Partings of Various Descriptions

 We are back from Thunder Bay and I have spent a couple of days just reading and trying to survive the heat. First of all, I want to thank Tudor (HI TUDOR) for her wise and helpful suggestions on my last post, both of which I am following immediately. I also want to thank Pat for telling me I will stop being sad - even if it feels wholly untrue, it is the kind of thing that is good to hear. And everyone else for sympathy and commiseration. I talked to Jody (HI JODY) as she drove home from Montreal after dropping off Davis at McGill and, well, there was snot in copious and bountiful amounts.

Eve's BFF since day one of JK was supposed to fly to Vancouver (many provinces away) on Thursday with her family to get settled in for a week or so before starting drama school. We dropped Eve off on the way home from the airport near midnight, with her suitcase, so she could join the good-bye party when we landed and Eve turned her phone back on, her friends had sent a picture of the plane flying over Marianna's house and the friends screaming up at the sky.) There was Netflix-watching and carousing and laughter and screaming and very little sleep, with souvlaki. And then the flight got cancelled. So then Marianna was there for Davis's goodbye party which, refer back to the carousing and screaming and very little sleep, with shawarma, which got sent home with Marianna because her mom had cleaned out the fridge and sent all the souvlaki home with other people and then they were delayed for three days with zero food in the house. Then there was one more good-bye party for Marianna, and then she actually got on a plane that actually left today, which is good because they are all punchy from lack of sleep and if there was any more good-bye partying they might lose the ability to be friends anymore (Eve: "this one wasn't even sad. She's overstayed her welcome, it's time to go.")

Leavin' on a jet plane. Maybe.

Barb's memorial was pretty much everything we wanted, which meant it was a wonderful family reunion that she would have very much enjoyed attending - so yeah, it was everything we wanted minus the person being dead. There were funny stories and lovely poems and many tears and a lot of laughs, and a truly prodigious amount of Chinese food (plus Bill said he needed a Brinks truck for his payment for the alcohol).

After the interment, the daughters and granddaughters were supposed to go through the closet in the spare room full of Barb's wraps and purses and clothing. This initially sounded kind of distasteful to me in a 'casting lots for the clothing' way, but it ended up being a really lovely thing - everything reminded us so much of her even while much of it was perfect for someone else, so it felt like she had picked things out for us unconsciously. Stuff that looked perfect on short, white-haired Barb inexplicably also looked like it was made for tall, svelte, red-haired Sam (HI SAM), which was weird and wonderful. I was very happy with my Coach wallet and scarlet Roots bag, but then I pulled a pair of Chapters fleecy reading socks from a bottom drawer and started laughing because this was the one item of clothing that would fit me. Then I said "oh shit, I wonder if I bought her these and she never used them (the tag was still on)" and Sam said slightly disconsolately "no, that was me", and I would have felt bad for her, but like I said, tall, gorgeous, red-haired, once cooked for Lady Gaga, she'll be okay. Eve found a dress that she wore to the memorial next day.

Now we're in a breakneck countdown to both kids leaving for school. Eve and I hit a couple of stores yesterday and got most of the stuff she needs for her room. She commented on how weird it is trying to gather up all the stuff that you usually have all over your whole house and then picturing finding space for all of it in a single room. Angus said we should watch a movie tonight and picked Stillwater - I went in blind, and was startled by the fact that it seemed to be loosely (VERY loosely, like attached in the least secure manner ever) based on the Amanda Knox story. I actually thought it was a really good movie, references to the real world aside, and we also enjoyed looking up the similarities to the actual case afterwards and coming across statements such as "the movie keeps some details but adds a hot French lady and Matt Damon in MAGA drag". 

The last couple of weeks have been a strange whirlwind. Gathering with more people than I have in a year and a half. Mourning and rejoicing. Hugging Marianna good-bye once and then twice and then for the third and final time. Crying in the car. Crying in the grocery store. Hearing Matt Damon say "ma'am" a whole bunch of times. Seeing Eve having dinner with Davis in the McGill cafeteria on Facetime. Crying at the bakery (goddammit, those bakery people are SO  nice, and that is NOT WHAT I NEED RIGHT NOW). The circle of life is literally smacking me in the face right now, and because it's a circle that means it smacks me OVER and OVER and OVER again. An oblong or rectangle of life would probably feel less violent. 

We got upgraded on the last leg of our flight, because of Matt's status (he flies a bajillion miles for work in a normal year, he figures they got a ping that he was flying again and said "whoo-hoo, this guy is worth fifty grand a year!") and probably because they wanted to fit more standby people in. The flight was only 45 minutes, but was delayed significantly waiting for people from other flights, and waiting in our twenty-five-percent bigger seats with fancy snacks did not suck. Angus and Eve sat together a few rows ahead of us, and I will leave you with Angus's contribution to the group text, because it is funny and no matter how sad I am I have a pathological need to end on a laugh. 


StephLove said…
The memorial service sounds like it was just right.

I am 2 days and 3 nights out from leaving Noah at school. It's hard to get motivated to do anything, but especially work, since at least in the summer reading a book or watching a tv show with Noah was always my reward for finishing work for the day.
"it was a wonderful family reunion that she would have very much enjoyed attending - so yeah, it was everything we wanted minus the person being dead." - life goals for my own memorial service. Also, I laughed immoderately at the sock thing. "no, that was me"

When my grandma passed we had to go through her tiny apartment that was chock full of stuff, and my cousin said "this is a good reason to NOT give your grandma knickknacks for every birthday and Christmas and Mother's Day" and hoo boy, there were so many tiny china figurines. Also, brooches. Maybe some small child will be happy going through the SK thrift store.

Ah, what a couple of weeks for you. I think you need a weekend of rest and rejuvenation. xoxoxo
Ernie said…
Wow, you've had a heck of an emotional roller coaster. I agree that the memorial does sound perfect, "minus the dead person" indeed. Glad that it came together in such a positive as possible way.

Drama school? Sounds exciting and I hope to hear of you all traveling to her first big show/movie/red carpet event . . . with less flight issues than she had. I laughed at her family giving away the food and then being stuck home with nothing to eat. Yikes.

Angus' comment was brilliant. I can imagine the people in the rows in between you wishing they'd be in on the family laughs you were all sharing. Best of luck settling in to the new normal.
Tudor said…
Of course I had to go back to the previous comments to see what I said that was wise and helpful ... having re-read it, I do think it mostly holds up.

For some inexplicable reason, as things have happened all through the last year, whenever someone has told me, nodding their head, with sympathetic eyes, "That's a lot," it's helped immensely. Even though, it's really easy to say, and as a writer, I'm very conflicted about "a lot" - it makes me feel like, "Oh, maybe I'm not ridiculous to feel this way," and "Maybe this actually is something big and I'm dealing with it OK."

So, in case it helps you (picture nodding and eye sympathy) "That's a lot."

We have a BIG roadtrip to Windsor, Hamilton, and Waterloo for the second child to check out universities. We've stayed in Hamilton before, but are trying a different hotel this time. There are some nearby take-out establishments which have menus I can only describe as kick-ass so if we discover anything truly amazing, I'll pass recommendations on to you!

"My friend, optimism is better than despair" - that's in honour of election season. We had a neighbour who would post Jack Layton's entire, "My friends ..." speech on their front lawn for every election (yes, municipal, too) and that person has moved. I find myself missing the sayings during this election, so this is me trying to share the hope instead of fear, etc.

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