Thursday, October 26, 2006


...and it feels so good. :)

Up early to go back to Asheville but I'm so happy I can show Steph how gorgeous the mountains are during the Fall peak season!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

a letter

Dear Daddy,

I remember back in August, back when we had some hope of the medicine prolonging your life as long as possible, you said, "I may make it to 70," and you were so full of hope and so emotional that you were choking back tears. Today is your 66th birthday and, just like Mom, you died within two weeks of your birthday. You know how much I love birthdays - not just mine, but anybody's - and how people should be surrounded by friends and family and live like a queen or king for the day. I have so many great memories of your birthdays - waiting in anticipation for you to open your gifts, your mugging for Mom's ever present camera, the big meal or cake we would all share together.

Today would be extremely difficult to get through if it weren't for the fact that, even now, Steph is in a plane over the Atlantic Ocean on his way to me. It wasn't planned that he would arrive on your birthday; in fact, I only realized it a couple of days ago. Tonight we'll raise glasses in your honor and lament the fact that you're not here to see it.

I love you always,

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

paris on the run

I'm running a little late to meet my sister and cousin for running up to Asheville today, but as I was drinking my morning coffee and blog reading I saw my favorite Frog with a Blog's amazing video post about his route to work and I knew I had to share it.

If you've ever wondered what the morning commute on foot in Paris looks like, check this out and tell him Vivi sent you!

Monday, October 23, 2006

a nice break

On Friday afternoon I popped into my old office. I had just missed their annual barbecue and everyone was busy cleaning up the place, but I knew there would be little "real" work done so I got to spend an hour or so hanging out with my old cohorts and catching up.

For dinner, my homegirl Dana and her hubby and I hit our favorite Mexican place for cheese dip and Grown-Up Slushies. Brian is (among other things) a professional bass violinist and was in the middle of rehearsals for a concert Saturday night. When I asked what they were performing, Dana and Brian looked at each other, and Brian gulped before he said, "Mozart's Requiem." Little did they know that I love the Requiem and I often listened to it as study background music and don't associate it with death and destruction at all. Once we got that out of the way, Dana and I made a plan for the next day.

So Saturday we drove around downtown, which has been beautifully restored since I left, and then we saw Marie Antoinette, which we both enjoyed very much, and then I finally found a papermaking kit, so I've got something to really look forward to when I get home, and then we got all gussied up and went to the theater to hear the Requiem and Mozart's Mass in C Major, both of which were extraordinary.

Sunday morning I got up early and went to my old church, where I got to take my old place in the choir and sing with all my friends. Afterwards I joined them in the fellowship hall for lunch and then I came back to Dana's house to load up the truck and head home.

This weekend was exactly what I needed to clear my head and give me some time think about something other than going through Dad's things and working with my sister on the estate and what on earth we're going to do about this house. Today I'm going through the boxes I had stored in Dana's attic - it's surprising to find things that I thought were so important to keep two years ago that I now find myself throwing out or giving away because they're either impractical to keep or just useless junk - and then I'll be diving back into the inventory of the house. Only two more days until Steph is here so I've got a lot of work to do that will definitely keep me busy in the meantime. Many many thanks to Dana and Brian for their gracious hospitality and the opportunity to take a break from all of this!

Friday, October 20, 2006


Monday, we buried Mom and Dad together, according to their wishes, in the National Cemetery. Then we celebrated Dad's life in a memorial service, including a beautiful speech written by my uncle. Afterwards, we welcomed friends and family into my father's house and enjoyed some delicious local barbecue (Dad would have loved that) and sat around telling stories about him for the rest of the day. The scary thing is that even among my closest friends and family, I have never felt so alone in my life. I can't begin to express my grief as I said goodbye to my parents. Sudden flashbacks of random memories send me reeling and I don't know how to regain my footing.

By yesterday, the last of the out-of-town family had left, my sister, who is acting as the executor of Dad's estate, was exhausted from running from one county office to another and went home to finally sleep in her own bed, and I had the whole house to myself. I confess that I don't have a lot of emotional attachment to the house beyond the grief of knowing all the plans Dad had for it and how much he looked forward to pottering around his own land again, but last night was the first time I found myself really alone for over two weeks. I did my best to not think about anything at all, and pretty much succeeded, thanks to a marathon of Project Runway and a couple of nighttime sleeping tablets.

Today I started the heart wrenching project of inventorying Dad's possessions. I must not have been thinking very clearly when I decided to start in his bedroom, but every room has things inside that have things that are going to jump out and bite me. Maybe I got the worst over with first. There is just so much work to do that I don't even know when I'll be able to go home.

I have two really lovely things to look forward to right now. Tomorrow I'm going away for the weekend to my old stomping grounds. Even better, Steph will be here next Wednesday, to spend his Fall school break with me. Maybe when he gets here, I'll finally allow myself to fall apart for a day or two.

Thanks again to all of you for your lovely condolences and wishes in my comments box. I may not be posting very much these days but your comments do brighten my day when I sit down to relax in front of the computer.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

it's over

Last night I thought, wouldn't it be just like Dad to die on Friday the thirteenth? And don't you know, that's exactly what he did.

Daddy went to be with Mom this afternoon, and while we are devastated, we are also so thankful and relieved that his suffering is finally over.

Funeral arrangements will be made in the morning and friends are welcome to contact me or my husband (I'll email him the info when I get back) for information. If you'd like to make a donation to the American Cancer Society in his name, please drop me an email and I'll be happy to give it to you.

Thank you all for your kind comments and wishes.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

not much to say

I arrived much too late last night to see Dad, especially after a quick grocery and fast food pit stop (well, my plane landed after visiting hours anyway). This morning my grandmother and aunt and I visited several nursing homes, as he needs will be much too great for us to bring him back home, but after talking to the doctor this afternoon, it seems they may not even release him from the hospital. As for Dad... he's in and out of lucidity, but he seems to be comfortable and he's not in any pain. That's all I can ask for.

Please forgive me for not updating very often over the next days and weeks. Maybe someday I will be able to be more eloquent and more detailed about these events, but right now I can't. I just can't.

Monday, October 02, 2006

worst possible news

I have been planning my post about the wedding we went to on Saturday since Sunday morning, but an apparent flare-up of the gastro kept me pretty far away from the computer yesterday. Then, the worst possible news, but I can't really say I wasn't surprised to hear - Dad has been admitted to the hospital and best current guesses are a matter of weeks. I haven't been back to sleep since - though to be honest, that's more due to Steph's snoring loud enough to keep me awake in the next room. Anyway, I'll be calling the airline to try to change my flight to leave as soon as possible. Meanwhile, I'm sure Doc will have a write-up about the wedding tonight or tomorrow. I'll post more news as I get it.

Update: Ticket's done, I'll be home tomorrow.

Update #2: I've posted some wedding pics to my flickr feed.

Also, Clare, a fellow crafty person in France (and all-around lovely person, I might add) is on a mission to collect as many quilting blocks as she can, in order to make as many quilts as possible to donate to children fighting leukemia. She has already received some blocks and has more coming from all over the world! If you're a quilter or a sewer, please check out her site here.

Thank you all for your supportive and encouraging comments. It's very comforting to know that I have such an enormous support network behind me. :)

Right, back to packing.