Singapore Adventure

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Missing Joe
by venitha

We're a bit saddened and a bit entertained by the change in our arriving-at-home routine here in Singapore. Letting Maggie outside and checking the answering machine have been replaced by washing our hands and checking our computers. Thank you thank you thank you, Al Gore, for inventing the internet. How could we possibly survive here without e-mail and instant messaging?

We high-fived the extreme coolness of IM this week when a 4-way chat ranging cross the world ended with airline tickets for five from Colorado to Singapore. I am thrilled. Surely I'm dreaming. What's next? A box of my favorite tea and getting tomorrow'd? The thought of Christmas-as-usual spent with all the Colorado Andersons leaves me feeling a distinct need to be pinched.

Unfortunately, it truly is too good to be true, and in a way that modern air travel and a wealth of frequent flier miles can't fix. Missing from our Christmas festivities this year will be Joe, Jim's father, who died unexpectedly last January. Joe gave the best hugs, big engulf-you-in-love bear hugs as warm and comforting as a steaming mug of hot chocolate on a cold and snowy day. I was the happy recipient of an abundance of these hugs, though even in hot and humid Singapore, there are days that I'd give up a great deal for just one more. Today is certainly one of them.

This weekend, there is an Anderson family pilgrimage of sorts to South Dakota, which has culminated in the interment of Joe's ashes. Jim and I are here in Singapore but wishing we were there, getting one more chance to fill up that empty spot that Joe's death has left in our hearts... with hugs and tears and shared memories and laughter.

How did people handle moving far from home and loved ones a hundred years ago? Before computers, before airplanes, before phone calls? Perhaps it was easier then, when moving around the world meant gone forever, a clean break, and a new life with no looking back.

Given the choice, though, I'd still pick today. Or maybe the future. I don't even need to go very far into the future; I pick December 21, when our family from Colorado arrives here in Singapore. There will be hugs and tears, new memories created... and lots and lots of laughter.