Charlie gave Catherine’s hand a little squeeze as the town car made its way past the cemetery gates. He briefly turned to look over his shoulder to see John and James’ town car behind them.
It was weird. Funerals were supposed to feel…final. At least they had before for Charlie. He had seen many friends and family members pass on over his lifetime. At each service or celebration of life he had said his goodbyes and felt at peace. Not this time. Hazel was in everything that was of him. He could see her always, even when he closed his eyes…especially when he closed his eyes. She was in every piece of furniture in the apartment. She was in the air. She was in Catherine’s hand right now, which he held in his. He gave the hand another little squeeze.
“It was a lovely service, don’t you think dad?” Catherine said, looking straight ahead out the front window of the town car, even though she was seated behind the driver. “Yes, it was,” Charlie nodded as Catherine continued. “Jeremy did such a great job singing mom’s favourite song. She would have been so proud of her great grandson.” Charlie smiled. “She was always proud…of all her kids and grandkids and great grandkids. Family meant the world to her.”
The two of them remained facing forward, careful not to make eye contact or the tears would start flowing again. “It was nice that Deanna attended…that meant a lot I’m sure,” Catherine offered. “It did. She grew quite close to Hazel after Millie passed. There were a lot of folks from the Manor there, even staff. You really see how many lives were touched by your mom when that kind of crowd gathers.” Charlie smiled. Who wouldn’t love Hazel? It’s why he loved her. There was nothing not to love.
The cars rolled into laneway of the Manor and Charlie and Catherine exited their vehicle, with John and James following behind. “Did you need a hand taking anything upstairs?” John offered, reaching over to Charlie. “Nope, just have my coat with me. I think I can manage,” Charlie winked. “Do we know who is bringing all the flowers over?” James asked. “The funeral home arranges all that. I double checked with them before we left.” Catherine responded. “There were so many arrangements. I know mom loved flowers, but I have no idea where dad’s going to put everything,” James chuckled to himself. “I told them to decorate the Manor with them. That’s what Hazel would have wanted,” Charlie stated affirmatively as he headed inside.
It was odd heading indoors without Hazel, knowing that she was not upstairs to greet him either. Charlie felt a twinge in his heart. It hurt. Regardless, he headed upstairs, to their suite…his suite now…and thought how very different life was going to be.
This concludes this year’s series of Charlie & Hazel – 52 issues. Moving forward, what types of things would you like to see come out of our story? Do you have any ideas for this public awareness project? We know as a reader, you have become invested in the characters and our stories. We would like to hear from you. We write these pieces to shed light on a variety of issues, raise awareness and engage with the public so that they can know more about seniors housing. Let us know how we are doing.