Mom headed to Utah a few days before the rest of us to help finalize plans and prepare for the funeral. Dad, Jada, Tucker and I flew together on the day of the funeral and went straight to the chapel from the airport. (Side note: We flew out of the Long Beach airport which was a fun experience. It is small, but beautiful and unique. We also few Jet Blue, which was a first for me. I must say, I was VERY impressed. Everything about our flying experience was awesome.)
We arrived in Salt Lake to be welcomed by the cold and rain. Luckily my mom warned us in advance, and I had packed jackets for the kids before leaving Georgia. They would have froze. It was quite cold and rained for most of the morning and day. Somewhat fitting for a funeral I think.
As we drove to the chapel Jada noticed the mountains and kept asking if we could go to the mountains and climb over them like Elsa in Frozen. She was sure we would find Elsa's castle and that climbing over the mountain would be easy:) I tried to explain that they were a lot bigger than she thought and that it would take a long time to climb over them. She didn't give up.
The service was wonderful and it was so great to see nearly all of my extended family, as well as some friends. It was the perfect celebration of an amazing woman, a great example, and a life well lived. We will all miss our grandma/mother/great grandma/great great grandma, but we are all happy to know that she is once again with her husband and family again. I am sure it was a joyous reunion in heaven.
As I prepared for and attended my grandma's funeral I thought a lot about death and grieving. The truth of the matter is that the sadness at a funeral is mostly, if not all, selfish. I am not saying we can't be sad, I certainly am. But I just kept thinking: why am I so sad? Shouldn't I be happy for her? I came to the realization that I am sad because I no longer get to have her in my life, I no longer get to see her face and benefit from her love and friendship.
I had to keep reminding myself that while it is hard not to be sad, because of the knowledge that I have in the gospel of Jesus Christ, a funeral is really a time to rejoice. In the case of my grandma, she lived a long life, she was in pain for many years in the end and without the love of her life. During these last few years she even lost a daughter and a few grandchildren. But now she is home! She is pain free. I can only imagine how it will be one day, to be reunited with our loved ones and those gone before. I am sure it is better than any of us could imagine. Death isn't the end. We will meet again.
And now she watches us from the other side. Still there to comfort us and fill us with love, just like the rest of our family and friends who have gone home.
The service was perfect. Due to the weather the graveside service was the quickest I have ever attended and people were out of there, especially those with children, pretty quickly. Since I wanted to take pictures I stuck around and had a little time to myself to say goodbye. It was just what I needed.
Following the graveside we all headed back to the church for some lunch and mingling. It was so nice to get to talk with my family and catch up with them. I am so grateful for the wonderful family that I have. I love them all.
After all was said and done we headed to my Aunt's were we would be staying for the rest of our trip. We were all exhausted after a long emotional day and had a good nights rest, but not before enjoying some Tony's pizza:)
At the family luncheon, while I was talking with some cousins, my Dad got my attention and told me to look at my children. This is what I found: two cuties who had went and gotten themselves a huge SECOND piece of cake. Best of all, Tucker had the guiltiest look on his face. How could you say no to that!?
On Sunday we were so excited to have some visitors! My best friend, Kate, and her daughter, Penny, and Aunt Becca came to visit us up in Syracuse. It was so awesome to get to spend the afternoon and evening with them. The kids loved Penny and they all had fun together, which is always a bonus.
After a few days of Utah fun we all headed back to California. On our drive to the Salt Lake airport, at 4:30AM, Jada noticed a train in the dark and pointed it out to us all. Surprised my mom replied, "Wow Jada, you have sharp eyes!" to which Jada responded, "Yeah! I have shark eyes!"