I traveled to Colorado last week for a mini memorial, celebration on what would have been Gary's 73rd birthday. His former caregiver, Carmen, who came up from San Diego to go with me helped with most of the driving as it was a long trip. We didn't make it all the way through NM without a stop, but nobody insisted we have to quarantine for 14 days (even though the signs along highway in Albuquerque were stating that all visitors must quarantine). We weren't really visitors there, just passing through - only stopped for gas and a sleepover along the way and always wore our masks outside of the car.
On Tuesday, the 7th of July, we took flowers to the grave site and placed them in the vase provided with headstone, which was at the site, but not yet fully set in the ground. We met a few long time friends (over 40 years each) at the cemetery and sang Happy Birthday (in Heaven) to Gary, then headed to local restaurant for a lunch with them.
Wednesday, the 8th of July, we headed to the cemetery to meet up with about 10 family members and another former caregiver of Gary's. I had scheduled that meeting for an hour later and it was already getting up in the 90s in the area, so we tried to keep it short. Our oldest son, Vince, brought a huge American flag to put in ground above the headstone and cued up TAPS on his car stereo to give his Dad the proper military honors. We gathered, with masks on, in a semi-circle and had each person give a short memory of Gary, as a brother, a Godfather, a Dad, a patient, and a husband, his sister read a beautiful poem, and I ended with a reading of the poem "Remember Me." Then Gary's former caregiver in Colorado, Red, started us off in singing Happy Birthday to Gary. It was a small group: a brother and sister, two Godchildren, two former caregivers, our oldest son, two grandchildren and their significant others and myself. We headed to lunch at Perkins after the gathering and then back to hotel.
Carmen and I were up and out on the road by 5:15 a.m. the next morning and drove straight through to home in Arizona. It was a long day and we finally got home around 10:15 that night. Dogs are happy to have me back home, and I'm staying in for at least the next three weeks after hearing how the COVID-19 cases are still spiking in AZ. It's up over 110 all week, so better inside with AC than outside sweltering. I might hit the pool at night or early morning, but even the dogs don't want to go out in this heat.