So, our son tested cancer-free, we lost a dog very suddenly, and gained a puppy, also not planned. The puppy, Teddy, is fine — he’s smart, likes his walks, needs challenges to keep from being bored, much like our kids when they were 2-5 years of age. Sometimes I relax or am otherwise engaged and he reminds me that he is a priority. A leap from 5 feet away into my lap gets my attention.
In September my MIL had some health challenges that could be surgically resolved. She said no that, and within a couple of weeks went from vibrancy to hospice. My SIL, her firstborn, cut short her vacation and was with her when she passed. I know it was hard for her, and am grateful that my MIL didn’t die alone. Nancy Gallagher taught me how to be a mother-in-law, among other things, and I hope to pass on those skills to my daughter and future daughter-in-law and anyone else who pays attention.
Chris went to help my SIL help with the funeral arrangements, leaving the day after MIL passed. His timing was perfect. He stayed 2 days, returned for my birthday and an important bike ride, and we flew to Texas for her mass and inurnment days later. The next day, Monday, we picked up our daughter and her husband, then Tuesday drove another 180 miles for the mass, inurnment, and a weird dinner at a Thai restaurant in Victoria. The dinner wasn’t the worst. Dealing with our extremely conservative nieces and nephews, and their adult children was awful. They can’t debate issues without devolving into ad hominem attacks. The conversations were stilted and awkward. I couldn’t wait to get back to my SIL’s place, where the hot tub, wine, and/or cigars on the wrap-around porch offered some balance to that awful, awkward day.
Daughter, Son-in-law, husband and I woke up about 3 a.m. on Wednesday, finished packing, had coffee, hugs and tears goodbye, and drove to Austin to the airport. So much of the air we breathed was tainted by the odorant added to gas as it is pumped out of the ground, and it was awful. Even with the air set on re-circulation it was present. Three of the four of us have spent significant time in Texas, and we could not be more happy to live in Not Texas. At least, not that part of Texas.
Daughter and SIL left shortly before us, at a gate across from us. We had hugs and I cannot love our SIL more that he took time off from a new job to support our daughter as she supported us in honoring Chris’s mother, my MIL, and her last grandmother. My heart overflowed that they made the last-minute plans to support us, and the rest of the family (whom SIL met for the first time; he handled the Rosary like a boss; very impressed). I learned that although he’s Jewish by birth, he attended a Catholic high school, and knows liturgy inside and out.
We arrived in CA Wednesday afternoon and after we picked up the dogs (who were so happy to see us) I got laundry done, plants watered, etc., etc. and we settled in. Saturday we woke early, loaded the tandem bike and drove to Davis, where we found a perfect parking spot, and rode the Foxy’s Fall Metric Century plus enough miles to make my age in miles, as it was my birthday. We met up with several friends with whom we’ve ridden before and really enjoyed the day.
I flew out Monday to New Jersey to stay with my youngest sister and spend too little time with my middle sister and bother. My youngest sister, T, and I took the train and metro to my daughter’s place, met her cat, Jenny Lynsky, and enjoyed a delicious Mexican dinner in Brooklyn. We found respite in the Brooklyn Botannical, Garden. It smelled like fall, and shielded us from car noise for a spell. Spending time with my family helped me process my grief, of which there has been too much this year.
I was happy to be there, spend time with my siblings, and act as a sounding board for T as she transitioned from TSA to DEA 12 week training. I can’t wait for more sibling time. I’m immensely grateful to Chris, who anticipated my needs and scored a 1st class plane ticket from Philadelphia to Sacramento. I’m humbled by my many blessings.