I woke early on Sunday morning and sat on the sofa with the dog. We watched the sun rise over the tiny sliver of Peconic Bay that I can see from my front windows during the winter months. The two mourning doves that nest in our wisteria-covered pergola every year were cooing loudly at six o'clock in the morning. They lifted my spirit -- spring must be on its way.
I'm sad to say that Pete's father, Joe, passed away just days after we returned from our vacation. He would have been 99 on the Fourth of July this year. He was taking his morning walk at the nursing home and slowly collapsed to the floor. Although his body wore out over his long life, his mind was still sharp. Being in the nursing home was difficult for him, but his physical ailments made it a necessity. Pete's mother, Betty, who is 95, visited him daily.
We scrambled to find flights to the midwest, and had to drive through a snowstorm to get to Kennedy airport. Planes were delayed and we were late meeting Clara in Minneapolis and getting to the family viewing on Friday night. The funeral home stayed open so we could say goodbye, and the entire family -- 24 all together -- waited for us. Saturday was -- needless to say -- emotional and moving. Joe, a physician by trade, was a woodsman at heart, and Betty ordered a beautiful blanket made of pine boughs, cedar, pinecones, fungus and lotus for the coffin. The cemetery was covered in snow, and as the coffin was lowered, Betty made a snowball and placed it on the coffin -- a sweet gesture.
We returned to the church for a luncheon and visits with family and friends. When our funeral party returned to the hotel, we met a wedding party and discovered that Joe had delivered the bride and her 8 siblings many years before. An ending and a new beginning. The circle of life.