A year ago tonight or why I can’t watch Derek Jeter’s last walk-off


Me holding dad’s hand 9/25/14

[Throughout the course of the day, you may see a lot of stuff on social media about Derek Jeter’s last at bat at Yankee Stadium because if you can believe it, it happened a year ago tonight.]

A year ago tonight, I was with my father in his hospital room, watching the Yankee game. I made it a point to be with him that night because I figured who better to watch Derek Jeter’s last home game with than my dad. He was the one who introduced to baseball when I was a little girl, and he was the one who turned me into the rabid Yankee fan I am today. Dad wasn’t feeling well that day and had a fever, but he was able to see Jeter’s double in the first inning. He even pointed at the TV as Jeter made it to second base. He fell asleep sometime in the second inning and didn’t wake up again until about 30 minutes after Jeter’s walk off, but I held his hand almost the entire time. The only time I let go was when Jeter hit his walk off, and I jumped off the chair and quietly celebrated in dad’s room so the rest of the people in the burn unit at Weill-Cornell couldn’t hear me. If you can picture it, I was jumping up and down and pantomiming screams. Thank goodness no one saw me.

What I didn’t know that night was that it would be the last time I’d see my father “alive.” I put alive in quotes because the next morning, my dad coded. The doctors were able to bring him back, but the damage was too much and he suffered catastrophic brain damage. We’d find out a few days later that it was irreversible and that he wouldn’t be my dad ever again, and a week after he coded, we said goodbye.

For me, the Jeter walk off is hard to watch because at the time, I had no idea what was in store for my dad or for me and my family. That night I was euphoric. I left the hospital after saying goodbye to my dad and watched the replay of the last hit and even stayed up to watch the Encore on YES. And about 15 hours after the walk off, I was devastated because even though we didn’t know exactly what had happened to my dad that morning or the extent of the brain damage, I saw what he looked like and saw how his eyes were fixed on the ceiling and how when you picked up his hand, it was limp, and I knew things wouldn’t be the same for any of us again.

So now, that night symbolizes a lot more for me. It was the last night that I made eye contact with my dad and I will never forget the look on his face. And because I was the last one with him before he coded, I still go over in my head, every single moment from that night and wonder if I missed anything. I don’t exactly blame myself for what happened, but I feel like maybe I missed a sign from him. Maybe in that last look, he was trying to tell me something and I didn’t pick it up.

While everyone else is posting about Jeter’s last walk off and celebrating it, and they have every right to do so, I’m thinking about my dad and how I wish I could have one more moment with him. Just one more. Maybe we could talk about baseball and I could tell him about all of the stuff he’s missed this past year. Or I could just tell him how much I love him and miss him.

So please do me a favor today. After you watch Jeter’s walk off for 500th time, hug everyone close to you and tell them how much you love and appreciate them because you never when they’ll be taken away.

(Published originally on It’s About The Money 9/25/15)


September 1995

I can’t believe I did it. I told him I liked him and he rejected me. The only reason I said anything was because Dan made me believe that Tim liked me back. And I was not imagining things; he flirted back, he showed an interest in me, and I thought that for the first time in my life a guy wouldn’t reject me. How could I be so fucking stupid?


“Go away Dan.” I can’t be around anyone right now. I need to leave this stupid bar and get the hell away from them. Jesus it’s cold out.

“Stacey. Get back here.”

“No!” Why do I always do this to myself? I always set myself up for major disappointment. It’s really cold out. Isn’t it September? I blow a breath out of mouth to drive the point home.

“Come on Stace. Come back and have a drink.”

“No.” Is that a truck? Should I do it? Is he worth it? Is anyone worth having your body splattering across a road from the force of a dump truck?

“Stacey!” Dan runs over and pulls me back onto the sidewalk, “Are you insane? You could have been killed.”

“So what? Who would have cared? Tim wouldn’t have.”

“Stace come on. We’ll go home.”


Dan and I walk across campus. It’s dark except for the lights along the pathways that loop around the exterior of the quad. I wouldn’t do this walk alone. Thank goodness Dan is a big guy. He doesn’t say anything to me. At least he knows when to shut up. I just want to go back to my room, get undressed, crawl into bed and cry myself to sleep lying in fetal position. I should have worn a warmer jacket tonight.

Dan stands in my doorway, “Will you be OK?”

I fake a smile that Dan can see right through, “Of course!”



He repeats my name in a tone that only my mother would use just to annoy me.

“Don’t lie to me.”

“I just want to be alone.” Please, I’m a girl. We like to cry ourselves to sleep. It makes us feel so much better. He gets the hint and leaves me.

I walk up to the mirror above my roommate’s dresser, “Why doesn’t he like me? What’s so terrible about me?”

I look at my face and examine it in the harsh fluorescent dorm lighting. “Jesus I wouldn’t like me either.” I look at my left lazy eye, my slight acne scars, and my bushy eyebrows. How could my parents let me out of the house looking like this?

I hear noises outside in the common room. My suite mates have returned home. I am beginning to sober up so hearing their loud shrieking voices only cause my mood to sour even more. I turn my light off and jump into my bed. I pretend to sleep so they won’t bother me.

I stare at the ceiling when my eyes adjust to the dark and begin to play tic tac toe in my mind with the tiles. I win. I win again. At least I’m winning something.

There’s a knock at my door.

“Stace? Are you up?”

I don’t answer. It’s my suite mate Wendy. She’ll just want to rehash every ugly moment of the night and I don’t feel like it. I just want to crawl into a hole.

I pray that Tim will be too drunk to remember me throwing myself at him at the bar. But I know that’s not possible and that I probably just ruined everything. Stupid Stacey. Way to screw up your first year away at school…

I talked to my dad yesterday

I have been dreading the next couple of weeks for a while.

It’s because we are approaching the first anniversary of my dad’s passing which seems unfathomable to me. How can we be already be nearly a year removed from the worst week of my life?

I guess the only positive to come out of this is that we’re approaching the last of the firsts. We did our first Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, Easter and Father’s Day without dad, and yesterday was his first birthday since he passed. I had my mom take me to the cemetery to visit his grave. I don’t get to go there often because I don’t drive. In fact, I think this was only the fourth time I had been there and that’s including his funeral.

Mom said a few prayers, and I stepped away while she did that because I’m not going to half heartedly recite a prayer when I don’t believe in that stuff anymore.

Afterwards, I asked her if I could have a few moments to myself with my dad. Like I said, I don’t go nearly as often as my mom or my brother do, and I wanted to be able to talk to him and not hold back. Isn’t it so strange how you feel like you’re talking to the person who’s buried deep beneath the ground you’re standing on? I always talk to my dad when I go to his grave. I usually fill him in on what’s happening in baseball as if he’s going to respond to me with, “Is that right?” which was his customary response whenever I told him something he didn’t know or hadn’t yet heard.

But yesterday’s visit was different. Yesterday I broke down almost immediately after my mom walked away. I think it was because I was standing there alone and felt like I could let it out. I don’t usually break down in front of my mom or my brother. Is that odd? I don’t know. This is my first time dealing with the death of a parent so I’m not sure if I’m actually doing it right.

I usually cry alone in my room at night. Those nights don’t happen as often as they did immediately following my dad’s death. I think I cried at least once every single night from October to January. But from time to time, I’ll break down when I think about him and think about how much I miss having him around.

While I was standing there, in front of my dad’s stone, I told him how much I miss him and described all of his habits that were annoying while he was alive but that I now miss terribly. I also told him that I couldn’t believe he was actually gone because it still doesn’t seem real. It feels like a nightmare that we’re all having together and that we’ll wake up and he’ll be here.

I would give anything to have my dad walk into the house while I’m watching a movie or a show and have him say, “Give me the remote…” hesitate for a few moments, then add, “…please,” to the end of his statement. He never asked for the remote, he’d always demand I give it to him. I either stormed off because he’d put on some annoying sports talk show or, heaven forbid, Fox News, or I sat there as he changed the channel, then watched as he nodded off after 10 minutes. Then I’d get mad because when he did that, he usually fell asleep with the remote on his crotch and when that happened, I’d get my mom to fetch it for me if she was home.

I let myself cry for a few moments then composed myself before I walked back to the car. I also told dad that we’d be back in two weeks because that’s the anniversary of his death.


A year ago today, on Saturday, September 20, 2014, I walked into my dad’s hospital room and couldn’t believe what I saw. He was sitting up, and his vent was set to a mist. I screamed, “Daddy!!” and he mouthed, “What?” with a slightly annoyed expression on his face. I was so happy because it seemed like things were finally looking up. A year ago today, the doctors and nurses were saying that it was possible that dad would be taken off the vent a few days after that and that he’d be able to talk to us. He tried talking to us that day but it was hard to figure out what he was saying. He did mouth “I love you.” That wasn’t hard to figure out at all. A year ago today, we were talking about the possibility of dad being moved to a rehab facility.

That never happened.

But I am glad for that day a year ago because it was one of the only days, after he had gotten really sick, that he seemed like my dad again. It was one hopeful day. One happy day. One day filled with possibilities. And, sometimes, that’s all you can really ask for and hope for.

Writing just to write – VII

Now playing: “Face For Today” by Duran Duran

I haven’t done one of these posts in a while. In fact, I haven’t posted anything on this site in nearly two months.

So what’s been happening?

A whole lot of nothing!

Well, that’s not exactly true. We have kittens in the house now. Most of you know this especially if you follow me on social media because the majority of my posts are pictures and videos of the kittens. I cannot help myself. They’re all adorable.

I have two with me on the couch as I type this. They’re sleeping and cuddling. Their brother is with their mother on the floor. The fourth kitten went to her “furever” home yesterday.

They’re almost seven weeks old now so they eat solid food and use the litter box. It’s pretty amazing watching kittens go from helpless newborns to running around the house like little terrors in only seven weeks. But they’re adorable terrors.

Two of them, Eddie and Lucy, will walk up to me if I’m sitting on the couch, pull at my pants and wait for me to pick them up so they can fall asleep on my lap. It’s precious.

Duran Duran released a new album yesterday and I love it. Of course I do.

Simon Le Bon could sing pretty much anything and I’d be happy.

I’ve been listening to it non-stop the last few days. It was streamed on a website a couple of days before its release so I took advantage of it. Naturally.

When the album was released in iTunes shortly before midnight Thursday into Friday, I was able to listen to the three bonus tracks that weren’t livestreamed. The first one is called “Planet Roaring” and I love it. LOVE IT. I was hooked during the first listen.

I really cannot stop listening to it. I am having the same reaction to “Planet Roaring” as I did to “Too Bad You’re So Beautiful” on the last album and I ended up listening to that song nearly 3,000 times in iTunes in three years.

Earlier I decided to see which songs I could play on my keyboard and I think I did pretty well. I play by ear and don’t read music so after listening to a few of the songs ahead of time, I was able to play them.

I really had a chance to be a musical prodigy and I think my parents blew it. And yes, I’m blaming them. I first showed my musical prowess when I was three. Good job, Diane and Gus. Jeez.

Speaking of my dad, stuff was stolen from his grave. I hope the people who did it are stuck by lightning. Ghouls.

Who does that? What a bunch of assholes. When my mom told me what happened, I wanted to punch someone.

People really suck.

Now playing: “Planet Roaring” by Duran Duran

I’m a big fat liar

I don’t mean to be a big, fat liar, but I am one.

I tell people that I’m okay with certain things now, and that I’ve moved on from them. Sometimes, my lies are so strong and so convincing, that I believe I am, in fact, over certain events that have occurred in my past.

Then a picture shows up in my Facebook news feed and all of the lies come crashing down around me.

So no, I am not okay with it.

And I will, more than likely, never be okay with it.

Ain’t life grand?


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 4,588 other followers