Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Back Seat Driver by Vonnie Davis #traveling #headingsouth #4thofJuly

For once I'm writing my post a week early. By the time you read this I'll be along a lake in Santee, SC with Mike, Tina, and Ryan at Tina's parents' house. Ron and Debbie are such great hosts, I know I'll have a wonderful time.

This Saturday, as I write this, will be a Celebration of Life for Calvin. Kelly and Katrin are flying in from Berlin and also riding along with Mike to the lake house, as Ron and Debbie call it. Calvin's niece is flying in from Rhode Island today. My children and their families will arrive Friday and Saturday morning.

All the grandchildren are taking part. Eleni and Josh are reading two of Calvin's favorite passages from the Bible, Lauren is singing "Amazing Grace," Gavin is reading the opening scene of  "Macbeth." In fact, he claims to have it memorized and will rock the three witches. I have no doubt. Ryan is playing "La Vie en Rose" on his trumpet. He'd learned Louis Armstrong's version for Calvin and played it for him a couple years ago on one of our trips to Mike's house. Calvin had been so touched Ryan had taken the initiative and time to memorize the song. His niece, Nancy, will share his favorite passages from "Romeo and Juliet" and "Julius Caesar." There will be an open mic time for sharing of memories. It'll be a relaxed service, one Calvin would have enjoyed.

One thing about cremation is that you can plan your service to fit everyone's schedule. Mozilla/Firefox had Kelly scheduled for three big trips of two weeks each to introduce and teach new products he's developed for them. So he's had two weeks in Portland and a week back home in Berlin. Two weeks in San Francisco with a return flight to Berlin, followed by two weeks in Boston and, of course back home to Berlin. He and I decided he needed a bit of time out of the airplane, so we scheduled Calvin's service for June 30th.

Knowing how hard the service will be for me, Mike decided he'd whisk me away to South Carolina for the week of the 4th--and Kelly and Katrin, too. He says he can have us there in five hours.

But at WHAT speed?

I have been known to freak out while he's flying on asphalt. When I screech "Michael!" from the back seat,  he calmly replies with "Close your eyes, Mom." I've always felt that was polite speak for "close your mouth." I'm no dummy. I listen...even as my palms bear the imprint of my fingernails.

The laptop and charger will be packed. I need to do some editing while I sit on the dock. Writing happens everywhere, doesn't it?

At the end of July, I'm flying to Paris to spread some of Calvin's ashes in front of the apartment building he lived in his year over there. Kelly is flying to meet me so we can do it together. That was one of Calvin's last requests. "Sprinkle some of me in front of 21 rue Galande."

I'm hoping all of this will bring some closure. Sleeping lately has been hard. I can't seem to turn off my mind. I'm a woman who deeply misses her other half. And I suppose that's as it should be. Life goes on; memories remain.


*** Imagine the tears of shock and delight when I saw the gorgeous vase of red, yellow, and pink roses at Calvin's service from the Roses of Prose. I was so deeply touched. Thank you.


Leah St. James said...

Vonnie - It sounds like a lovely, lovely service and truly a celebration of a wonderful man. You were so smart to plan something for a time more convenient for everyone. I hope by now you've had a couple days of relaxation (and family love) in South Carolina. It has to be so hard to move on after a loss like this. I'm so glad the roses arrived on time for the service and helped to let you know how much we are grieving for you. Take care of yourself. Take time to heal.

Jannine Gallant said...

It sounds like you planned a wonderful tribute to a very special man. Enjoy your family time, Vonnie. BTW, I'm a backseat driver, too!

Alison Henderson said...

The service sounds perfectly personal. That's another benefit of having some time to plan--you can put together a truly memorial ceremony. I hope you're enjoying a peaceful time at the lake.

Rolynn Anderson said...

Oh, the places you will go! I'm thrilled Calvin made it mandatory for you to return to Paris...so glad Kelly will be your sidekick. Glad you're being whisked away for the 4th, too. (and I'm the worst passenger in the world, especially in the car....so i understand the fingernails in the palms thing).

The celebration was perfect...all those who attended must have felt Calvin's approval. Your rose buds were there in spirit (in flower). May family and friends continue to give you strength as you move through the days without sweet Calvin at your side.

Andrea Downing said...

Sounds like you had the perfect service and the perfect plan for after, plus something to really look forward to. I'm imagining a story will come out of spreading ashes in front of a Parisian apt. building! I hope you find healing in the days to come.

Margo Hoornstra said...

Oh, Vonnie. So glad you have the love and support of family. The service sounds absolutely perfect. I too hope you are enjoying some 'down' time now. (Writing and editing happily included ;-) And, I'm another backseat/frontseat 'driver' who has also been told to simply 'close my, um, eyes. I also bow my head.

Angela Adams said...

What a very special trip you'll have for a very special man.

Alicia Dean said...

Awwww, this brought me to tears. Calvin is definitely worth missing. You'll miss him always. Ha, I understand your fear, that sounds a little dicey! What wonderful travels you have going on. Paris, wow...that will be very special. You're so welcome for the flowers. Love you!

Diane Burton said...

A beautiful service for a beautiful man. Your family is looking our for you. I'm sure you're enjoying the SC beach. Paris will be lovely and having Kelly with you will make the trip even more memorable. Your fellow Roses are here to support you, too. Hugs.