It’s time for my monthly post

Wow, has it really been nearly a month already?  I am so pathetic.  Thank you to the four of you who check in now and then.  You’re really loyal, and I adore you!

So, the countdown to our departure is on.  20 days to go, but with everything that’s going on leading up to our departure on May 19 (YS’s birthday, btw), it’s more like 14.  The next 20 days are going to be so stressful.  At some point before May 17 we have to move most of YS’s stuff home from school so that on May 17 we have only the basics left to move.

Next weekend is Bloomsday, the world’s largest timed run.  It’s always on the first Sunday in May, and I have participated in it every year for – well, years. Again, this year I am in horrible shape, so it’s going to be grueling.  In addition to The Daughter, Granddaughter2 will be doing it with us.  She’s 9.  She is so excited!  She’s been doing a jog-a-thon at school every morning, and has been running 4 miles before school every day, so she’ll probably outlast both her mother and me.  It will be fun, and hopefully the start of a new family tradition.

The following weekend will pretty much be our only opportunity to move YS’s stuff out.  Then he has finals, and as luck would have it, he has a final at 3PM on Friday, the 16th – the last possible time a final can be given.  That’s going to make things even more hectic.  On the 17th we’ll move his computer, refrigerator, and clothing home, and prepare for graduation ceremonies the following day.  Hopefully, YS will follow my instructions and set aside the clothes he is taking on the trip, make sure they’re all clean, and be pretty much packed.  Knowing YS, that won’t happen.

Graduation ceremonies are at 3PM on Sunday.  I suspect they’ll last at least 2 hours, which means we’re going to be in a mad dash to get home, finalize our packing, and try to get a decent night’s sleep.  Our plane leaves at 1PM on Monday, which means we have to be at the airport by 11AM, which means we need to leave the house by 8:30AM.  We’re going to drive YS’s car so we can leave it at Oldest Son’s house while we’re gone.  OS is going to drive us to the airport, and then pick us up at the ungodly hour of midnight on June 7 when we get back.  Just putting this itinerary down is making me stressed.  Somehow, during that crazy graduation weekend, we have to go over all the plans for taking care of the house, the fish, the cat, the plants, the yard, and Riley with The Daughter, finish our packing, go over all the last minute checklists, and make sure we’re really ready to leave.  It’s daunting, and it takes away a little bit from the excitement of going.  I suppose I won’t get to finally be really excited until we’re sitting on the plane.

On another note, I’ve been trying like mad to get in touch with my family in my grandfather’s hometown in Italy.  The woman from whom we’re renting the apartment in Rome went so far as to call them and explain who I was (who my grandfather was).  They said they didn’t know who I was, and had never heard of my grandfather.  This town has all of 1200 residents.  There is no way that someone with our family last name is not a relative, or that any relative, no matter how distant, wouldn’t know about the only family member who emigrated to America.  The woman got an email address for me, so I emailed and explained again who I was.  I explained that I only want to know my family history, that I only want to meet my cousins.  I have emailed twice, and have received no reply.  I don’t understand what gives.  I don’t know if the family members I have numbers for are so young they truly don’t know about my grandfather, or if maybe they’re all afraid I’m coming to claim some inheritance or something.  I told them over and over in emails that I don’t want anything, so why haven’t they responded.  My dad mentioned that my uncle visited Monteleone a year-and-a-half ago and received a similarly cool reception.  I need to call my uncle and find out more.  I had never heard that he’d visited Monteleone before, so I want to verify the information.  If it’s true, it’s weird.  When my brother visited in 1980, he was welcomed with arms wide open.  What has changed?  I hope once we’re there to go ahead and visit Monteleone and find out for myself.  Apparently, according to my brother, the convent there has all the family records.  At the very least, I want to see the lineage – the names of my grandfather’s siblings, parents, and grandparents.  I would like to bring that back with me.

I’ve been studying French, and surprisingly, I’m learning a lot!  I know how to say “I want” and “I have” along with lots of nouns to go with those phrases.  Actually, the best part is I’m learning how to pronounce written French words.  There are so many silent letters, it’s crazy.  But I’m learning.  I’m also brushing up on my Italian.  I was surprised by how much I still remember.  I had the CD in the car, and as the woman was saying the English phrases, I was saying the Italian ones before the Italian speaker did more than half the time.  I was proud of myself!  🙂

On yet another note, YS didn’t get the internship.  🙁  Apparently, Intel requires a 3.0 GPA for interns, and YS’s GPA slipped below 3.0 after a disastrous Fall semester.  Now he’s trying to find a job in Tacoma for the summer so he can be near the girlfriend.  We’ll see how that goes.  The girlfriend’s parents are well-connected, so he’s hoping they can help him land a decent paying job.  If that doesn’t happen, he’ll be spending the summer here again, working locally.

And finally, 5 students, all freshmen, from YS’s dorm were in Montana over the weekend.  A deer jumped out in front of them, and the driver swerved to miss it, hitting a semi head-on.  Four of them escaped with minor injuries, but a fifth student had to go into surgery with two broken legs and other injuries.  Apparently, his brain began swelling, and he went into a coma.  The entire campus was praying for him.  Sadly, he passed away yesterday morning.  It’s a small school, so it has touched everyone.  The university president sent out a really touching email to all the students.  YS’s dorm is very somber.  There are only 70 guys in the dorm, and they’re all pretty close. YS knew the boy, but didn’t hang out with him.  He did, however, hang out with the driver and some of the passengers.  The driver is blaming himself, though of course, it wasn’t his fault.  When four escape with minor injuries, and one dies, well…. to me, it says it was his time.  God has other plans for him.  I know some of you will roll your eyes over that, but it’s what I believe.  It’s still a sad, heartbreaking time for everyone who knows these kids.  It comes just two weeks before finals, too.  How do these kids prepare for finals with this weighing on them?  It’s such a tragedy.  So, if you have a moment, pray for the kids who were in the car, the driver, the kids in the dorm, and all the friends and family of the boy who passed away.  They’re going to need all the support they can get.

The Day After

Last night I stopped over and visited SIL’s mother.  She’s a wreck, though The Daughter said she’s doing much better today.  Last night she was sleep deprived, hadn’t eaten all day, and had been crying pretty much non-stop.  I hugged her – one mother sharing another mother’s anguish – and she said “how do you heal from something like this?”  I replied, “I don’t know.  I don’t think you do – you just learn, over time, to live with the pain.”  I know two other couples who have lost children – one was killed in a skiing accident over Christmas break during his senior year of high school.  He was one of SIL’s best friends (SIL was one of the pall bearers) and would have graduated with him in 1993.  His parents are very well known and loved in the community, so it was a community tragedy as well. He had hundreds of friends.  They closed school and held a service for him in the gym.  It was so sad, and his mother has never been the same.  She works, she still does community service things, she smiles, but there is a sadness about her, in her eyes, that wasn’t there before.  She seems to me like a shell of the person she was before his death.  The happy, chipper woman I knew is gone.  Her husband moves through life, but he too has lost his spark.  They function.  They have to – they have two other sons, and now grandkids.  But she told me that there is not one second of one day that she does not think of her son – and it’s been 15 years.  The other couple live about two blocks from me and the husband works with SIL.  Their son would have graduated with The Daughter in 1994.  He shot himself in their home during his senior year.  He spread a sheet out over the carpet and left a note saying he was sorry about the mess.  He apparently was distraught over getting bad grades and didn’t want to face his parents.  So sad.  I can only imagine the guilt they carry with them.  He wasn’t as well known and well-liked as the other boy so his parents didn’t have the same sort of community support and outpouring of love and sympathy.  They kept to themselves.  They were always very private people anyway, but they withdrew even further.  They have an older daughter who has a couple of kids, so they pour themselves into those kids, but they too often appear to just be going through the motions.  I am sure a huge part of you dies when your child dies.  A parent is not supposed to bury a child. I pray to God I never have to know what that is like.  I’ve told YS that if he ever does anything stupid like that, I’ll kill him.  Ha ha.

I have the grandkids for the night.  There is just so much family drama going on, and all the other grandkids are with friends or the non-sibling, non-custodial parent, so when offered options as to how they would spend their evening, they opted for Poppy and Grammy’s house.   Today was the immediate family only viewing.  The Daughter said it was really hard.  Apparently all the sisters and a couple of his friends got tattoos like the shamrock he had on his shoulder, with his initials on the leaves of the shamrock.  The Daughter was upset because getting the tattoos made them late to the viewing, and then their tattoos became the focus of things, which The Daughter felt was very disrespectful and inappropriate.  But everyone grieves in their own way, and who is to say what is appropriate or not?  The service will be on Monday.  I’m sure there will be a huge turnout.  He was a well-liked kid.  In a couple of weeks, the out-of-town family and friends will be gone.  Everyone will go back to work and school, and life will return to normal for most people.  But his mom will never be “normal” again, and I want to be there for her when, in the middle of the day, for no apparent reason, she finds herself falling apart and alone.  I told her to call me, no matter when, and I’ll be there in seconds.  I hope she takes me up on that offer.  Sometimes it’s easier to fall apart with an “outsider” than with your immediate family because they don’t share the same kind of anguish and can just listen.  I will just listen, and hold her, and let her cry for as long as she needs to.  It’s just a small thing, but maybe it will help her go through this process.  I hate that I can’t do more.