New Brunswick, 2013

My aunt and godmother had broken her leg and wasn't recovering well from it. My dad flew out from BC to be with her and his other siblings the Saturday before, and she passed away on the Sunday. The funeral was set for the Friday morning and I was able to find a plane ticket that allowed me to be in Shippagan for the funeral, then drive back to Saint John with my dad and his sisters and leave from there around the time he was flying back. That would also let me visit with the aunt and uncle who couldn't travel for Lilian's funeral.

Link to family photos (not in a gallery yet though).

Thursday October 10, 2013

I had bad travel luck in the morning, misjudging the time it would take me to walk down the hill to Union Sq: the CT2 was pulling away from the stop as I got a block away. I took a chance and ran up to it stopped in traffic but the driver wouldn't let me in. I started to walk back up to Highland to take the 88 to Lechemere but then decided to check where the other buses went from the CT2 stop. There was one that would go down to Central Sq in 10 minutes, so I decided to wait for it. There I transferred to the 1 and walked from Mass Ave over to work. I was later getting in than I wished, and a bit distracted, so worked on simple stuff. This trip I did the sensible thing and caught the 55 to the Green line to the Blue to the airport shuttle and was at the airport in lots of time for my flight at 3:35pm.

No problems with this leg of the journey and soon we were flying above the changing leaves near Mt Washington and then Lake Champlain before swinging around to follow the St. Laurence and land in Montreal. Nexus card to the rescue again, though the lines weren't that long. I walked under a tunnel to my departure gate to suss out where it was then found out that the Maple Leaf lounge (I'd bought a pass) was back at gate 3. Went back and got in and was chuffed to see that the free food was enough to make a supper and there was free Scotch. Ate first and then poured myself an ounce and settled in an armchair to pass the time until I had to walk back through the tunnel and board. For some reason the wifi network in YUL updated the time on my phone, so I could get/send email and see certificated web sites - turned out to be the last time that worked until I got back to YUL. I was starting to sniffle more and more and developed a low grade sinus infection that lasted through the whole trip.

The plane to Bathurst was smaller (10 rows x 4 seats), I had to put my bag under my seat when it wouldn't let the overhead bin close. I was expecting a 2 hour+ flight but forgot about the time difference so I was surprised at the hour mark when the "beginning our descent" announcement came. I think I realised at about that time that I'd also given my dad the wrong arrival time when I'd texted him (I *always* mess up 24 hour time for 10pm and want to say that it's 2000). Luckily he'd found a Tim Horton's and hung out there before heading back to the tiny airport. It was about an hour drive along dark 2 lane highways to get to Shippagan. I hadn't looked up directions and didn't know where we had to turn so I was no help navigating and we ended up almost missing two turns. Aunts Rose and Rita stayed up to say hi, fed me cereal, and made sure I was going to be warm enough in the downstairs guest bedroom (former Mrs Robichaud room). It was kind of nice to be fussed over, it's very rare that I have two aunts in the same place at the same time. I took a much needed hot shower and hung up my clothes for the next day, and was asleep at around 1am.

Friday October 11, 2013

I woke up at 8 when the phone rang, but got up at 9 I think. I made myself scrambled eggs and toast with tea and OJ. I helped dry dishes after I was dressed (I think I ended up being the only one dressed all in black, goths have too many clothes choices for funerals I guess). Dad drove us to Shoppers so that I could get more sinus medication, and I also got allergy pills and lotion tissues as well as travel packs. From there we went straight to the funeral home. They had chairs set up near the front for the family, Dad led us there. I got introduced to lots of Jules' relatives, as well as old friends of Dad (he lived with Lilianne and Jules when he was in high school). I had to dash and have a cry in the bathroom at one point. Lilianne looked very thin in the face. :-( I also met another of her goddaughters, apparently there are 5 of us altogether. A few English only speakers made a point of taking time to talk to me, though I followed the French conversations fairly well unless people talked too fast.

Just before noon the funeral director said prayers, and cleared the room for the family to say goodbye (Ann was breaking up saying goodbye to her mother, and Jules stood for a bit looking at Lilianne before they closed up the coffin, it was all hard to see), then the coffin was carried out to the hearse. Jules and Ann came in Jules' car with Dad driving, me in the back. We were at the front of the procession to the church. Once we were directed to a parking spot, the funeral director came over to tell us to not get out yet, wait until they were ready to carry out the coffin. We followed it into the church where it was transferred to a wheeled thing, draped, then wheeled to the front of the centre aisle. The service pretty short, it seemed like a regular mass with readings and a speech about her life given by her nephew (via Jules, it was nice to hear him say Tante Lilianne a lot). The whole thing was all in French, I got most of it. Jules was looking fragile but stood and sat and kneeled with the rest of us (he's prone to fainting, I was right behind and keeping an eye on him with hands ready to catch if he swayed back too much). I blotted away a few more tears. We had a slow exit after the coffin was taken away, lots of people were wanting to talk to the family. One woman's mother died that morning in hospice, at 102 years old.

Dad drove us to the golden age club for the reception, I sat across from him at the family table, with Rita, Rose, Jules, and Ann. The family got to visit the buffet table first, though by that point most everyone there was family (Jules had a large family as well) and the line quickly grew. :-) I stuck to chicken and salads, and dessert was mostly gone when I went back up to look (I mistakenly tried a banana cake, and a small piece of a coconut heavy chocolate square, and then gave up as I didn't like those ingredients). As we were finishing up, a lady came to say goodbye and said that she'd gone to school with my dad. I joked that it was too late to hear stories at that point, and she replied that he was very down to earth and she was a little in love with him. I had to laugh, but was a tiny bit shocked that she said that to her former crush's daughter. My nose was running a lot, I had 2 servings of strong milky sweet tea, and also got some for Rita after she was settled into her seat. I was pretty content to just be la fille a Laurie and try to be strong for him, as well as saying goodbye to my aunt and godmother.

We had a slow exit from the reception as well, lots of people to bid goodbye as we were heading back to Saint John that afternoon (Dad, Rita and Rose had been there since Saturday). We dropped Ann at the parlour to get her car, then took Jules to his home (going up for sale soon as he's moving into an assisted living home now) where people gathered. One guy (another cousin on Jules' side) was taking pictures to remember the place. I asked to take a picture of Ann and Jules and it turned into a family portrait in the salon, need to link the picture I took on my last visit and this one for comparison.

We said our goodbyes and were on the road just before 3:30pm, and made it to St John at 9:30. At one missed turn/driver switch we took advantage of turning around to pop into a Tim Horton's for tea and a blueberry fritter, and I was completely unable to get online via their wifi. We had had one more almost missed turn, then I stopped napping and tried to navigate more. :-) We agreed to try Big Stop Silver Fox restaurant for supper, I settled on chicken stir fry and a very fluffy lemon meringue pie for dessert, giving away a small slice to Rita. The restaurant was cold, I kept my suit jacket on. It was getting chilly outside as well, though they used a handicap placard to get a close in parking spot. Rita and Dad did the triangle peg game while waiting for food, realised I'd forgotten anything I learned about having one as a kid. I was a pretty fast drive from there to Rita's, Emery was waiting for us. We made up beds in the basement, had lots of water since I was feeling dehydrated, checked email on Rita's computer, took a shower and was in bed around 11, totally and utterly worn out. I think I was running on nerves and tension by the end of the night.

Saturday October 12, 2013

I woke at about 8:30, but got up just after 9am, sleeping in was much appreciated as my sinuses were still giving me problems, though they'd calm down for the first three hours after I took a pill. I had oatmeal raisin crisp cereal again with big delicious strawberries for breakfast, then settled in the living room to read while we waited for Rose to finish her errands and stop by. We made salmon sandwiches for lunch, and had a slice of the blueberry pie that Emery had offered us the night before. We were staggered, eating as we got hungry. Read some more in the nice comfy arm chair, but was getting antsy, so Dad and I went for a walk. I wore my pashmina and hat but ended up warm enough to be shedding them halfway through - it was warm in the sun, cool in the shade, a nice fall day. We walked left out of the subdivision and along the road past the high school and community college, but didn't notice the church that Rita asked about when we got back. It was supposed to be a dead end but since we wanted to be back at 2:30, we turned around before we found the end. Rose arrived soon after we got back and drove us to the residence to visit Sister Therese (her fellow nuns are super sweet as are the women taking care of them). She used her walker to the salon across from chapel, and we closed the doors so that we could talk without disturbing prayers. I ran back to get my purse and the funeral card therein and my camera, Rose ran back to get Sister Therese a new hearing aide battery that dad helped put in. She can still hear pretty well but the aide let us not speak too loud. I followed the French okay. She's aging, as are they all, and took her wheelchair back to her room. I'll write her again. We also took pictures, my new camera dealt fairly well with the back lighting and shadows. Dad called Mom to give her an update and I talked to her for a bit. From there we went over to Rose and Francois's apartment to visit him, he had a cold so despite wanting to join us for church and dinner,a coughing fit made him decide to stay home. Learned of some new ailments that he's developed and Rose showed us a picture of his face from after a fall - at a certain age it becomes a full time job to stay alive/healthy. :-(

Rose dropped us off at the house to go and pick up her friend, and Rita and Emery drove us to church. Lilianne was mentioned during service (all in French, with the priest's mic fading in and out so I missed more than usual) and friends expressed condolences at the end (we were the last ones out). Rose dropped off her friend and met us at the Reversing Falls restaurant just before the sun set and the view changed to just twinkling city lights. We got a table for 5 at the far end of the restaurant, where a couple of flies pestered us (I got one). I had a seafood casserole with lots o' cheese, and gave into temptation to have the nutty sundae and mint tea for dessert. Dad managed to keep his lobster under control. Service was a bit slow, and the side veggies all cold, Emery was not impressed with that or the salty soup, but I enjoyed the meal. We were home just before 10, I took a shower and went to sleep soon after, worn out from my cold and being chilly inside a lot today despite my pashmina. Rose is driving us to the airport at 9:30am, Rita to come along for return company. 10:40am boarding time.

Sunday October 13, 2013

I woke up at 5 am and took another sinus pill, but still found it hard to fall asleep again, tossing and turning and staring at the ceiling for a while. I must have dozed off again because I jolted awake with the alarm on my phone at 8. I stripped the sheets from the bed, packed, changed and went up for breakfast. Made 2 cup of tea in the Pyrex cup again, and also had cereal with strawberries, and a small glass of juice. I used Rita's computer to check that my flight was on time, and also saw that the game I was supposed to go that afternoon had been cancelled, so I could look forward to heading straight home and collapsing in bed. Rose arrived at the house to pick us up and we left at 9:30 to head to the airport. It was a sunny chilly day, most of the leaves had dropped but there were some flashes of yellow from trees lining the roads. It was about a half an hour drive, very little traffic at that time of the day. As I was warned, it was a very tiny airport, with nothing in the secure lounge. We settled at a table by the cafe and I got everyone coffee (tea for me), using the K cup machine and a metered sugar dispenser (aka much harder than it had to be). I was starting to get nervous (as usual when anticipating a flight) and went through security before my flight was called to beat the rush. They have a scanner but were only using the metal detector. Turns out that there's only one departure gate (gate 2 was for arrivals, I think), and the wifi hotspot was not working well for me (my phone browser kept not finishing loading pages). Have a short transfer in Montreal, Nexus will come in handy.

It was a short flight again, though I finished my book and ended up napping the rest of the way to Montreal. Approaching our destination we came in under the clouds and then the plane looped way around to the west before landing in Montreal. I had a long hike to get to gate 81, with customs and immigration coming as a bit of a surprise after I thought my route bypassed it and I would have to do it in Boston. Nexus to the rescue though the lines weren't long, Sunday afternoon is a good time to fly on a long weekend. I got a jerk chicken wrap from Second Cup and ate half of it at gate 81 before logging in to double check my flight - it had moved next door to gate 83, the gate change announcement came as they began boarding. I caught up on a bit of email and FB during the short wait to board. Read the Enroute magazine on the way to Boston since I was all napped out, and it lasted just the right amount of time. I took the shuttle bus to the Blue line to Green to Lechemere and had a bit of a wait for the bus, but worth it for getting dropped of 2 blocks from home. I read and rested and snacked for a bit before running out to do grocery shopping, then ate leftovers for dinner anyway. Flying with the sinus thing wasn't too bad (no pressure pain on descent this time, yay!), but I was worn all the way out by the time I got home.

Back to my diary page.