What a crazy week. My mom has been living with her high school sweetheart for the last 13 years in Vancouver WA. I had never seen her happier. Since my moms passing my heart has ached for him more than anyone. I drove down Wednesday afternoon and picked Phil up and then we started the two day drive to California. We had a lot of laughs and a few tears on that drive.
Earlier in the week, I had talked to my sisters and we decided that mom would want everyone there, so we arranged for all the grandchildren to be able to fly in that were far away. Every one of her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren (except for one week old Aalleai and her mom) were there. We kept things simple but beautiful. After Jeffrey gave a short message on John 14:27, we had what I like to call a living eulogy. Everyone told a favorite memory about grandma. It was awesome to hear the different relationships everyone had with her. If there was one thing constant in all of it, it was that we recognized the wonderful change in her after Phil came into her life. It is also gatherings like this that we regret the time we didn't spend together that we could have.
One of the favorite memories of mom was whenever you went to a restaurant with her, she would always blow the straw paper at some unexpected diner at the table. Without fail she always did this. So Danel, my sister, spoke about that and then blow a straw paper for mom. There where also straws in some of the flower arrangements! What a fun memory. It was interesting to see how different she was at different times of her life. After my dad passes away in 1982, she was more nervous, scared and worried. When Phil came into her life she changed to playful and calm. Amazing how someone can bring such comfort to a person that there is such a noticeable difference.
After the service, we went to the cemetery and Jeffrey dedicated the grave. So much responsibility has fallen on that young man and he has always handled it so well. It was wonderful to see my sisters and nieces and nephews. They are strong wonderful young people. I love to see how unique and strong each one of them have become. They have survived well the insanity of our family!
After everything was over, we drove to a local restaurant and had a great time socializing. You can imagine with 30 people in a restaurant there were straw papers flying everywhere in honor of mom. I think mom would have been pleased. It is sad that in this world of constant change, we live so far apart that it takes something like this for cousins to get to know each other better. With all the crazy stuff going on, our family isn't so bad now is it?