We're engaged in an unspoken conspiracy to ensure the best possible quality of life for Daddy during the time he has left. We're always gratified when he's able to eat his favourite meal or when he's well enough to paint, play chess or stargaze.
I'm thankful that Ingrid is old enough now that she'll remember her Daddo.
He's spending a good deal of his time reading or singing to her. I don't remember his being so available to Gerald or me. I suppose that's the difference between a parent and a grandparent.
I do remember that he would sing "The Castle of Dromore" to us, so when he sings it to Ingrid, I'm altogether done in.
Mother retired. I never dreamed she'd give up firefighting, not even to care for Daddy.
She immediately got a bee in her bonnet about fire safety here at home.
So we planted a firebreak at the west edge of the property: oak, willow, apple and ash trees
And a magnolia tree just because.
Daddy's delight alone was enough to make it worthwhile.
The firebreak didn't satisfy the bee in Mother's bonnet; we had to have a smoke alarm. When Nils and I voiced our concerns about the americium content, she just muttered darkly something about "the cobbler's children".
Daddy stood with her on that one.
So now we have a smoke alarm. It's a good thing we don't cook meat; the false alarms would be unbearable!
Speaking of bees in bonnets, Nils' latest promotion has him working in native pollination research, i.e. studying the number of bee species that visit a given plant in a given amount of time.
So of course nothing less would do than to put in a bee and butterfly garden.
Phlox, daisies, lithodora, dianthus, marigolds, lavender, heather, sunflowers, lilacs, azaleas, a lime tree and clover all around the border!
Who would have dreamed that Mother would be the first to go?
She was a fitness fanatic all her life.
A de facto vegetarian as well, early on because we couldn't afford meat; later, after Nils joined the family, cooking separate meals would have been ridiculous.
But, there we were, chatting after dinner
And, just like that, she was gone!
Daddy discovered a new star that night.
The next name on his list was Java, but instead, this one was dubbed Dana's Blue Sub Giant.
While we were setting up for the wake, we got the call about Nils' father, Erik. I don't know how Nils is keeping it together.
It was definitely above and beyond for Falconer to show up that night.
Heather Ballard had best stop making eyes at Nils or I'll scratch them out for her! And, I still have Mother's pipe wrench!
I was willing to let my birthday pass unnoted; yes, like a T-bill, I did eventually mature. A birthday celebration during Mother's wake would have been most unseemly.
However, that brat Gerald...
As if all that weren't enough, guess who had to take one final stab at upstaging Mother.
What some people won't do for drama!
It would have been utterly out of character for Mother to miss any party in her honour. I thought she was gunning for Blair Wainwright, but no. When we went to check on Daddy, he wasn't in his bed.
When we found him, no one was about to suggest that he should go indoors to bed.
We had a private memorial service the next day, where we put up a monument and scattered her ashes in the bee garden. RIP Mother.