I packed a small gift for Junior. For my birthday I'd asked my husband if Cathey was up to it, for one last stitch in, it would require about 6 hours of driving each way and it probably wouldn't be long but if she was up for it, it would be worth it. The next week when I called to see how she was doing, I knew in my heart that this would be one of our last conversations, so I started gathering items for a stitching night in a box...flat Katie, Faith Ann and Shannon, Cadbury Screme Eggs (which slowed the process down considerably) and was about to send this off with Junior's little present when things went down hill fast :/ I tried to send a PFO to cancer, and it beat me. I made him this little hat and I found the perfect (IMO) book for him, The Search for the Pink Pumpkin:
We travelled to Halifax for the first leg of the trip. While I have faith, sometimes I struggle with the logics. There were just so many things that reminded me of Cathey on the trip down that something bigger was letting me know things were alright. The moment we turned on the radio Nickelback's photograph was on, one of the songs from the Pumpkin's Retreat Mix CD that I know is somewhere in the craft room, it has a little more meaning now. Of course it's that time of year where everything is either pink ribbon or pumpkins but seriously...as soon as we took the exit to our hotel this was waiting at the end of the off ramp:
This has been a reminder to my DH and me that life is short, so we packed as much activity as we could, on a holiday after 5 pm as we could in Halifax. We dined at Jack Astor's (something that has yet to expand to our province), we were there once before on vacation and it was a must for this trip. We then got adventurous and went downtown Halifax. By the time we made it down there it was too dark to go for a walk, so we headed to the Casino for the first time in our lives. Shocker...we were carded. This was AWESOME! My DH turned 40 this year...the bouncer thought we must be the 'yogurt eating type'. We played 5$ in slots each and left. I've played many a video game in my younger years but the games there had me boggled. Then, another first...my first IMAX 3D movie. I missed out the last time we were down as Lily was too young to go. 'Gravity' was definitely a completely different experience in that theatre! After a busy night, we crashed pretty much after getting back to our accommodations.
Tuesday was just purely emotional. The fun was over. I was so worried we would get lost trying to find the church as well. I walked into the church and looked up and there was the side profile picture that I'd put on my blog. In my emotional state I couldn't figure out how it had gotten there, I'd recently acquired it myself from another one of my bridesmaids. There was a beautiful honor guard display by Cathey's DH's fellow employees. The service itself was pure Cathey, it was full of heartfelt tributes from her father, husband and even Junior helped out. Towards the end the minister shared a lovely poem that he started to ramble a little too much about, I was digging for my last tissue and the next thing you know, Junior up ends the overhead. I swear his mother had a hand in this somehow! When it was confirmed he was ok, I cracked the first smile I've had since I got that fateful call last week.
DH and I then headed on the long trip home. We made a pit stop in Moncton to go to one of Cathey and my old haunts, Elite Framing. I had a canvas piece I wouldn't trust anyone in this city with. We made it there with about 20 minutes until closing and it surprisingly took 5! It never took that short a time. I think when The Quiltmaker was framed, we were there for almost 2 hours! DH and I had one last kid free dinner (something that rarely happens here) and then headed back to Fredericton. I'm still adjusting to the new norm, but every day gets a little less foggy.