Tuesday, August 02, 2011
My niece, Dani's grandfather died last week, three days short of 80. It was not unexpected; he had Parkinson's, diabetes, and heart disease and was in a nursing home. I didn't know him well, but he was my niece's grandfather.
Dani is a special girl (now woman). She is a couple of years older than my daughter and has come through a panoply of adverse life situations, most of which were caused by her mother, my husband's sister. At one point, we had to intercede on Dani's behalf and took her into our home. Although my sister-in-law is a whack job (and I say this in the nicest way), she did one thing well... she gave the world Danielle.
I went to the funeral and burial yesterday. I got up early and got my stepping in and my upper body ST before I left because I KNEW I wouldn't do it once I got home. I also took a big water with me for the two hour drive. It was a humid day and thunderstorms were predicted for midday. The weather held off until after the internment which was a blessing.
The funeral was a Catholic Mass. Its been years since I've been to church and I didn't know some of the responses, but the ritual struck a harmonic chord of memory. Then we went to the cemetery for the graveside service. I knew only the family but was greeted warmly by many of the attendees.
I had been toying with going right home afterward because of the impending weather, but hadn't had a chance to visit with Dani. So I set off for the luncheon location (without using my GPS) and after a couple of minutes going the way I thought I was supposed to go, realized I was lost. I was going to text Dani, but then remembered I could google the actual address with my phone. by the time I got myself turned around and arrived at the restaurant, I was the last to arrive. Dani was waiting for me and had saved me a place at the center table.
I had the salmon with veggies and rice pilaf, but I left the rice on the plate. I did indulge in a piece of garlic bread, but left the fried zucchini alone. I had a glass of wine, but didn't finish it and concentrated more on the ice water. So, as far as the eating went I did well.
I had a wonderful visit with Dani. She's so wonderful and caring. People are drawn to her sweetness and I just love how gracious she is. The wonderful part of the day for me was how much all these people I didn't know knew about me. Apparently, the story of Dani's trial and tribulations and our part (the DH and me) in rescuing her were well known. I got lots of well wishes and gratitude form lots of people. It was quite surprising. I could only smile, thank them for their sentiments and enjoy the scene.
I could have done nothing less for Dani. It was just the right thing to do (back when she needed a safe place to be without her mother). But people don't want to hear that and it would have been more than rude to posit the thought amidst the genuine sentiments being expressed. What I took away from it was how much my dear niece is treasured and loved. I love that... that there is such a deep and caring bedrock of support for her from people that have known her family for a long time, in some cases generations. Family counts.
After the luncheon I drove Dani back to her father's home where he lives with her step-mother and half-brother. I stayed for a while and visited, something I don't often get to do. Wistfully, I had to leave for my 2+ hour ride home. Dani was going to her meme's house to say good bye and then heading to her home (about fifteen minutes from my house). Amid this day's drama was my daughter's journey up from Virginia Beach.
So, though the drive home was fraught with horrible weather and traffic, but I was comforted that it was an experience we were sharing. We all got home safely, though worn out.