I don't post serious stuff here very often. I apologize, and will get back to sheepishly posting memes and metoos someday.

My stepfather, Mike, died on the 1st. It was the type of thing that one would have to suspend disbelief for in fiction; a musician flies halfway around the world on vacation and dies while touring the Sydney Opera House. His heart was strong, yet he had a heart attack, brought on by a blockage in his arteries.

As in life, also in death; it was the most inconvenient time and place possible for him to do something. Over 8,000 miles from home, his wife, my mother, had to deal with not only the stress of losing him, but the stress of losing him while being well away from her friends and family.

Which is where the internet came into play. I will never again say an unkind thing about Microsoft, in particular Windows Live Messenger or whatever it is called this week; she used Mike's laptop (taken under protest because they had fancy binoculars that could store an amazing *20* pictures before they needed to be downloaded to a computer) to stay in contact with people that first day, and once we got her settled with people rather than at a hotel, she used their computer to stay in touch. The family quickly got used to calculating the time difference (add 3 hours and swap AM for PM, so 12 noon in Texas is 3AM in Sydney)so that we could keep schedules straight, and we all kept our messenger windows open so that we could be contacted or contacting at any time of day or night. Mom and I did voice occasionally, but for the most part it was conference mode with her, her sisters, a friend, and myself. From that, we were able to send comfort and love pretty much directly and give her a lifeline.

Which is not to say the next eleven days were easy. That's how long it took before Mom was able to fly back with the remains. Mike was cremated there, which made shipping relatively easy... though I admit it was odd to have him sitting on the desk in the computer room for a day until we gave the remains to one of the church elders.

The memorial service was Friday, and the church was just absolutely packed. It's designed to have 200 people in the pews, give or take, and we had 288 in attendance, which doesn't count a good hundred that would have been there if they could. And then they put his ashes in the columbarium in the little chapel, and now we begin the work of moving on.


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