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Earth to earth…Ashes to ashes….Dust to dust.

On Sunday sis and I said our final goodbye to our step-dad. There was a small gathering of family and friends in the backyard. We gathered just outside the stucco wall that encloses their large backyard. We managed to get mom, who barely can walk a few steps at a time, to a spot close to Kurt’s favorite tree, a lovely Palo Verde beginning to come alive after winter with tiny yellow flowers. We were just a few short steps from the wash that runs behind their property. It could not have been a prettier morning; blue skies, just a touch of crispness in the air, a gentle breeze….cactus wren twittering nearby and quail talking amongst themselves as if to say, “He’s gone and so is our daily feed!” We stood among the cactus he so loved….pots of blooming geraniums everywhere, and surrounded by the many birds that have flocked to this desert oasis, “Villa Paradiso,” for over fifteen years. We worried for a moment about the loud hum of bees housed in the old Saguaro that finally toppled over to its own death a year ago. Fortunately the bees kept their distance and let us be in peace.

We shared stories about Kurt as we stood before the Palo Verde tree. I shared my first encounter with Kurt which included a refrigerator drawer full of my Italian favorite, Mortadella. We read a lovely poem and Bro-in-law read a gospel reading. Sis and I think Kurt would have loved our simple gathering and where his ashes were spread. Most of all, we know with absolute certainty that he would have loved the spread of food afterwards; Prosecco, deviled eggs, bruschetta, prosciutto and salami, fresh fruit, crackers and cheese and a delicious fruit tart.

But folks, even at the happiest of occasions, when there is family involved, there is bound to be hurt feelings or heartaches. I knew that this event would be difficult but I certainly did not anticipate the level of negative emotion that swirled about in the days prior to the memorial, and still remains. In short, lots of drama has occured over the past two weeks since his passing. My head and heart seem perilously close to a breaking point. My brain is in a stress-induced fog; there is just so much work to do… so many decisions to make and so much emotional drama and family baggage to sift through; in short, its all such a mess.

They say God doesn’t give you more than you can handle. Somehow, I think He has been distracted with other things lately. So, with all due respect God, sis and I have had enough heaped upon us, thank you very much. I know…I know…..I shouldn’t complain. Someone in this life always has it much worse than I do.

Daily four-mile walks just as the sun comes up has kept me from teetering over the edge. And knowing that I have a loving husband, a terrific sis and brother-in-law…along with Alexandre-the-Greatest, makes me believe that in the end everything is going to be all right.

And…if not…well….it’s not the end.

Rest in Peace Kurt and know that we are trying to move things forward as best we can. It saddens me to know that we can no longer enjoy the “Villa Paradiso” that you and mom built together. But as mom remembered the other day, you were fond of saying “Nothing ever stays the same.” Of course Kurt…. you are absolutely correct. Now if we can only convince mom of the same thing!

A little help from above would be a wonderful thing about now.

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