On the whole, I've been pretty amazed at how at peace our whole family has been over dad's death.
I think it really helped that he was JUST here last week, and we had some amazing (and some might say creepily foreshadowing) conversations about getting old and dying.
But then, in the oddest moments, I'll be overcome with a wave of sadness at a memory that has seemingly NO relevance to dad or his memory.
Like, I was pouring Rice Crispies for Kelly for breakfast yesterday, and all of a sudden I realized that a week earlier, mom had been pouring the same cereal into the same bowl for dad. Cue waterworks.
Or, I was sitting down putting on my shoes, and I realized that dad had sat Right There, and on several occasions had said "You like my jacket? My cheap daughter-in-law bought it for me AT A THRIFT STORE! Can you imagine? Is that what I'm worth? Not even full price?" And he'd have this delightful twinkle in his eyes, because there were very few things he valued more than thrift. (and he was rarely without that very same jacket, too, I might add. I hit a home run finding that thing).
Or I was cleaning up yesterday, and I found an envelope under the coffee table. It was from mom and dad to Kelly. That was Just Last Week. So weird to think about how life can change in an instant. It hits me in the heart for a second, and then I have to smile, as I think about dad, sitting there on the sofa with his feet up, reading one of Kelly's novels, and probably kicking the envelope under the table so it wasn't in the way.
My Boggle Master game is still sitting on the kitchen counter. When they were here, mom, dad, and Ken (and sometimes Skip) would say they'd play Boggle with me if they were allowed to pool their scores to try to defeat me. We played so many games last week. And the high point, probably, was this one flukish round where everyone canceled out most of my words, and dad managed to BEAT ME all by himself. He asked if we'd frame that sheet, so everyone would always remember how he'd "conquered the master". Ken had found a copy of Boggle Master (it's the 5x5 board) on eBay, and had bought it for mom and dad, and they took it back to Canada with them. I hope they got to play it at least once before he died, because a game of Boggle was part of their post-lunch routine, and they got home on Saturday morning. Saturday would have been a Boggle Lunch day if they'd managed to unpack.
Ken flew home yesterday. Even though we live more than a thousand miles away, we are the closest family. His brothers are scattered around the globe, and have been scrambling to find flights and connections that will get them home. Two brothers arrive tonight, and two more will fly in on Thursday. Ken tells me that mom is doing much better today than she was yesterday. She has such a serene grace about her, it's almost eerie. I know this is a tried and true coping mechanism, but I do hope that she gets to have time alone to just cry in peace. She is not one to show her emotions (if they involve her alone) in public. Ken assures me that he is running interference, and doing all he can to take mundane burdens off her shoulders, so she is given some time and space.
I will be driving to Canada tomorrow, leaving the house at 4am (or earlier, if I can't sleep). I have some Starbucks Doubleshots in the fridge (coffee is vile, but these things work like a charm, and they're easier to chug if they're ice-cold). The fog this morning was abyssmal. And that was at 8am driving kids to school. At 4am, it's gonna be like driving in soup. And *that* is what I am NOT looking forward to the most.
I've spent much of yesterday and today running errands and shopping,
One cousin is flying in from Toronto. She's requested Ghirardelli chocolate for herself, and Airborne for her mom who can't come.
One brother is flying in from Ireland. I've got a whole suitcase full of stuff for his kids. Games, primarily, and books. Things that we were ALMOST ready to mail to him (for some astronomical shipping cost). But also things like Altoids, and turkey jerky, and M&M's. Comfort food, as I like to call it.
Another brother is flying in from Montreal. I've got Trader Joe's noodle-in-a-box meals for his daughter, who can't fly out. I need to find something for his son, who is Skip's age. Maybe a dark chocolate bar.
The brother flying in from Dubai has requested nothing. That's nice. I was drawing a blank for him, anyways.
The last brother is flying in with his wife and kids from Halifax. He wants nothing, too, but I can't resist. His kids are just so CUTE, I've gotta bring them some little things. And a TinTin movie. They'll like that.
Dad's favorite treat was to have a single Dove Dark Chocolate after supper. When they were here last week, I presented them with two bags of Dove Dark Chocolate Promises. I'd found them at Target 2/$4, which is an amazing deal, they're usually more than $4 a bag. Mom laughed, and brought out her little notebook. "That was on my list to get for your dad, but now I can just cross it off. One less thing to worry about on our trip home." At Target today, I bought 6 more bags of them. I'm going to put them out in a bowl at the memorial service. Or maybe just keep them at the house for visitors.
I was making copies of pictures this morning. Mom wants some for the memorial service.
This is the photo that they'll put on the screen at church. It was on the beach at la Grande Motte in France in March. That was a vibrant family time, and I am so grateful for all those wonderful enduring memories.
Well, I should get busy.
I've packed for the kids.
Haven't even thought about what to pack for me.
That's the next order of business.