Thursday, May 16, 2013
What a week
We started the week getting news from home that Tom’s mom has taken another turn for the worse and at this point the priest has been asked to perform last rights. We are scheduled to go back to the States in May for two weeks and have an exchange of information with Jeanne to see if we should change plans and leave earlier but we finally decided there was little to do and to stick to our original timetable. With one big exception. We are going to squeeze in a trip to Easter Island for 5 days. Easter Island or Isla de Pascua or Rapa Nui as some call it belongs to Chile but is located about 2,500 miles (4,000 kms) off the coast – similar to Hawaii in relation to California. It is well known for the stone statues called “moai” and has been on my personal “bucket list” for a long time. I go online and make reservations for both there and to finalize our trip to the States. I also contact Felipe and let him know our change of plans as he knows of a family who will take care of Winston for us. We give him the update on mom and arrange to meet him on Wednesday for lunch. He is going to say a mass for her and will also tell the Carmelite nuns and his friends at the seminary to include her in their prayers. Tuesday there was no further news from home and we spent the day quietly at the motorhome, giving Winston a couple of long walks on the beach. Our day in Santiago on Wednesday with Felipe was wonderful. We met again at the Cathedral and this time we were able to get plenty of photos of it and the Plaza de Armas. Felipe took us to one of his favorite places to eat, a Peruvian restaurant very close to the plaza. “As long as I don’t get served guinea pig” I told him. Guinea pig is a delicacy of Peru but I really have no compulsion to try it. He assured me that the food is excellent and he won’t eat guinea pig, either. After lunch he drove us to a famous lookout point in Santiago called Cerro San Cristobal. One of the highest points in the city, the views from the top is amazing even though there is a good deal of smog. Felipe told us that after some rain, the smog will clear but right now they are waiting for the rainy season which starts in May. He pointed out the old and now abandoned gondola cable that used to carry people up the mountain. Now the only way to get to the top is drive some of the way and walk the steep steps to the summit. I can only say that both Tom and I were quite out of breath by the time we made it to the very top. At the summit there is a sanctuary, chapel and statue dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The snow white marble statue is about 45 feet tall (14meters) which sits on a pedestal of about 26 feet (8 meters). At night it is lit up by lights on all sides and it can be seen all over Santiago. It is here that Pope John Paul II said mass and blessed the city of Santiago during his visit in 1984. Now every December 11th, there is a pilgrimage to the top and the statue and mass is said. Felipe told us that on that day it is packed with people. Today, it is quiet and I spend a few minutes in the chapel praying for my mother-in-law. Felipe sits quietly to one side until I am ready to leave. From here, Felipe will leave us close to a known shopping area and the metro station that will get us to our bus. As it is getting late, we browse a few shops but want to get back so Winston is not left too long alone. Thursday Tom left to check our emails and when he returned, his face told me the news we had been waiting for but secretly dreaded. His mom had passed away, yesterday. His sister Jeanne had been with her, holding her hand and she said at some point she realized a change and that mom was no longer breathing. It was very peaceful and she had never been in any pain. The woman was almost 92 and until November had maintained great health and had lived alone. She had had a long and wonderful life and knew that she was loved by us all. She will be missed but we honor her long life. Tom’s sister is amazing. She is taking care of all the details including one we had not thought of. She has spoken with the priests and funeral home and the funeral will not be held until May 13th, almost 3 and a half weeks from now giving everyone time to schedule and fly in without rushing and panicking. Following the funeral will be a “Celebration of Life” lunch. We immediately go to the nearby internet office and send emails. To our children, close friends and family members. There is sadness but we know mom is in a good place now and that is a comfort to us. In a way we wish we had not made the plans for Easter Island but the family told us to go and have fun in mom’s memory. Jeanne reminded us that she had supported our trip and had so much enjoyed listening to Jeanne read her our blogs and show her on Google maps exactly where we are. Although the technology dumbfounded her, she loved to Skype and see and hear us talk about our adventures. We leave on Sunday for Easter Island and we will dedicate that part of our trip to her and her life. Love you, Mom. Jeanne Patricia Conry, born July 28th 1921, passed on April 17th, 2013.