Everything has been on hold. I have not been able to function properly these past months. My MHK Level 1 has been neglected as I could not concentrate on anything. Last weekend the clouds in my mind cleared a bit and I have picked up some knitting again.
2016 has been a very weird year. I keep track of major world events in my Filofax and it did not start out that great, did it? Many celebrities passed away, bombings, massacres and too many police related shootings were reported. Add to that the scary US election campaign...
"Was man tief in seinem Herzen besitzt,
kann man nicht durch den Tod verlieren."
- Johann Wolfgang v. Goethe
And then my father passed away suddenly in August. I already had trouble digesting all the negative news in the media, but when my sister called me that my dad was diagnosed with a extremely aggressive cancerous tumor on his bronchial tubes, I knew that the moment, which I had always dreaded, had finally arrived. Her phone calls and text messages did not bring any hope. We were all in shock and within 18 days, the tumor had weakened my father in such a rapid manner, that he passed away in the hospital on August 18th in the morning. My sister and mother were on their way to be with him, but missed him by 10 minutes. I cannot say how heartbroken I was for my mother. They had been the perfect soulmates, almost reaching their 60th anniversary. I am happy to say, that he did not suffer, but so sad, because I am sure that he had not expected to go so soon. He was a healthy 84 year old, but a strong smoker since his teens. So, this was expected to happen some time, I guess. I am also glad that I got to visit in April this year and was able to see him and spend time with him and my mom. My mother is strong and realistic and doing the best that she can.
Here they are in 1956 and again in 2016.
Of course, I had to go back for the funeral and within a few days my ticket was booked, never having expected to be back so soon. It was a very nice few days, filled with tears but also with lots of stories and laughter.
There were two very strange moments on this trip that I shall never forget.
The first incident was on my flight from San Diego to Atlanta. The flight was fully booked and I was only able to get a middle seat. When I arrived at my seat row, a Marine was already seated at the window. He was in full uniform and was holding his hat on his lap. I took my seat and right thereafter the next passenger on the aisle side sat next to me. He was a typical California guy, in shorts and flip flops, wearing his earbuds and starting his game on the pad that he had on his lap. The flight attendants did their safety spiel, but before we got started, the captain came out of the cockpit to make an announcement. He said that we have the sad task to carry the body of a fallen soldier. The passengers are asked to remain in their seats after landing, so the escort can exit first. I look at the marine next to me and said, 'you are the escort', 'yes ma'am, he responded. Well this was too much for me to hold back my emotions which I had tried to control anyways, and I started to cry. The aisle guy looked at me as if to say, what's up with that? So, I felt the obligation to explain myself and tell both of them that I too was going to a funeral, my dad's. It was an awkward and very sad moment, believe me.
The second incident was at church. Every day that I was at home, had been sunny, except the day of the burial, it rained buckets that day. The pastor, a young woman, so pleasant and nice, was singing hymns that my mother had chosen and she was praying with us. Every time she said the word God, there was an enormous thunder. My sister and I looked at each other and could not believe it. Wow, was all we mouthed. It was a very weird moment and both will stay with me forever.