It feels strange to be back home in DC after nine months away in rural New Hampshire. And I’m driving back up next week for my father’s memorial service—driving because flying sounds like a terrible option these days.

My father was able to live at home for most of these past months. Facilitating that was a two-person job, mine and my octogenarian mother’s. During his last month, he went from hospital to rehab, which I thought might become long-term care, but his old body had other plans.

Fortunately I already knew his wishes, so all three of us were on the same page when it came time. He was at the hospital when we switched him over to hospice care, a small hospital in the White Mountains, and the staff was brilliant.

My son made it up the last week, as did my sisters and one brother-in-law. Even my brother, who I hadn’t seen in thirty years, flew in. On one of the last days the old man could speak, a nurse told him he was lucky. “I know,” he replied.

So it goes.

Early last fall, during a drive down to a different hospital to pick up my father, my wife called me. Our first grandchild was coming. And then another call: she was there.