Transition time again
The trip entailed a day in Tracey's arm fjord, and then stops in Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan. The weather was just great, above 68 degrees each day and blue skies. The captain and crew kept saying how lucky we were with the weather and boy was it true. We went dog sledding, whale watching, saw glaciers, bears and so much more. All of our dreams came true and we got to see everything we had hoped for.
Then July 25th happened. It was our day at sea before we returned to Vancouver. Because it was a day at sea we were lounging in the room before going to breakfast and the phone rang. It was around 9:40 I think, and Ben answered the phone. I knew immediately it wasn't someone from my family with how Ben looked and reacted. So I then thought it must be the staff calling about the odor in our room. They had called quite a few times to check on it so I assumed it was them again. Ben told Arnie it was for him.
Not even 15 seconds into the conversation Arnie said "it's Disney there is some sort of family emergency." Apparently it was Disney cruise staff. They then connected him to Disney stateside and they said his father would be on the line. I misunderstood at first and thought he meant somethin was wrong with his dad, but he realized this and said his father would be on the phone. He finally got connected to his dad and was quiet for what seemed like an eternity, so I was asking him constantly what is wrong and heard words you hope you never here "my mother died."
This was like being hit by a freight train. We had spoken to his mom and dad the night before (THANK YOU GOD) and she was perfectly fine. My mind is now racing thinking how...was there an accident of some sort. Arnie is listening intently and at the end had to ask his dad to explain it again. That is how confused we are, truly dazed and in shock. It ended up my mother-in-law went in for a minor biospy procedure and had a heart attack at the end of it and they were not able to save her.
This is the second "sudden" death I have experienced in my life. The first was my best friends dad, the summer before Freshman year of college. It was devastating, I can still hear Joanie's voice on the phone. I can only imagine Arnie will feel haunted by that phone call for years to come. We of course wanted to immediately be with Arnie's dad in Detroit and now felt trapped on this ship. What a devastating day.
I was so thankful that I was surrounded by my family who could help us sort through our feelings, help the kids and just lend their support. My type A personality took over re-packing bags to plan for Arnie being diverted to Detroit, how to get laundry done quickly when I got home and so forth.
The most frustrating part of the entire experience was with the airline. I truly wanted to write a letter to the editor in the end. My parents of course wanted to be in Detroit with us. There itinerary had them staying in Vancouver through Thursday, so we wanted to change their tickets. We tried twice once from the boat (Disney gave us the telephone line) and once at the airport. Same answer both times, $1,800 to change the flight. Yes, $1,800. They had tickets for the same flight (yes direct flight) on Thursday, simply wanted to go two days earlier and there were open seats, but $1,800...$300 in change fees and the rest because "difference in airfare" because they are quoting same day fare. I wanted tos scream.
For Arnie, to divert in Chicago and go to Detroit vs. Cincinnati, $700. Truly unreal. For Arnie we booked a one-way trip from Chicago to Detroit for $170 online ,we never go my parents there on time. This was so sad, as I would have loved to have them in Detroit, but they just can't afford that much money. I guess the lesson learned is live close to your loved ones.
So Arnie got to Detroit just before midnight Tuesday 26th, the kids and I got there 6pm on Wed, all in time for the funeral on Thursday. It was a beautful ceremony, standing room only as my mother-in-law touched many lives. Seeing the friendships that had endured 60+ years was truly touching, our lives are just so different today. It was wonderful to be surrounding by her closest friends who just wanted to take care of us all, very moving.
Each day is getting better now and my father-in-law truly seems to be handling it as best as we could have hoped for. If all goes well we will head to Detroit next week to spend some time with him, and then he will come down in September. We are all transitioning to our new reality, one step, minute, hour and day at a time.