I got back a few days ago from a funeral. My brother, Gary, called several weeks ago to let us know that his wife (I don't know if they were actually married technically, but they've been together for 26 years so at the very least they were common-law husband and wife) had passed away. She was diagnosed in January with lung cancer that had already metastasized to her liver and bones, so they knew she was not long for this world.
I hadn't seen Vicki for many years, but my memories of her were that of a very kind, courteous woman who brought out the best in my brother and allowed him to let go of the more difficult parts of himself. He would be the first to admit that because of her he became the best he could be. He has said that he hadn't realized, until she was gone, how much they were connected soul to soul. When they were together they were always very kind and considerate to each other, and that always impressed me. You never saw one of them go into the kitchen to get something only for themselves, they always asked if the other wanted something as well. And of course that extended to anyone else who happened to be nearby as well. Anyway, it always struck me that they were thoughtful of one another's needs...
After a little considering, I decided to go to her memorial service, and of course Dad went with me. He is always so supportive and I appreciate that so much about him. I didn't know if my brother would really want me there, since we don't always see eye to eye on things. In fact, we often tend to take offense at the things we say to each other so I worried that maybe it wouldn't be a good thing to go, but I wanted to show my support and to be honest I wanted to bury the hatchet, if there was one to be buried.
I shouldn't have worried about it. Gary was grateful to see us. Dad and I stayed with Mona (thanks Mona!) in her new house in Vacaville. (more on that later, it's the first time I've been there and I want to talk about that.) We drove to Sacramento about an hour before the services were to start and when we arrived most of the people were waiting outside since the weather was nice. We got out of the car (a rented new beetle) and saw Gary right away. He was standing with my step sister, Barb (who I also hadn't seen in a very long time) and daughter Grace. As soon as I saw him we hugged and of course I cried and told him I loved him and that I was very sorry for his loss. He and Vicki were very much in love and I hated to see him hurting. I asked him if the two of us could just start over and forgive and forget any past offenses and he said yes we could.
After chatting for a few moments with Gary and also Barb, and being introduced to her daughter Grace, we headed into the church for the service. The service itself was short, and Barb's son Mack (we called him Mackie when he was a toddler) read scripture for part of the service. He looks a lot like his father, Mack, who we also got to talk to for a little while. After the service there were some refreshments served for those who attended.
Gary didn't want to keep the flowers from the service so Barb and her family and Dad, Mona, and I drove to the cemetery and left some of the flowers on my dad's grave. It's actually the first time I've been to his grave, he died when I was pregnant with Carolyn. I'll see if I can figure out how to post a couple of the pictures I took with my phone.
Anyway, later that day we had dinner with Mona, Grandma Marilyn (my dad's widow), her daughter Sherri, and Sherri's husband Ashley. It was nice to see them and get re-connected. Dad left to fly home early the next morning but I decided to stay a few extra days to visit with Mona. Her home is a wonderful place. There are three bedrooms, the master bedroom, a bedroom Mona has set up as a home office, and a guest room. There is a "great room" downstairs that consists of a really nice kitchen with upgraded appliances, a dining area, and the living area. There's a 2-car garage, and the best part is a backyard that's small but perfectly designed to be a retreat from the real world. My favorite part of the yard is a solar fountain that's a mermaid. Plus there are all kinds of tiny little succulents and perfect little plants and a few small statues... Everywhere you look you discover something else. It gave me a lot of ideas for a tiny yard in Florida. :)
Well, anyway, that's what I was up to for the last week. Now let's see if I can get the pictures posted. Oh,, look... I did it.