Yesterday, my sister and I took some time away from going through Mom's stuff to do some things that she liked very much. First we drove 45 minutes west to the Cherokee Reservation, to take our chances at Harrah's Casino. I'd never been, but Mom and Mandy would go spend an afternoon when Mandy came up to visit. Even as frugal as she was, she enjoyed taking a chance on games of luck and skill, no doubt learned by her parents, who enjoyed an afternoon with the horses at Belmont Park in New York. I had a little bit of luck: I walked in with $20 and walked out with $38.50 and Mandy broke even. Luckily, we were under time constraints or I wouldn't have walked out with anything, but even if I'd lost it, it would have been $20 well spent and was a nice time.
We returned to Asheville in time for an evening of minor league baseball, which Mom simply adored. Mom was a life-long sports fan, particularly of baseball, and enjoyed coming to these games. We met up with some family who also live in Asheville, and not five minutes after the game started, Mandy's name was called. Her entry had been picked for sitting in the best seats in the house: two leather recliners on the first base line and a free dinner. We all took turns rotating up there with her, and we got a couple of pictures. Mom would have been tickled pink.
On behalf of my father and sister, thank you so much for your kind comments and well wishes. We're moving forward as well as we can. I can't (and won't) speak for them, but I'm still on the roller coaster. Guilt, relief, grief, anger, and peace all rotate around like a Ferris Wheel (she really liked amusement parks too). I know it's natural, and will settle with time, but it doesn't make it any easier.
Finally, I have received word this week from several relatives that they are reading along but are unsure as to how to leave comments via this webpage. At the bottom of each post, there is a link called "Write a Dispatch" or if a comment has already been left, "## Dispatches." Clicking on this link with bring up a new window. At the bottom of this window you can enter your information and your comment. The only thing I ask is that you please remember that this is a public forum and I have chosen to keep some aspects of my life, such as my real name, anonymous, and I only ask that you respect that. Other than that, anything goes.
Right, back to work and light posting. Thanks for hanging on with me during this time. I'm sure witty and amusing observations of life in France will resume at some point. In the mean time, please call up your Mom/Grandma/Auntie/Sister and tell them you love them very much.