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The light of day was dimming as the stretch of highway named for early colonial settlers in New England drew to a close. Two miles shy of that end, with Hartford enveloping the road, the big green signs above switched to the next control point.


Home was getting close, finally.

The drive was long, as it always was. There were many stories from previous trips along that journey, and I shared some as we drove. One took place a few weeks after driving my then-spouse, siblings, and grandparents to Vermont for my aunt's wedding.

On that particular Sunday, I was returning home after visiting friends in Cambridge. As our path in the opposite direction along the same interstate that day drew near its end, the voicemail indicator flickered to life on my phone. I listened.

My mother's voice addressed me by name before continuing, "It's your mother. Call me." I turned to my spouse as I ended the call and told her, "My grandfather died."

A discussion ensued before I returned the contact, one which included speculation that my grandmother on the other side of the family had passed. But when I did call, my brother answered the phone. "Pap died," he said, before telling me where the viewing would be in the morning.

We slept that night, and the next morning after I told my colleagues I would miss the subsequent several days, we went to the funeral home. As I walked in, my father was waiting in the back of the sitting room. "My mother died last night," he shared as he greeted me.

We wondered at the time how my newly-widowed grandmother would fare. It was only a little surprising that we found ourselves now about 15 years later to have her still with us, but my father had shared mere hours earlier that her health had taken a downturn.

So it was little surprise when just 2 days later I heard that she was not expected to make it through the night, and shortly thereafter that she had passed.

I looked at air travel, knowing I did not have another 19 hours driving in me -- especially alone. On such short notice, the cost was steep. With heavy heart, I resolved to visit the gravesite on a future visit. At last, though, I knew I'd have one less burden on my mind each time I traveled the course between Pittsburgh and Boston: I had no more grandparents to lose.


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May 2017

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