As you open this newsletter, I’m in my VW bus driving my dad to France. I know, I know, poor me. But I’m dreading it all the same. This past week has been such an incredible whirlwind, I think life always is, but this week has been extra whirlwind-y.
It started with one of those phone calls, ones no one likes to get. My uncle (Kees, age 82) had passed unexpectedly from a massive stroke. 82 is not normally unexpected, but Oom Kees was very active in mind & body. As Dane said at the funeral, looking at his photo,
“He looks so young. Why did he die?” Regardless of age, death is a loss and I miss him. He will always be in my heart, he was a kind, gentle man. The kind of uncle always willing to stop & play, to read a story, to climb the cherry tree out back with us. He was the uncle who explained the tough stuff, who answered endless questions about life, and death. He was the uncle I needed last Friday to answer all of Dane’s questions.
The phone call was hard. The drive up to Holland was long (Dave was out of town, and it was just me & the younger kids). The funeral was beautiful, and sad. Seeing so many of my family members in one spot was a wonderful, treasured bonus. My dad flew out from North Carolina, and then drove home with me and the kids on Sunday. When he leaves tomorrow to visit my sister in France, my house will have a very empty spot. Having him here, staying just down the hall, even for only three nights, makes it feel like home. I’m going to hate driving back without him.
His visit is much shorter this time, partially because it wasn’t planned, and partially because my mother is having a birthday next week. Celebrating a birthday alone is no fun. How I wish we could all fly back with my dad and surprise her! Thankfully we did spend a wonderful day in Maastricht shopping for her birthday. She’s getting a fantabulous statue of Saint Servatius, patron Saint of the city of Maastricht. I got a clock!
I got a wonderful, kitsch-extraordinaire, faux French clock that says “Rue d’Antoinette” on it. I’m in love. I don’t care it’s faux, I care it says “Antoinette” and fits perfectly on my wall. And my dad bought it for my birthday (in September LOL). And that Cole got stuck lugging it through Maastricht for most of the day in exchange for a pair of real, Dutch, yellow, wooden clogs. Clogs he wore down the streets of Maastricht, while busloads of tourists snapped his photo. Saturday was a perfect day.