It's early morning, relatively, and Shelly's run into the city to pick up one of her daughters. We are going to float on the Pembina River today for a couple hours -- a new experience for both Shelly and me, though her daughters Becky and Sarah went on the weekend and say it was FABULOUS. We've had scorching hot weather and today promises to be just as intense. We're packing up sunscreen, an umbrella, hats, water ... and of course a lifejacket for me, who will take no chances even though the water for much of the way is only waist-deep. I can barely dogpaddle and haven't done so for a hundred years.
We have been pretty much constant companions since I arrived the day before Dale's funeral on Wednesday. It was a bit of an ordeal, as they often are, especially when a Catholic priest is officiating and ignoring the family's request to keep the service short and sweet. I think I may hate Catholic priests. Who do they think they are? Oh, messengers from God. I forgot. Pfft. This one may have managed to put me off churches of all denominations, forever. Not that I wasn't put off already.
There has been pretty much constant coming and going here at the house, mixed in with a few slow and quiet times. Shelly has been going through the motions required after a death -- phone calls, paperwork, restructuring of everyday arrangements -- and her family, and Dale's, and their friends, have all been checking in regularly and doing everything they can to support her and the kids. It's been quite impressive, not to mention heartwarming. The three kids themselves, ranging in age from 20 to 24, are looking out for each other and their mom; it's tough on them all, but they are displaying incredible strength. I don't need to worry about any of them not being okay, though naturally the coming year will be hard on them.
After a week here, it still doesn't seem real that Dale has gone from us. It feels as if he is present sometimes. His ashes have been put into a pillar topped with a beautiful sundial and engraved with "Dad" and it is standing out in a flowerbed. Yesterday I bought a rose bush that will be planted next to it, in his memory.
I had best get my ass in gear and get ready, if I don't want to be left behind.