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Sunday April 23, 2000

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Mom's Memorial Service and other family antics

My brothers were arriving by Tuesday, with a quick trip back to Phoenix for one brother to pickup his wife on Wednesday. My daughter arrived on Wednesday and my son and daughter-in-law on Thursday morning. To keep up I picked up my rental car on Wednesday morning. I had requested a compact and they brought out a little Suzuki 4-wheel drive, Grand Votara (?). It was so cute but there was a warning on the sun visor that there could be a roll danger. That makes me want to take it cross country!

We spent most of the time at my father's mobile home and everytime we made food it disappeared like a flock of pirahnas had attacked. It was strange to see the women cook, men eat mentality that was so prevalent in the group. My daughter laughed at it and I helped out more because I didn't want to cause bother to my father.

Two nephews and my children were the grandchildren who came, but they seemed to keep up with the eating and, at least my kids, with the talking. Oh did we talk! We are all capable of marathon talking. I pride myself on being more capable of listening than my brothers, but that may be an illusion. I don't talk this much when around other people, but there is something about being around my brothers that brings it out. It could be that I had to shout to be heard among six kids.

The memorial service was nice. A very old friend read a poem she had written. It was especially poignant since her husband is very ill. My brothers, my children, myself and a couple of my sisters-in-law talked about what we remembered about my mother. I remembered the strength she showed me and the stubbornness to do what needs to be done and then keep on doing it. All my brothers said they had married women like my mother, which is interesting since my sister-in-laws are all different.

I thought my children's thoughts were especially sweet and I'm glad they had a chance to know their grandparents. I always felt a loss at only meeting my grandparents on a few visits. I was so grateful that my kids could come. A few other people also had some thoughts about my mother, but time ran out too quickly, in part, because we talked too much but that's ok.

Afterwards they had a potluck dinner for everyone that was delicious. We all talked more with each other and with friends and my parent's friends. It was very nice. I talked with people I hadn't seen in years, including a couple of people who were houseparents when I was in the Children's Home.

All the religious sentiments and prayers didn't bother me as my mother would have liked them and they comforted my father. By today I was tired of all our food being prayed for but I still was hungry and still ate it. I'm not a combatative atheist who has to give their opinion every time religion is mentioned as I understand how much a part of many people's life it is. I'm glad it helps some people, though I do not like them pushing it at other people, or harming other people because they don't believe like they do.

I spent four days cooking, washing dishes, talking and watching my brothers. They were all at Rick's wedding but we weren't together as much, or in such a domestic setting. We are all dreamers and have so many dreams that haven't come true but some of us are more realistic and others fall harder and recover with more difficulty. We aren't a very realistic family overall, and we have different degrees of dealing with the lack of reality and different degrees of acceptance of what we are.

I had forgotten how long it takes a group of people to make a decision. Every time we did anything we seemed to spend hours coordinating and getting everyone up to speed and to the same place at the same time. If I want to go someplace I just go so this was very difficult. I just wanted to tell everyone what to do so we could get on with it. I controlled myself most of the time! I think.

I'm glad to be sitting in my own apartment, all by myself, right now. I asked my father how long he needed to rest up from having us all there and he immediately came out with "at least four weeks". Now that's a realistic statement. I'm glad he now has his move to a smaller place to look forward to so there won't be an immediate letdown. I don't know how much he has really dealt with Mom's death.

It was nice to have a car to run errands today and I stocked up on the heavy and/or bulky food and household items. What fun to be able to run from store to store to pick up things, though I don't really think I saved all that much money. I was surprised at how many places were closed. Even Walmart was closed and it hardly ever closes.

Now I go back to work and start thinking about vacations and summer and what I'm up to in the next few months. I do feel like I'm moving on which I haven't for the last month. Life goes on! It's a cliche but it is so true.

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(c) Rachel Aschmann 2000.
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