(120:  Morning dew on jewelweed.  Photo © 2009  by Robin)

M and I are home.  It’s good to be here.  We’ve been living out of suitcases and staying in hotel rooms for a while.  I missed the peacefulness of Breezy Acres, our little spot here in the Bogs.

I went for a walk this morning.  The dew was heavy.  My shoes (and feet) were soaked by the time I made it around the pond and back up to the house.  This is usually my favorite time of year, when the air has a crispness to it and the autumn colors are just beginning to show.  Leaves are starting to fall from some of the trees, changing colors on others.  It’s sunny and windy, a good day for hanging out laundry if I can work up the energy to do it.  Right now I am experiencing a deep down exhaustion, making it difficult to move or think or plan.  I’m tempted to crawl back into bed and stay there for a few days.

I was thinking about the viewing as I was out and about.  I knew there would be a lot of people there because my parents have made a lot of friends throughout the years, and we have a good size family.  Plus Mom touched a lot of lives during her years as an EMT and captain of the squad.  “A lot” is a relative term.  The turnout for Mom’s viewing was more than a lot.  It was incredible.   M told me later that traffic was blocked and people were lined up outside the door.  The funeral home director told us the next day that over 700 people came through the line.

The funeral procession, from the church to the cemetery, was also pretty impressive, with police escorts and a long line of cars following the hearse.  The funeral itself was beautiful in many ways, but also emotionally brutal.  As a friend said, the purpose of funerals (she guesses) is to turn you inside out.  I think that is a good way to describe it.  I certainly felt as if I’d been turned inside out.

(At the squad building.)

Mom was not about numbers, of course.  She touched people in a quiet, understated way, never needing to be the center of attention or the source of drama.  Her sense of humor was dry and clever, never mean spirited.  And quick!  I’ve often wished I had her quick wit.  The people who spoke about Mom at the viewing and at the funeral did a wonderful job of describing her.  My sister gave the eulogy at the funeral and it was lovely, brilliant, and Mom, I’m sure, would have loved it.  I am grateful for all of the reminders from the people who spoke that Mom is still with us, in our memories and our hearts.  I know that will be of some consolation later even though I find it hard to accept it as such right now.

(Mom at the Trevi Fountain in Rome.  2005)

I picked up a few pictures from my Dad’s computer before I left.  I wish I’d had time to get a few more (I’ll have to remember to do that during my next visit).  Mom and Dad traveled a great deal after retirement and Dad has a wonderful collection of Mom posing in various spots around the world.  I did get a copy of my favorite (which I won’t be posting just yet) so I can have prints made.  It was the centerpiece of a collage of photos of Mom that was displayed at the viewing.  It’s the picture that brought so many of us to tears because it was so Mom:  looking happy, healthy, and having a good time.  The photo above comes in a close second to my favorite.  Mom was beautiful even in her illness, but I much prefer to remember her like this — happy, healthy, and living her life to the fullest.

A postscript:  Sometime over the next few days I’ll go through all the comments and emails I’ve received over the course of Mom’s time in hospice and her death.  I have sort of kept up with them in terms of reading, but I’d like to take the time to thank you all individually.  In the meantime, please know that I do appreciate all the thoughts and support.