Some bad, some good, some great -- November 2016
Some posts write themselves. Either a photo or a place dictates what follows. Others balk at being looked at, much less being exposed to one and all by writing. This one, this post, I never, ever thought to write, it just wouldn't be necessary. My healthy youngest brother, Rob, who entertained us, played with his young great-nieces and -nephews, and who shared a bike trail with us at our Boston reunion in June, learned he had aggressive Stage 4 lung cancer in July, and passed away Saturday evening, Nov. 5th, 2016. He slipped away while no one was looking. As shocking as this was, his passing spared him from weeks of lingering, perhaps enduring agonizing pain. Those of you who follow my blog know that in Aug/Sept, Jimmy and I spent five weeks with him in Mobile, AL, helping him through the hoops and hurdles of dealing with a terminal disease. It wasn't easy, but it was a privilege to help someone who meant so much to us. His passing leaves a hole in our hearts. He will be missed.
Rob Nykvist, 1957-2016
Above, Rob was usually game to play the jokester, and his antics always made us laugh. Below, Rob, (in his customary orange shirt) and Jimmy ride along a tree-shaded bike trail in Massachusetts, something the three of us loved to do. I've already lost two brothers to cancer and it sucks. My oldest brother, Rus, in Boston, seems to be doing better with his cardiomyopathy. Nannie and I and Rus and our spouses plan a memorial-type get-together for Rob sometime in 2017. This hasn't been a good year for me and Jimmy, family-wise, beginning with his son's death last January and now Rob. I tell you, it sure brings mortality to the forefront of my brain. We struggle now with our grief.
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On a lighter note ... we have a very nice house, at least we think so, with warm, golden-oak hardwood floors throughout, including the kitchen. Built in 1965, our house was remodeled before we bought it four-plus years ago, and we ended up with a wonderfully spacious great room, etc., but apparently no one wanted to tackle the old kitchen drawers. I've had a bone to pick with those drawers since we moved in because the runners were worn down and they stuck -- wood grinding on wood, dropping tiny wood chips, splinters and dust in each drawer below! Last month, Jimmy, my hero, redid those danged drawers, all 11 of them. It was a lot of hard work, and I offer up compliments with every opening and closing. Thank you, Jimmy!
This is how engineers begin a job.
Not much room to get arms inside.
And now for the great news. Study the photo below, look at the shirts that son, Matt, and his wife, Jen, wore for Halloween. I love those shirts. I love the reason for the shirts ... no, not the guy on the left with a frothy beer stein, but the girl on the right showing a ... baby girl in her tummy! Yep, they're expecting their first child about March 1st. I'll be a Gramma! Wow, imagine that ... me a Gramma!
I am overwhelmed with joy! Look how happy they are.
Life goes on, the circle is complete, and I bow my head in reverence.
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And finally, Jimmy has his new list on the table, our luggage is laid out in the spare bedroom and a few items have appeared on the bed (so as not to be forgotten). Now that the election is over, I can spring the line that I've been saving, regardless who won the contest: "I'm leaving the country." To be exact, Jimmy and I are bound for a month "Down Under," with Road Scholar. We've ticked off calendar months since early spring when we booked the tour: six months, then two months, and suddenly our departure is only a week away. And we are getting really excited! Another dream come true for both of us, visiting New Zealand and Australia Not sure how much or how often I'll be able to post while we're away, but stay tuned. I'll give it my best shot.