B and I took off early on Friday to head to Florence for a "business" trip. We went under the guise of sorting out wedding presents and changing the title on my car, but really we went to hang out with Mom and enjoy being home during the summer.
I love Florence in the summer. The air (though thick and muggy) welcomes you to dive right into the pool headfirst, then head for the bar for a drink or fresh lemonade. Sign me up! Seeing kids "summering" in Birmingham makes me wary-- they're hanging out at the malls and shopping. Our summers were spent playing ball or wearing ourselves out on the lake. Can I go back? If my kids live in Florence, they can have the summer off. If they're in the city, they can get jobs. No lake access, so what else have they got to do?
We celebrated getting the title changed with a trip to Trowbridge's for ice cream, then headed home to unwind before getting dinner at Turtle Point. It was great being home if only to get a glimpse into Mom's world. The rest of us kids got to go back to anonymous living, where people let us (at least outwardly) move on, so we didn't have to be reminded of Dad at every turn. Mom's at home, where the memories are there as well as the well-meaning (and much appreciated!) friends who also miss Dad and want to share their memories with Mom. Grieving, I've decided, is exhausting!
Saturday, I got up early to get a haircut, then got to work with B on tackling the wedding gifts. We broke for lunch, heading to Sweet Basil's with Mom then hanging out at the pool for a few hours before a pasta dinner at Ricatoni's. We came home and watched the wedding video (LOVE! Thanks, Al!), then B and I dove into the wedding gifts, sorting out the keeps from the returns. Some returns are hard to part with, but we comforted ourselves with the knowledge that we will rebuy the items with our credit, it's just that we can't fathom packing and unpacking them multiple times over the next two years (at least five, the be exact).
Sunday we went to church then grabbed lunch at Turtle Point before breaking out the packing tape and boxes to start filing all the gifts away. Two hours later, B and I headed out, a little sweatier (from the lifting) and a little heavier (from the extra boxes in the car), but happier to have done all we could that weekend.
I was happy to have a few tasks this weekend, the first visit home after the funeral. I took comfort in knowing that Dad wouldn't have been up there among the wedding presents with us, but my heart literally ached in church when I realized that the communion table was sitting right where Dad's casket had been only seven weeks earlier. I told B later that Dad would've loved making a joke that he could only be replaced by Jesus himself.
My stomach still knots and tears still come, but I'm glad that home is a welcome and soothing place, one where we can celebrate memories but not drowned in the sorrow of losing them.