My wife's mother, Vera, passed away late on Monday night.
The truth is, on Monday night the life seeped out of the body that once held Vera. Alzheimer's had all but taken her away long ago. She was past 80, and her health has been in steady decline for several years.
It wasn't unexpected, but it was a shock - as a generation, we understand late night phone calls are coming, but there's no way to be ready for them.
She'd taken a bad turn on Friday, and the late night call came. My wife flew to Winnipeg Saturday, and was able to say goodbye over the weekend. Monday evening, it seemed clear that the time was at hand, and she was able say everything that needs saying. And really - what can you say that matters, other than "I love you?"
The family had held a vigil all through Monday, and by late at night everyone - including my father-in-law - was exhausted. Finally, my wife agreed to take him home. As so often happens, Vera waited until her husband of 60-some-odd years left before slipping quietly away , peacefully, her two other daughters - my wife's sisters - at her bedside.
Last night, when the call came to our house, I set about making the arrangements for the girls and I to join my wife, to say our own goodbyes to their Grandma. Allison will be taking her violin, and she and Erin will play at the funeral service, which I know will make Vera happy.
It's a long way to go, and we've booked some extra time to take advantage of the opportunity to see the rest of the family, including my mom and dad, who weren't strong enough to make it out to Erin's wedding. We'll catch up with friends we've known our whole lives. So it will be a bittersweet trip.
Fortunately, Allie's boyfriend Trevor is able to move in and look after Roxy and the cats and the house. The puppies are also taken care of. Loose ends seem to be tied up, but still today we're all scrambling to pull things together for the trip.
So, here we go. I won't have much chance to be around here till we get back next week. Take care of one another, okay?