Re: reporting in (downer alert)
A very wise friend once told me "The price of love is grief". I can testify that that is true... I lost both of my parents in the last 10 years, and very few are the days where I don't think of them. Both were in the throes of horrendous Alzheimer's and physical deterioration, and it was unquestionably a blessing for both when they finally found their peace.
It was very hard at the time. But it does indeed get easier with time. Be good to yourself, and let yourself grieve- and enjoy your family doubly at the sendoff.
Nerd without portfolio...