Before I write anything else, I want to thank all of you who have left messages here or sent e-mails. The thoughts of friends and family have easily been the greatest help in dealing with the sadness of losing my father. I know I always stumble for words when offering condolences, but I now realize the words hardly matter. It's just letting people know you care for them and hope they are getting through their sadness. So thanks to all of you who let me know that.
I have been in Rutland with my mother for the last couple of days. With impeccable timing, I arrived after my brother Bob had helped her with most of the difficult tasks of dealing with funeral homes and sorting out financial stuff, and my "tasks" have been to run a few errands and eat my mother's cooking.
Getting here was one of those journeys that beg not to be repeated. LK and I were in Bali when the bad news came, and the flight I rescheduled out of there required me to fly north to Singapore before transferring to a flight south to Melbourne. From there I flew home to Hobart in the early afternoon to repack, grab my passport and catch a flight the next morning to Sydney. OK, I also had enough time to have a wonderful visit from Jason and Laura - wonderful except that Jay continues to beat me badly in Wii Golf.
Arriving in Sydney, I made my way to the international terminal to take a United flight to Los Angeles. There I had a 14-hour layover before going on to Chicago. Fortunately, Linda had tracked down a day rate at the airport Travelodge hotel, and for $49 I was able to get a room which gave me a chance to sleep a few hours, take a shower and BEST OF ALL have dinner at the Denny's connected to the hotel where the big decision hinged on sticking to the South Beach low carb, low fat diet or giving in to their latest promotions involving a drink that they described as "peanut butter and chocolate via a straw" or a dish comprising "double chocolate pancake puppies with peanut butter sauce".
I must be getting old, but it was easy to stick to the diet.
Anyhow, I checked out after dinner and caught the red-eye to Chicago, which at 4 hours is way too short to let you get enough rest before landing at 5am. A couple of hours layover there, then a flight of about 2 hours to Albany New York where I rented a car and drove 2 hours to Rutland.
It was time-consuming, but the older I get the more I get used to being tired anyway. It's really good to be here with my Mom, even if I have ended a lot of our conversations by falling asleep in the middle of them.
I am not sure if this whole journey illustrates how far away we are or how it is possible to be together in only a few days no matter where we are. Either way, I will be leaving Tuesday morning and back home by Thursday afternoon. I suspect I will be happy to stay on the ground for a while.