I’m not really sure how to organize this post. As you can tell from my last post, Monday was my first day home after the conference in Denver. Tom and I were enjoying a day to ourselves, resting for what was going to be a busy month. Tom was to leave to visit his family in PA and NJ on Thursday, 8/7, then I was to have my appointment on 8/14 and then be off on my research trip to DC and NY on 8/20. But, oh, how life gets in the way.
Tuesday morning we were awoken by Tom’s phone ringing. I’ll spare you the gory details of the phone call, but it was Tom’s mom calling to tell us that her husband, John, had died. John, who has been Tom’s stepdad for over 40 years, passed away peacefully in his sleep.
As soon as we found out what happened, I got on the phone with Delta to change Tom’s flight–I called at 7:30 am and got him on a 1pm flight. We decided that I should go too because we had no idea what kind of shape his mom was going to be in and, as he is an only child, I knew that he’d at least need some moral support. I searched for a flight for myself for the next day, we got Tom’s stuff together and headed for the airport. My flight was scheduled for 8am and as I still had to do laundry from my trip to Denver, pack, get the dogs and everything else ready, I was a little stressed. When I got home, I packed up everything, dogs included, and headed over to Mom and Mike’s so that I could use their washer and dryer and get everything together while they offered both moral and doggie support. Oatie stayed with them for the week and Roscoe stayed with Dad, Lizz and Angie. A million thank yous for taking care of the doggies.
Wednesday I flew to Philadelphia via St. Louis, hopped in a rental car and drove two hours to Thomasville, PA. My lovely Toyota Corolla:
I arrived at Tom’s mom’s house by 9pm. Did I mention that it was 8/6, our third anniversary? At least we got to be together for a couple of hours.
I guess the rest of this post will be a series of thoughts, observations, or whatever…
- I love the supermarket, Giant. Not only is it the beautiful, humongous grocery store from which I ordered all the food for after the funeral, but it had a cafe with free wifi. I spent a number of hours at this cafe.
- I’ve never been in a funeral procession before. They put a magnetic flag on the hood of the car and you get to go through red lights.
- Rural PA is beautiful–these pictures of the view from the back yard don’t do it justice. It’s hard to tell from the quality of these pictures (from my phone, by the way), but those are rows of soybeans and corn growing in the distance. Actually, they literally start at the end of the back yard, just yards from the back door of the house.
- For many reasons, though, I felt like I had been sucked back to the 1950s.
- Every back yard has a clothesline. On Sunday I took advantage of hanging some clothes out to dry and was told that no one hangs out their laundry on a Sunday. I replied that she could blame it on her Jewish daughter-in-law.
- I was asked if I was a Christian Jew. Did you know that most Jews are Christian??
- The decor of the house has not been altered or updated or changed in any way since they finished decorating in the late 70s. I cannot emphasize enough that I am not exaggerating at all. Not. at. all. I think she could charge admission to this living museum of basement decor from the 70s. Again, these pictures don’t do justice to the room, but you’ll have to trust that the wood paneling on the wall is authentic.
- Tom’s ex-wife came to the funeral and back to the house afterwards, and she was really really nice to me.
- Peggy (Tom’s mom) is a lot better off, both financially and in the ability to take care of herself, then she would like to admit. This is a tremendous relief to both of us.
- You know the old glass half empty or half full metaphor? Well, the best metaphor to describe Tom’s mom is….what’s the point in my having a glass if you’re not there to fill it for me.
The day before I left, I drove to NJ to spend the night at Bob and Meg’s so that I’d have a chance to see Maddie. What a sweet, adorable child she is. I’m so glad I spent time with them–even though I wished Tom was with us, it was good being out from his shadow there and I really got a chance to know them all better. And, frankly, it was just a relief to be with normal people who live in the same time period that I do.
And now I’m home with the doggies and Tom will be back home on Sunday. I’m still off to DC and NY on the 20th, but we had to cancel our appointment at HRC and the earliest we could get is 9/15. That was really disappointing, but that’s the way the cookie crumbles.