Sara, Jill and I climb into the limo that will drive us back to Cumberland. This is an interesting experience. Our driver, who was positioned toward the back of the black car procession of flower and casket cars, had clearly been the lead in getting people safely through difficult merges and intersections. He drove slowly and cautiously. Now that the funeral was over, it felt like he couldn't get home fast enough. We took I95 as long as we could heading toward Cumberland, and did we ever fly. Every curve was a new adventure in life, especially Thurbers Avenue. I didn't ever feel in danger for my life, but boy, did we make good time.
Part of the limo service includes a ride to where ever it is you need to be next. Our destination was the club, but Jill and Sara had both left their cars at the funeral home, so we needed to get dropped there. We wait for my sister Jill's friend who has been caring for my young nephew throughout the two ceremonies.
While we are waiting, Sara and I go through cards that have been left in memory of my father. Not being raised in a Catholic tradition, I am puzzled by the mass cards that we recieved in my father's name. They are beautiful cards, richly decorated and lettered. They have been purchased so that people will continue to pray for my father, and keep the memory of him alive. I find this to be a very loving gesture, but I can't really understand it.
By the time we arrive at the club people have been there for a while eating and drinking. I am surprised by how few people are there, mostly family with a few friends mixed in.
I am so hungry my teeth are hurting. This seems to be the latest new development in chemo side effects. I take a couple of those wonderful little sandwiches catering companies specialize in, the kind on the little torpedo rolls. I quickly need to get another. I can't believe how hungry I am. I sit with my kids and Josh, Filipa, Chauncey and my niece Julia. I wonder if I should be sitting at the "grown up" table for my family, but this is really where I want to be.
Once I am done eating, I go to see my cousins Brenda and Christine who are sitting with their Mom, who is my dad's sister, my Aunt Sandra. I haven't spent any time with them in a few years, so we do our best to catch up. We talk about my Dad, and our health. My Aunt is going through her own cancer issues, that I had heard about but never really checked in on. I realize that sometimes I get so caught up in my own life, I forget to check in with others. We decide will try to do a better job of keeping in touch.
I talk to my Aunt Anne Marie, who is only a couple of years older than I am. I always loved being around my cousins and Anne, we had such fun when we were younger.
My niece Cherelle comes in with her dad, my older brother Howard. Howard is in a wheel chair. He limped through the funeral this morning, but his hip bothers him, so he is using his chair. They came in from Michigan last night, and I haven't really spoken with them. My younger brother Tim has been chauffeuring them around, and comes in too.
I help my brother get some food, and see that he is settled in. We talk a little, when I notice my niece is surveying the crowd, looking a little lost. The last time she and my brother were here was shortly after my mother passed away. She was ten then. Now she is twenty seven. She wants to meet aunts and uncles she barely remembers, but doesn't know where to start. I introduce her around, and she is so excited. It is a rare opportunity to introduce family to family in this way. I love seeing her so happy.
Friends and family come and go, and after a few hours I am not only tired, but starting to get that creeping sensation. This is not chemo weekend, so it is the one where my bags don't stay. I contemplate doing a change in the bathroom at the club, but I can't bring myself to do it for reasons that probably make sense only to me. Instead, Ayla and Chauncey bring me home just in time to avoid a blow out.
Alex drops off Filpa at her house and comes home, Kaileigh drops Josh at the train and comes back too. It is late in the afternoon, and we are hungry. We forgot to take some of the extra sandwiches from the club, so we are on our own. We decide that Indian food from the food court at the mall is what we need, a special comfort food for a long and emotional day.
When we get home, I decide that we should sort though that big box of photos in my closet. I text my sisters, and they want to come over to join in. Jill, Sara, Kaileigh and I spend the next four hours looking through all the photos in my huge bin. We don't even get to all the photo albums. We laugh over hairdo's and clothing choices, and reminisce about where photos were taken. My sisters make piles of photos they like, I won't let them take those they don't. We find quite a few photos of my dad, and put them aside for another time.