The x-ray class went really well. I feel like my brain is full of good information I can use at the clinic when I go back to work tomorrow. Holly flew in on Thursday and stayed with me at the condo, and she and I shopped, ate out, and talked until the wee hours of morning. It was nice to have some company.
On our way back yesterday, our friend-also named Chris-was our flight attendant, and it was her first flight going to our village. She and her husband still live here part-time and she hasn’t been on a flight here since she transferred to her new position. Holly and I have always said we couldn’t wait to get her on a flight because we were going to have so much fun with her.
We never dreamed we’d be on the same flight, with Chris, together. When Chris was giving her speech about how to adjust seat belts, and where the exits were located, Holly and I held up handwritten signs cheering her on, and we kept making faces at her. Chris, being the professional she is, just smiled but never faltered on her monologue. When she was finished, Holly and I cheered and clapped. The people on our full flight were amused and I’m sure some of them were annoyed but we all had fun and it made our flight home enjoyable. Especially when Chris was finished with her beverage service and she was able to visit with us before we started our gradual descent.
All in all, we needed to laughs to prepare us for what we were coming home to:
Being she lived in Anchorage, her family held a service there so that her Anchorage friends and family could attend and say goodbye to her. Her final resting place was here in the village though.
The service was beautiful and moving. Her family and friends put on a video tribute and afterwards, shared happy memories of her. I looked over at Dusty and could see that he was crying. I felt relieved and sad at the same time. He needed to let it out…I was happy to see that he was.
The most moving part was when her father got up and spoke about her. He was eloquent and calm, often looking over at Athena’s casket while speaking of her. The most poignant part was when he was describing Athena’s last night on this earth.
One of the attending nurses approached Mary, Athena’s mother, and asked her if she snuggled Athena growing up. Mary replied that of course she did. The nurse then asked if Mary would like to crawl into bed with Athena and snuggle. Mary, of course, accepted the invitation. Jim spoke of how much it meant to the family to be able to do that. And how much he appreciated that kind nurse offering such a loving and final gesture. What mother wouldn’t want to hold her child in her arms before letting that child go?
That’s when the tears started for me. Howard held tight to my hand and I could tell he was fighting back tears as well.
And I also hoped that, as a health care worker, if I were ever put into that situation, I would offer a grieving family the same gesture.
So, Athena is finally at rest and her family and friends can start the slow road to healing. The bright spot is that Athena leaves behind two beautiful girls. One of which, she gave her very life for, to bring into this world.
Goodbye Athena. May your “journey through time and space” always be happy and peaceful.