Honestly, it is just sheer coincidence that we are having ham for dinner tonight. I had to buy food for our last two nights here before leaving for Paris and a ham steak seemed a fast, easy meal. Who knew Mike would die.
In our family, after burying two sons, ham has become the symbol of death around here. So many wonderful people brought food by for us after David's and Paul's deaths...and most of them brought something having to do with ham. We got so many hams after David died that when Paul died, a friend brought me a big picture of a ham with a "NO" symbol over it to hang on our front door (we didn't, of course. People were so kind and caring. But we laughed about it a lot.). So we joke about having ham when someone dies and here we will be having ham for dinner tonight. The strange ironies of life.
Char pointed out this morning that her son Tim's birthday is October 20, Flo died on the 21st, Mike died on the 22nd, and our friend Michele, whom we still miss terribly, died on the 23rd in 2007. October is shaping up to be my least favorite month. (Except for October 24, which is Tom and Laurel's anniversary -- happy anniversary, Tom and Laurel.)
Things are winding down in Germany. It will take several weeks to get Mike's ashes released, so the family is coming home, probably this weekend, and the mortuary will ship Mike's ashes to the mortuary here in California.
Mike was a seismologist and it just feels like the world has taken a huge seismic shift this week. Easily an 8+ magnitude. The aftershocks are getting a little smaller now, but Jenny has re-posted several photos that I originally posted to Facebook and today she included a video that I had taken in Ukraine of Mike dancing on the ship with our tour guide. It brought the tears back.
People have been so wonderful with their comments on facebook, on Funny the World, and in emails. The thing that surprises me, though, is the number of people who think our being here and not in France is a noble action on our part. Heck, isn't this what you do for family? Would you not cancel if it were your brother who was dying? We may not be blood family, this Pinata group, but we are closer than many blood relations. We have been there for each other through good times and bad times, in sickness and in health, until death do us part (Mike is the 4th first generation death; there are also 3 2nd generation deaths). Our kids are like siblings. Char's kids feel like my kids.
Once we knew the seriousness of Mike's condition there was never even a discussion about whether we should or should not cancel our trip. There was no way we could not be here to do whatever we could to help out. (The only twinge of regret I have is losing those 2 weeks of someone else preparing and serving all of my meals!)
The emails I have received from others in the Pinata group underscores that it is the same for all the rest of us too. Lara, the daughter of Concetta, who died a few years ago, is helping with things that need to be done at Flo's house because she lives closer than Jenny does. Phoebe in Colorado has been finding out as much as she can about what happens legally when one dies in another country and what has to be done to settle things. Jeri (the other Jeri) was my contact to all of the Pinata group because all of my addresses were on my desktop, and not on my iPad, so I just assumed she would contact everyone. And she did. Those who couldn't do anything to help called just to touch bases because we all feel the force of this tragedy so strongly and we need to reach out and hug each other, whether in person or from afar.
I was supposed to have lunch with my mother, but just didn't feel like food, so called and canceled, but told her I'd come over in the afternoon for a visit. Then I decided to take a "short nap" first and when I woke up it was 5 p.m., so no visit. I'll make it up to her tomorrow.
Char is headed for Berlin tomorrow and then home the next morning.
|I told you I'd be having croissants at an outdoor table on
I just didn't figure it would be on our own patio -- but at least I didn't have to get out of my pjs.