirts? He’s known for making everyone around him laugh. The funniest guy in the room. Most of the time. He is one of seven children from an old school Sicilian family and things weren’t easy growing up. All of his siblings have the gift for comedy, like so many funny people who use jokes to hide and heal the pain.
My brother died in 1993 and my uncle (my father’s best friend) died in 1996. If you can imagine, he was shattered. Devastating for our whole family, but for a guy who hides the pain, we were worried. It took some time, but he fought through and he came back. He stayed funny.
I’m going through a divorce. Blindsided. Broken. My parents, living six hours away from me, knew I needed one of them to come stay with me and my kids on Long Island. A girl usually needs her mother, yes, but my mother is nursing a broken foot and needed to stay home for doctor appointments. So, that meant Jimmy D. to the rescue.
Not known for his sense of nurturing, my dad showed me so much love and support in the week and a half he spent with me. We watched Hallmark movies. He made me his meatballs and sauce, his bradu (turkey soup) and my favorite: his sandwiches. He makes the best sandwiches with his homemade hot peppers. We got some new stains on new shirts. He talked to me about things a father usually never talks to his daughter about. He stepped out of his comfort zone for his little girl. And he made me laugh.
I’m learning from him that we use our pain to build out the other parts of our lives when we’re forced to. How we look forward to our future. How we raise our kids. How we fight. And how we stay funny. No matter what.”
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