Saturday, June 7, 2014

Of Family & Festivals

Dear John,
I'm sorry I missed talking to you last night. I got to Springfield, ate dinner, talked to your family, and was too tired to be coherent. You never minded that, but I do have standards. So I went to bed.
I'm staying with Jim and Irene, in that bedroom and bath that they added in the basement. It's good to be here. It took longer to get here than I expected - there was construction on I-75, as usual, and downtown Troy was closed for the Strawberry Festival. The detour was extensive.

Coming under the circumstances of your mother's stroke has made it more emotional for me. I was coming in on 41 yesterday, driving past the places you grew up, and I heard "Mother and Child Reunion" on the radio. Two years of widowhood have made me quite good at driving while crying, and that was a good thing. It looks like your mother will get to see you before I do. But remember, you won't see her for a while after she gets there - I'm sure she will want to spend some time with your father first.
Irene took me on a tour this morning on the way to visit her. I got to see the new hospital, which turns out to look a lot like the new St. Joe in Mishawaka, only smaller. And I got to see the hole where Community Hospital used to be - it's been torn down already. And we went by our old house. It is being taken care of, and it seems that a young family lives there. The Pizza Hut you managed on Derr Road has a new roof. The Taco Bell next door is something else now. Springfield has changed very little. Do you realize that we moved away thirty years ago? It's amazing how fast time flies.
Your mother isn't doing well but isn't suffering. She wasn't very responsive this morning, isn't eating or drinking, and isn't oxygenating well. She has a good list of orders to not do things - appropriate when you're ninety. But she doesn't seem to be uncomfortable, and that is what matters. This is so hard on Jim and Irene, but it doesn't seem to be hard on her now.

We'll go back out to visit her after dinner, and again tomorrow before I leave. I hate to live so far away now. I'm glad for the time I had with her - for the trip we all took to Florida last November for her birthday, that I could come over and stay with her after her hip replacement, and for the letter I wrote her for Mother's Day. I had the feeling that it was the right time to say all the things I wanted to say to her, so I did. I put a long letter in her card. Irene said it meant a lot to her. I'm glad for all the times I've called her since you died. I love her so much - too much to want her to stay and suffer. She's been waiting to join your father for forty years. I'm glad her wait is nearly over.

May my wait be short!

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