Monday: twin agonies of waiting.
Tuesday: one shoe drops: Aunt Dotty dies. Also, I pass out after giving blood (as discussed in a prior post).
Wednesday: the other shoe drops: the war starts.
Thursday: drive to Long Island in the rain, alternating basketball and war coverage on the radio. "Viewing hours" at the funeral home: that doesn't look much like the Aunt Dotty I knew (just confirming what I already knew, she's gone, that's not her). Then a eulogy: that doesn't sound much like the Aunt Dotty I knew, either.
Friday: funeral services all morning, long lunch with everyone at the services most of the afternoon, back to Aunt Dotty's house for more time with the relatives. Hours and hours with many people, most of whom I don't know, plus a horrible relative episode (though we apparently missed another one), until my semi-introvert self is ready to crawl under a rock for some peace and quiet. Also, while at the house, hear that "Shock and Awe" has started. Shocking and awful, indeed.
Saturday: quiet lunch with a handful of the family. Trade some good stories of Aunt Dotty, get to know some of the extended family a little better, head out for home. There's really nothing like your own bed.
Sunday: birthday brunch for our favorite just-turned-three cousin, Z. He greets us with cries of "Chad and Cake!"—a few days ago the phrase "Chad and Kate" didn't come out of his mouth properly, and he recognized the joke immediately and ran with it. Another gathering with lots of people I didn't know, but for a much happier reason, and Z. loves the plush polar bear we got him (and how could he not, it was so soft and cuddly and fuzzy and squeezable and . . . ahem). Show off the house to some of the relatives who'd come up for the brunch: you forget how much you like something until you see it through someone else's eyes. Basically sit around the rest of the day exhausted, doing not a heck of a lot beyond watching basketball (Syracuse will be coming to Albany, to which Chad has tickets—yay).
Not a good week, but at least it got better as it went on.