My parents died at 94 and 96, so I never expected my brother, Martin Mendel Seldon, to go at a younger age. He was 83 when he died on Dec. 28, after an unexpected, massive heart attack.
I was in Nova Scotia on a wonderful Christmas holiday with my daughter and her family when the news came. Assuming that his funeral service would be held very quickly, I skipped coming home, as we’d planned, and headed out the next day to Sunnyvale, Calif., where he had lived for years.
Never having spent Christmas anywhere but at home, I wasn’t sure what Christmas in Nova Scotia with my daughter, Bess, and her family would be like. They live in a small town on the southwest shore called Shelburne. There are two inns in Shelburne, but they are both closed at holiday time. The few sightseers who make the drive down from Halifax are long gone at this time of year, and most of the handful of second-home owners are elsewhere, too. Maybe in part because of this isolation, the sense of community is strong.