Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Back Home from Philadelphia

We arrived back in Ajijic last night from our trip north to gather with our family and celebrate the life of my dad. Wendy and Cassie took the bus down from Maine to join us. Here they are with Pixie after we came back from interring Dad's ashes in the cemetery on Sunday.

The memorial service on Saturday was attended by about 200 people, including former patients of Dad's, doctors and staff from the Scheie Eye Institute at the University of Pennsylvania where Dad had been an Emeritus Professor of Ophthalmology, painting friends from Maine, fellow members of their book club, and, of course, friends and family. It was held in a beautiful hall at the American College of Physicians in Philadelphia.

I have two brothers, Brackley and Fred, and two step sisters, Beth and Joanne. I read a poem which had appeared in my first volume of poems which I had dedicated to Dad. All the children spoke, and it was very moving. Here are photos of me with my two brothers, from left, Brackley and Fred.

One of the nicest parts of the weekend was being able to get together with members of Joy's family for an extended period of time. Here are photos of Joy's daughters, Beth with her husband Brian, and Joanne with her husband, Brent.

We children spoke at the memorial service. On Sunday we went to the cemetery to inter the ashes in a memorial wall. There, each of the grandchildren spoke eloquently; there were no dry eyes there. Here are two photos of the grandchildren at the luncheon we had after the interment: In the top photo (sitting) Beth's son Mark, Kelly (Eric's girlfriend), Joanne's son Eric, Brackley's daughter, Ariana, (standing) Pixie, Fred's son Alex, and Joanne's daughter Alissa.

And below, Wendy, Cassie, Beth's daughter Melissa, Beth's son Matt with his girlfriend, Stephanie, and Mark again.

My cousins Lee, Sally, and Jim (Dad's sister Mary's children), and Rod (Dad's other sister Alice's son) all came for the service. Rod stayed for two days, and he is the only one I took a photo of:

And finally, my stepmom, Joy. She will now be living alone, without Dad. She was great all weekend, arranged for food so we could all concentrate on spending time with each other. We will stop to visit her in Philadelphia as we make our way back to Maine in March:

So, now we're back, and we need to continue our preparations to head north starting the first week in March. I'll be posting while we're here and on our trip until we arrive and get settled in Maine.

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