We are empty nesters again… If only for a few days.
Summer came home with Angela from Memphis a week and a half ago and has been in Tremont resting and cleaning the disaster that is her room. This was needed in a bad way!!! Her apartment had been quickly gutted when we pulled her from Carbondale and the bulk of her apartment was now deposited in her very small bedroom in our house! We could have been on the show “Hoarders” if we applied.
During this time at home, we have been busy. Last weekend, we went up to Wisconsin to visit Aiden. Summer went to Marigold and Pumpkin festivals and had a chance to see her Grandmother Linda. Lots of things to check off the list! Bonus, Aiden kind of surprised us with a trip home Friday afternoon. He wanted to make it to Kevin’s Celebration of Life on Saturday so this turned into a house full! A welcome house full!
Yesterday, Nate came up from Decatur to stay with us. He and Summer left this morning to head to Carbondale and Aiden took off a few hours later.
Just Mom and Dad… Alone again!
This week, I have a meeting in Nashville. We will navigate bringing Summer back home as I come back or… We will play it by ear. We want her to enjoy her time off before we head back to Memphis in Mid October. If she is enjoying her days in Carbondale and keeps busy… That’s fine. We don’t want her to sit around our house and be bored here in Tremont. I suspect we will have an adventure or two before her return to Memphis. We have some AutoX events coming up on October 1st… There is a TLCA event in Hot Springs on October 6-9th. Can we figure out a way to drag our camper down and get a Junior Park Ranger badge in the meantime??? Everything is on the table!
Once we are locked back into Memphis (And still holding out some hope for some treatment in Peoria) its going to be 7 months of grinding chemotherapy, blood transfusions, and in-patient hospital time. This is enough reason for me to do whatever we can do during this time now.
I did make it to Kevin’s mass on Friday. I left my staff for a few hours and went to Peoria for a Catholic service at St. Thomas. The service was far superior to what I was expecting. I have been to Catholic funeral masses where they were dry, and the Priest did the standard mass with little deviation from tradition. I give the Father great credit for a spectacularly personal approach and thoughtful homily. I was glad I went. I rushed out to get back to work because we were down 2 guys and I knew that Kevin would understand that life in customer service never leaves many moments for ourselves during normal working hours.
Saturday, I worked in the morning and forgot my change of clothes for the celebration of life. I headed home to change and got to the American Legion in Bartonville a little late. Once inside, I had time to visit with Kyle, Torrie, Rob, and Deb after doing a quick “hello” tour of some of the “beer nerds” and foodies of Peoria. (Brian, are you a nerd or foodie?) I had met Jennifer’s uncle Bill before and he found me when I walked in the door. I saw that Jen was covered in conversation and I was happy for that. I know she was planning on staying very briefly, but she was there a good chunk of the time.
I was working my way over to her family table (Eventually!!! So much catching up to do!) and she found me before they headed back to her sister’s house.
I wanted to get to her family party and show support but I also was torn by the fact that I had both my kids in the house! My God! 2022 is a banner year for discovering your personal priorities. I came home. Aiden and I played a game and we all went out later for dinner. Aiden and I talked a little. I felt bad that I was not at the celebration of life at the same time as him. Maybe I could have introduced him to some people. Then again, he knew Kevin in a whole different way than I did and I like that we have unique perspectives of our relationships with Kevin.
I gave Jen a hug and regretfully told her I would not make it to her family party… But we made an agreement that we will talk more and I will help with the car if she needs it. Small things, but one less thing to stress over I hope.
I sat in the pew at St Thomas on Friday and stared at Kevin’s picture at the front of the Alter. I could hear his laugh. I know I have it recorded… But I want to remember it in my head so I keep thinking about it.
I have been thinking about Lou Reed’s Magic and Loss a lot lately (for obvious reasons) and there is a verse in the song Goodbye Mass that keeps jangling around my head.
Sitting in a hard chair it’s over time to standSome people are crying I turn to grab your hand It’s your daughter saying thank you, You, you would have made a joke “Isn’t this something, ” you say, “tomorrow I’m smoke”
Kevin would have made a joke or gotten a cheap laugh to lighten the mood. That was his gift. Bringing a smile to anyone like he had a magic wand. (It’s not enough buddy, I’m still pissed at you BTW)