Today is Veeka’s last day at St. Matthew’s, the pre-K and kindergarten school that has been her home since we moved here three years ago this month. It has been one of the bright spots in our sojourn in Maryland, especially after Veeka left last fall to try another school that did not work out. She and I returned to St. Matthew’s in late January to reculer pour mieux sauter, as the French would say. Which means to pull back so one can advance again. Today is the good-bye pizza party. What she’s doing in the photo is painting a paper mache globe that’s currently hanging from our porch. She will very much miss all her teachers, who have really stuck with her through lots of ups and downs. She will also miss the little brown bunny in the hallway cage who is always hungry to be petted.
The second farewell is to Rob Andrea, 27, an awfully nice guy I met while staying with his parents in Blacketts Lake at the eastern end of Nova Scotia. Rob had endured two bouts of cancer but he’d beaten it all. However, he’d found it necessary to adopt a super-organic diet so much of our conversation was about all the cool vegan recipes we were trying. When a mutual friend asked about us staying there, apparently it was Rob who urged his family to host us, as he wanted to meet a live author whose books he’d read. And we got some good conversations in while there although he was tired much of the time, from just having come off chemo, I thought.
Maybe it was something else. About a week after we left, his health took a dramatic turn for the worse when his heart gave out. He died Aug. 1. His dad wrote me to say 1,500 people attended his funeral at which six pastors presided. He left behind a wife and two small sons, one of which Veeka got to play with. The other was almost a newborn. They were so happy, after all that chemo, to even conceive a second child who unfortunately will never remember his dad. Man knows not his time. What a heartbreaker for the folks he left behind.
The third farewell (I am adding this a few days later) is to Mary Smith, a sweet woman living in St. Stephen’s, New Brunswick. We stayed with her and her husband Bob the night of July 22. She was not well then. She died last night (Aug. 22), exactly one month later. I am sure glad we got to Canada when we did, for who would have dreamed….