I took an unexpected hiatus. You see, Frank's dad hasn't been well for sometime. He's suffered from early on-set dementia for several years. He's aggressively declined in the past three years. Then, right before Thanksgiving, he continued to decline at a rapid pace. Unfortunately, January 4 cardiac arrest struck, paramedics were able to revive him but he was unable to breath on his own. Thankfully, I was able to get Frank on one of the last flights before all were grounded to Midway due to the snow and artic blast that hit the Midwest. The following days were heart wrenching. I flew to Chicago via the Twin Cities on January 8. My flight departed at 10:20am. His dad, Frank Jr. passed away only a few minutes later. I learned of the news via text while taxiing to the gate. My heart ached for Frank, I hated that I wasn't available for my husband in such a time of need. I sobbed for his loss. Frank Jr. was only 59, that is much too soon to lose a father... a husband... a brother... However, at last, he found peace. He was no longer void of memories and familiar faces. I know he will live on through us, when we recall special memories and fun times had fishing, playing cards, bowling, betting on the ponies and winning jackpots in Vegas.
That layover and flight was only a few hours but it felt like days before I was reunited with Frank. We stayed for a week to make arrangements and attend services. It was a nice farewell and celebration of life. Frank gave an excellent eulogy. I have no doubt his dad was quite proud. We braved the cold. The mercury had risen to -8 by the time I arrived, it was bitterly cold. Colder than I've felt in a decade, more snow too. However, it was a heat wave compared to the -44 that Frank endured a couple days earlier. He's never felt cold that cold before. He hopes to never again.
No one would chose to see loved ones under such circumstances, but often it does take death to bring everyone together. I suppose life just gets in the way, like it often does.
Just a post ago, I anticipated all that this year would bring. I didn't expect grief to hit so soon, but life is about the unexpected. It's up to us to make the plans in between. It also serves as a reminder you never know what day will be your last, and reinforces that one must make the most of every day.