Well, I'm back. Bryan and I flew home from Michigan on Saturday night, but I hadn't felt like blogging until tonight. The service for Grandpa was on Thursday and it was very nicely done, but extremely hard to get through. Many of the family members got up to say words here and there when Father Leo offered time for that. It was especially hard when my Aunt Jackie got up and spoke about her son Jarek, who died when he was 3 months old. She spoke of how Grandpa came to the hospital and held Jarek's body and rocked him, and then held Jackie and rocked her. My Uncle Mike and his sister Elaine sang Sarah McLachlan's "I Will Remember You" and it was truly beautiful. But the moment when both Bryan and I broke down, and even my cousin Eric (who, at 13, I've never seen break down & cry), was when my Uncle John put on a CD of Johnny Cash singing "You Are My Sunshine" - a song Grandpa used to sing to all of his children, to his grandchildren and to my Grandma as well. During the song, Grandma got up from the front pew and walked to the altar where Grandpa's urn was and kissed the large picture of Grandpa in Ireland next to the urn. I cannot put into words how much my heart broke at that moment. And yet, I'm so grateful that I had the chance to know and enjoy the love of such a wonderful person. I scanned in a few of the pages from a program that Aunt Jackie put together to hand out at the service and have linked thumbnails below. So click if you'd like to see the full sized pages. Aunt Jackie did a lovely job and the notes (hopefully) will give you some sense of how wonderful Grandpa was, much better than any words I could put together.
I did have a truly wonderful time in Michigan, despite the reason for being there, because I was able to see family members I hadn't seen in almost five years. Mom has nine brother and sisters, so you can imagine how large full family gatherings can be. And everyone was there, other than Uncle Mike (not the one who sang at the service, but the one who is married to my Aunt Tina & is the father of the four cousins I'm always visiting here in California) who couldn't fly because of surgery he had a few months back, so he stayed with the twins and Layla, and Eric flew out with Bryan and I. My cousin Adrien, who is just a few months older than me, now has a baby of her own, a beautiful little boy named Charles. I know Grandpa would have loved to have seen everyone together and it amazing that he and Grandma have given us all such a legacy of love.
Mom is still in Michigan and will be there until next Monday, though Dad flew home on Monday earlier this week because he had to get back to work today. I wish I had more time to stay in Michigan, but I couldn't leave work for that long and Bryan & I had to get home to Shasta and the kitties. Bryan's girlfriend Rachel and my friend Lucy were both extremely awesome & generous - they took care of Shasta and the cats for free while Bryan and I were gone. Everyone has been truly kind and caring, especially all of my Net friends. and thanks to Tara, Kacie, Emily, Des, Thomas, Jenah, Addie, Kel, Jaina, Connie, Deb, Alyse, Sasha, Chelle, Janet, Amanda, Kim, Tonya, Zara, Katie, Kristina, and most especially, the four girls who keep me sane: Little Willow, Rae, Susan, and Tarina.
Okies, folks. I have more to say, but it will have to wait till a later date as I managed to catch a cold yesterday and am now in desparate need of sleep if only to escape the nasty taste of TheraFlu. Yuck. Love to you all.