I wanted to make sure we did something nice for Jen today so I made breakfast. It’s the least I could do. Harry is here this week and he’s a night owl so we planned breakfast for 10:00. I made scrambled eggs, bacon, and sausage. Pretty much the only breakfast foods I know how to make. Everything came out okay. Nothing was spectacular or anything. I did my best but it should have been better. My step kids’ mother deserves the best every day, but especially today.

We are planning on a visit to the cemetery to visit my mother today. I know it doesn’t really mean anything but I think it will make me feel a little better. I hope so at least.

Unrelated note: Star Wars The Clone Wars episodes eight and 12 have Jar Jar. That’s two too many. I was hoping that would be it for the first season. Then I got to episodes 17 and 18. Jar Jar is in both of them. Oh, come on. Four out of the first 18 episodes? I am seriously wanting to stop watching. It’s just not worth it.

Who Didn’t See That Coming

Three days after my mother’s wake and the announcements have started. My cousin tested positive for Covid-19. My sister’s sister-in-law also tested positive for Covid-19.

With all the hand shaking and hugging going on at the wake and at the funeral, it was inevitable that Covid would be passed around. Yippee.

Jen and I both tested negative this morning. So far, so good for our house. Fingers crossed it continues, and fingers crossed it doesn’t spread any further.

Stupid effing pandemic ruining my mother’s services.

We Made It

We made it through the funeral and the cemetery and the after luncheon. That’s actually still going on but it’s wrapping up.

It was painful but good. We all came unglued a few times but we are all okay. My dad did great. He left the lunch a little early but he made it nearly all the way through. I’m proud of him.

Day Two

We made it through the wake last night without issue. Dad and I got there at 3:00 for the 4:00 start. I didn’t expect him to be able to hold out for long but he made it until a little before 8:00, which was the end of our time anyway. I was very proud of him.

We saw family and friends and friends of the family and many many more. The turn out to say goodbye to my mother was wonderful and heart warming. It wasn’t exactly a social event, but it made me realize how starved I’ve been for random interactions with other people over the coarse of the pandemic. Sure, Robbie the introvert was thriving stuck at home for three years, but there was definitely something missing, and I am starting to really need that something now.

The funeral is this morning. Three hours from now. I need to take a shower and get dressed and then the four of us will head out together. We need to be at the funeral home by 8:45 so that we can be in the procession to the church. The church and the cemetery are both in Tewksbury, but they are on the opposite ends of town, so there is a little drive. After the cemetery we will have a lunch at the same venue Jen and I had our wedding reception. Again, in Tewksbury. It’s going to be a Tewksbury kind of day.

Again, I am nervous even though there really isn’t anything to be nervous about. Again, I am worried about how my father will do. Last night was a long haul. I know it took a lot out of me, I can’t imagine how wiped out he’s going to be today. Whatever he needs to get through, we’ll do for him. Even if that means leaving early.

Wish us luck today. It’s going to be rough.

It’s Starting

I’m dressed in a suit for the first time in years. I’m at my dad’s getting him dressed up too.

The wake starts two hours from now. I’m really nervous and I’m starting to freak out a little. I’ve never done this for a parent before. I’m very sad and really not looking forward to any of this.

ADDENDUM: We are at the wake. Doors don’t open for another 40 minutes or so, but the majority of the family is here. We are spending a little time together before any guests show up.

This is going to be tough.

More Bad Extended Family News

It never rains, it pours. My mother, Ellen, had two sisters and a brother. Her older sister, Joan, passed away in November after an illness that was alarmingly similar to what my mother went through. My mother passed away six days ago. Her brother, Jim, has been ill for a while and has been in and out of the hospital over the last three weeks or so. We are not sure, but we got some news today that makes it look like things may be turning for the worse for him.

I feel so bad for my Aunt Nancy. She lost both of her sisters in a three month span and now her brother’s health may be failing as well. As painful as it is for us, it must be so much worse for her.

Getting Through the Prep Work

My brother and sister and I met last night to work on the planning for the funeral. We picked music and readings and started asking cousins to play the various parts. We have one reader but still need one more. We have three pall bearers but still need three more. We have offers out for the remaining parts and are just waiting to hear back.

Jen and I were a little late getting out of the house. I called my father to let him know we’d be late for the planned suit fitting and he said he was tired and asked if we could reschedule to tomorrow, which is now today. I put in for a couple of hours at the end of the day so that we can head over earlier. Jen is off today so it should all work out. That still gives us the weekend to replace anything we bought that doesn’t fit him. We’re still in good shape.

I’ve been really hungry the last couple of days. My meals have gotten significantly larger and I’ve had more between meal snacks. I have to assume it’s an emotional thing. The good news is that yesterday I had actual food with every meal. I had protein supplements along with each meal, but that was just to make sure I hit my goal. Eggs for breakfast and chicken for lunch and dinner. I also had peanuts as snacks instead of protein bars. It wasn’t a lot of snack-level protein intake, but it felt pretty good to do it that way.

No music last night. Not sure if tonight will be any different. I am 2/5 of the way through Star Trek Picard season 1 episode 6 though. I’m more than 25% of the way through the two season rewatch with season three kicking off in six days. Probably not going to make it unless I do an alarmingly intense binge over the weekend. Of course The Mandalorian season three kicks off on March 1st. Can I follow the two season Picard rewatch with a 2+ season Mandalorian rewatch by 3/1? (2+ seasons due to the two episodes where The Mandalorian hijacked The Book of Boba Fett, right?)

Right then. Time to start getting ready for work. Talk to you later. Parents, tell your kids you love them. Kids, tell your parents you love them.


My mother passed away on Sunday. On Monday, my brother and sister and I met with the funeral director. He gave us a packet of homework. We need to pick readings and music and some other things related to the funeral service. I didn’t do much on Tuesday or Wednesday. We’ve had some discussions on things over text but nothing concrete from me. I am getting back into the swing of it tonight. We bought a suit for my father on Monday. We’re (Jen and I) going to him tonight to let him try it on. It’s probably not going to fit very well, but hopefully it’s close enough. After that, we’re having a meeting to go over the homework. Speaking as an Atheist, I don’t have a lot of interest in the readings that happen during the mass. I’ll give my $0.02 but I might have more input on the music. There is one song that was played at my grandmother’s funeral that brought my mother to tears. That one will be included. They played it at my Aunt’s funeral a few months ago as well, for exactly the same reason.

It might be a mildly long night tonight. We’ll see. I am working today and need to try and have actual food for dinner at some point. I’ve been so dependent on protein bars and supplements for the last few weeks that I expect my stomach to start rebelling at any moment. I just had eggs for breakfast and I hope to have some chicken for lunch. Dinner… we’ll see.

With all of this going on I am starting to think that my RPM Challenge success streak is in jeopardy. Not that that matters at all. I am, however, about to finish season one, episode three of Star Trek Picard. Maybe I should have been working on some recording instead of watching TV. Forgive me, I am a little screwed up right now. Working on Tuesday and Wednesday was a little tough but the normalcy felt pretty good after the insanity of the last couple of weeks. I’m working from home today and tomorrow and then taking three days of bereavement time on Monday through Wednesday next week. I am allowed to take five days, but I don’t want to. I was even hesitant about taking the third day, but I think it will come in handy, mental health wise.

Okay, it’s time to start getting ready for work. Wish me luck today.

Ellen Parker 1940-2023

My mother passed away on Sunday afternoon. I might give details someday, but not today. Here is her obituary, copied from the Farmer and Dee Funeral Home website.

Ellen M. (Powers) Parker, age 82, a resident of Tewksbury for over 50 years, passed away at the High Pointe Hospice House in Haverhill on Sunday, February 5, 2023. 

She was the beloved wife of Robert J. Parker, Sr. with whom she celebrated their 55th wedding anniversary on July 29, 2022. 

Born in Boston on September 26, 1940, she was the daughter of the late John T. Powers and the late Bridget M. (Murphy) Powers. 

Ellen was raised in the St. Peter’s Parish neighborhood of Dorchester. She attended local schools and graduated from St. Patrick’s Parochial High School. 

In 1969, she and her husband moved to Tewksbury where they raised their three children. 

Ellen was an original employee at the Tewksbury location of Calvert’s clothing store where she worked for many years. Prior to her retirement, Ellen was employed by Segue Manufacturing Services in Lowell, where she worked as a bookkeeper. 

Ellen was an active communicant, supporter, and former Religious Education (C.C.D.) teacher of St. William’s Parish in Tewksbury. 

She enjoyed reading, working as a poll worker for the Tewksbury annual town elections, following her beloved Boston sports teams, as well as volunteering her time to the Tewksbury Music Association as a band parent, as a Camp Fire Girls leader, and Tewksbury Youth Baseball. 

Ellen will lovingly be remembered for her devotion to her family, church, and community. 

In addition to her husband, Ellen is survived by three children, Lisa E. Desrochers and her husband Ken, of Ayer, Robert J. Parker, Jr. and his wife Jennifer, of Methuen, and John T. Parker and his wife Mary, of North Chelmsford: six grandchildren, Patrick R. and Brian P. Desrochers, Bellana E. and Harry W. Driscoll, and Sarah E. and John T. Parker, Jr. She was the sister of James Powers and his wife Mary, of Abington, Nancy Creed and her husband John, of Kingston, and the late John P. Powers and the late Joan Fasanello and her late husband John. Ellen was the sister-in-law of the late John H. Parker, Jr. She leaves many nieces, nephews, and extended family members. 

Calling hours are Monday, February 13th, from 4-8 p.m. at the Farmer & Dee Funeral Home, 16 Lee Street, Tewksbury. Her funeral procession will begin Tuesday, February 14th at 9 a.m. at the funeral home, followed by her Funeral Mass at 10 a.m. at St. William’s Church, 1351 Main Street, Route 38, Tewksbury. Interment will follow at St. Mary Cemetery, 90 River Road, Tewksbury. In lieu of flowers, donations in her memory may be made to the Dementia Society of America at or to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society at