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Friday, June 17, 2005
Weekly recap. A week ago I was driving up to Lacombe with my friend and former colleague Jackie to attend Margaret's funeral. The church was packed. The service was heartfelt and at once joyous and sad, a farewell to a great and generous lady. Margaret's son Cliff delivered a loving eulogy, and when he thanked Jean for all the help she'd given her parents, I welled up, as I'm doing again as I write this. Jean takes after the stoical Friesens, unlike her sisters who take after their mother's more emotive side of the family, so she was typically ramrod strong on the day.
Jackie and I attended the graveside ceremony, but were only able to come to the reception for a few minutes, as we both had to be back in Calgary. The day caught up with me in my acting class that night, midway through my improvised scene. I started crying and then, somewhat embarrassingly, bawled for a couple of minutes. Proof that my ramrod strength is actually more like boiled asparagus strength.
Last day of work before "the day." Gradually more and more people in the office know about my gastric bypass, but a lot are still surprised to hear about it. One colleague asked if I'd be interested in learning about the weight-loss acupuncture her friends are promoting. I said I was going in for a type of acupuncture (i.e., laparoscopic surgery) my own self, but thanks for asking.
The "Hitchhiker" birthday came and went, and was celebrated in the finest style with Vinnie and Schmuke. Schmuke prepared this amazing dinner for me, consisting of grilled steak with red wine reduction, fennel au gratin and potatoes cooked in the Italian style with parsley and garlic, followed by individual tarte tatin. Dinner conversation mainly consisted of "oohs" and "oh my GOD this is good" and "thank you thank you thank you." Vinnie and SuperBeryl gave me a matching set of multi-gem earrings and pendant, which I also love. A very good day indeed. Oh, and it's the "Hitchhiker" birthday because I turned 42. If you don't get the reference, read the books.
So, anyway... I may be able to blog from the hospital next week, as long as the Royal Alexandra has an internet café. If not, I'll try to blog from my brother's house thereafter. But if I do conk out on the operating table (not likely), I'll just say thanks to you all, it's been great.
Monday, June 06, 2005
When I visited Jean's mom, Margaret, in the hospital on May 29th, I was with several members of her family. As I was leaving the room, I remarked that I would be coming up to see her the following weekend. "You're always welcome," she said. "You're part of our family." Margaret died at 2 a.m. on June 4th, with her family at her side. Though I suspect she wouldn't have wanted to die from metastatic cancer to the brain, I believe that having her family around her during her last hours was something she did want. Although, being Margaret, she probably would have apologized for putting them to the inconvenience of having to come all the way to Lacombe to visit her in the hospital. Let me say here and now that driving to see Margaret and Harry over the last 14 years was never an inconvenience.
I had driven up to Edmonton on Saturday to visit with Dad and Lorraine in the company of their nine grandchildren, but drove to Jean's farm on Sunday morning. I recall from my own experience how friends and relatives want to flock around after a death in the family, almost desperately wanting to help out or console the bereaved. It's the kindest of impulses, but inadvertently tiring for the family at times. I had the plan of taking Jean and Tyke out for supper, but it turned out not to be possible. Instead, I visited with Harry and Jean's sister Wendy and the friends and relatives who showed up during the afternoon and evening.
There were even some dog hijinks during the day. Jean went for a ride "around the block," in other words, about six miles, and took the happy dog crew with her. On the return stretch, Piper was delighted to roll around in long-decayed porcupine remains on the side of the road. I was not so delighted to have to scrub her down with the garden hose later on.
Margaret's funeral is taking place this coming Friday in Lacombe, at 2:00 p.m. If I get there at noon, I may have an outside chance of getting a seat.