When Sweetie's sister. Mary, visited from Utah in June, we drove up to see his brother, Fred, who had been moved into nursing care in Aurora, IL (outside of Chicago). Fred was 92 and we knew he wasn't going to be around much longer as he had been suffering from Parkinson's for years. I am so glad we did visit because Fred passed away July 30th.
Sweetie and I drove up to the Chicago area (a 6 hour drive) on Thursday of this past week. We checked into the Plainfield Inn in Plainfield, IL (just outside of Naperville, where the visitation and funeral would be held), changed clothes and went right to the visitation for family (3 - 4 pm and then open visitation 4 - 8 pm). It made for a very tiring day, but we got to see all of Fred and Shirley's boys (8) and girl (1, Junie) and their children and their grandchildren. Much visiting and catching up was done with all of Sweetie's nieces and nephews from his 2 oldest siblings (Fred - 92, and Peggy - 90).
The following day, visitation again from 12 - 1 pm and then the funeral service from 1 - 2 pm (2 of the boys talked about their Dad and it was wonderful to hear, then the minister gave his talk). Then the drive to the cemetery, where Fred was laid to rest. The most heartwrenching part was when his grandson, Nathan, in full Navy dress uniform, presented the folded flag to Shirley. Then a long drive to the community center for food and more visiting with the extended Carpenter family. Another long, tiring day, but that's what these things become for all the survivors.
Fred and Shirley met through mutual friends and began corresponding - then Fred's sister, Peggy, brought Shirley to California (where Fred was stationed in the Navy) to visit him and they married soon after. Peggy, her husband, Zeke (a Navy buddy of Fred's who was introduced to Peggy while on leave), Fred and Shirley all moved to the Naperville/Downer's Grove area outside of Chicago and lived their all their lives. What lives they have lived and what changed they have seen in their 90+ years. Fred was always such a sweet man and I am so glad that the last memory I have of him is from our visit in June where he looked up at me from his wheelchair and his face lit up with a big smile as I bent down to kiss him goodbye.
Saturday morning we checked out of the Plainfield Inn (a very nice place that is just 3 room suites above the family's living quarters - an historic home that's been totally restored and upgraded and well worth a stay if you are in the area). We drove over to Downer's Grove to visit Peggy (Sweetie's oldest sister - she is 90) and her son, Michael (who lives with her and takes care of her). Then on the road again.
After many hours of driving and many hours standing and visiting and talking, we are both tired but glad we went.
Once home and unpacked and settled, we caught up on some of the Coupe Rogers (Montreal) tennis matches I had taped. And this week starts the Western Southern Open just 45 minutes north of us (in Mason, OH). And we get to see a live match on Saturday!!! So far, Roger Federer is still wowing everyone and all the other top 5 players are out with injuries or just losing to young bloods. Go, Roger!!! 36 years old and still going strong. Hope we get to see him this week in Mason, OH.
Oh, and for those still wondering, Sweetie still is keeping alive the tadpoles slowing turning to froglets. We have had NO rain for weeks so we are waiting for a good, long, soaking rain and then will turn them loose in the trees around the pool and woods behind our neighbors house and we'll repopulate the area with tree frogs for next year :) It's quite a process and ongoing, apparently, until the very last little tadpole decides to turn and be loosed :)