Trudi’s Homecoming Party

Trudi had been feeling vaguely restless for a few days now, ever since she’d had that little flu bug. She hadn’t wanted to be at the party her children were throwing in her home, but in all the conversations she’d overheard, they were incredibly worried that she wouldn’t be there or that she wouldn’t like it. So, even though partying wasn’t her thing, Trudi was determined to show up for them.

As she passed Cathy and Kristen, both rushing around, making plans, calling people, cleaning, she did her best to reassure them, that if they were throwing a party for her, she would love it. No matter what. And really, they should just relax. A party was a party, and it was up to the guests to be pleased and enjoy themselves.

It was also up to her, Trudi decided a little wearily, to practice what she preached and take part with her best smiles and best attitude. And it would be nice to see all her friends, of course.
And so here she was.

For a few minutes she did hold back and just watched. “Not really a party person,” Trudi murmured to herself. All her life, she’d preferred being in her own home with her family, and until he’d passed, with Geoff, her husband. For her, it was never boring.

In fact, these last few days after she’d finally gotten out of that hospital, she’d loved the quiet of her home and just being with her family. She was blissfully grateful that they’d all come to be with her when she’d been sick. The energy and antics of her grandchildren kept her in a constant ripple of laughter. Four-year-old Colby never stopped moving, and three-year-old Bella climbed the kitchen counters like a mountaineer on Everest.

Trudi watched with a gleam of amusement as a pair of small hands sneaked up over the side of the table to snag a couple of cupcakes. At least Cathy and Hoa would be the ones dealing with toddlers with sick stomachs!

Trudi looked around with pleasure. Her family had really outdone themselves. Flowers decorated several of the tables and scented the room. Hoa, her chef son-in-law, had made all her favorites…and a few more tasty bits too. Nice! Hoa had not skimped even a little – Geoff (God rest his soul) had been absolutely right. The boy was a great addition to the family, a good husband for Cathy, and a great father. Who would have thought Hoa would be such a gem when Cathy first brought him home? Trudi pressed her daughter’s hand as she passed; their love had always been in wordless touches.

Kristen, her shy daughter, was sitting in a corner, out of view of most of the people. The music chosen for the party was upbeat (Trudi recognized happily that the playlist consisted of all her favorites), but music didn’t seem to be cheering Kristen. Trudi murmured hellos to her friends, but made a beeline for her youngest daughter. Something had really upset her girl, even though Kristen was being as stoical as she could be.

Putting an arm around her daughter, Trudi slid into the chair beside her, and just hugged for a few minutes. When tears started forming in Kristen’s eyes, she hugged harder and murmured, “Love you, sweet heart. How can I help?”

“Oh, Mom,” the words came out like a long, soft breath of pain.

“It’s okay, baby. It’s okay.”

Trudi glanced up and saw that Geoff was sending Cathy over, pointing at the tears on her sister’s face. Cathy enveloped Kristen and surprisingly both started crying.

Trudi leaned back, bewildered. What kind of miserable party was this anyway?

And, how could Geoff, her darling, achingly dead husband, be pulling her into his arms? She began to understand.

Clinging to him, gulping back sobs herself, Trudi lifted her head.

This party…damn!

The feeling of restless confusion began to fade, so she took a long moment to look around. When she spotted Colby grabbing another cupcake, Trudi couldn’t help but laugh softly. Still gripping Geoff’s hand (she was never letting go again) she pointed at their grandson. Geoff’s chuckle filled her heart.

“This is my funeral, isn’t it?”

Geoff grinned. “Actually, a wake. The girls didn’t think you’d want something formal at a funeral parlor.”

Trudi nodded. “It’s perfect…here in my home…it’s perfect.”

“The kids did a great job.” Trudi and Geoff looked around, friends, food and family.

Then they went back to their two girls and wrapped their love around them.

“It’s okay," they murmured. It’ll all be okay.”