Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Blessed are those that mourn...

We spent this last weekend with family celebrating the life of my Grandpa Fred and saying goodbye. Darian got home from a week in St. Louis just before noon on Friday just in time for Melana to have a relapse with the vomiting from last week. Oh joy. My sister in law Sheryl was here watching her while I ran out to pick up dry cleaning and she found Melana in a puddle of vomit just after waking up from her nap. Darian got home just after that and called me in a panic. "Where are you?" I was in our neighborhood so within a few minutes we had the mess cleaned up and I was snuggling our sweet girl. Thank goodness Sheryl was here because apparently only those of the female sex are qualified to clean up vomit. Wow. Menstration AND puke cleaning, aren't we lucky? Haha.
We hurried the luggage to the van and sped up to Kalamazoo to make it to the funeral home for visiting hours. I don't normally give many compliments to funeral homes, I don't know, just seems weird, but this one was awesome. They were so caring and gracious in their hospitality. They even have a therapy dog!! She is an amazing golden retriever named Holly who was trained as a therapy and, boy, did she ever do a good job. When my step-grandma was having a hard time, the dog was at her side. When we said our final goodbyes that night, she was right beside us all. Amazing! The funeral home also made the viewing a true celebration of life. We were able to bring pictures to post on poster boards and they made a wonderful DVD of pics and grandpa's life story. They set out an appetizing buffet for the family and visitors. There was free wine and beer, soft drinks, coffee and sweet tea. All very classy with the intention of lightening the mood and promoting story telling and reminiscing instead of the usual hushed tones of mourning. The family was very pleased and we all knew it was just like Grandpa would have liked. Wonderful.
That night Melana was four times through out the night. Unfortunately, Darian was also sick, so it was my turn to be up with her all night. We determined it must have been her tummy because she was fine as long as I held her with her tummy on my arm. I sat in a chair for four hours that night holding her in that position so she would sleep. Needless to say I slept very little that night.
The next morning we dropped Melana off with our niece, Emilee and headed to the church for Grandpa's funeral. It was a solemn Catholic service, but filled with memories and a wonderful eulogy given by my cousin Christy. Each grandchild had a part in the service. I presented "the gifts" for the communion, my sister read scripture and Darian even had a part and was a pallbearer with some of my other cousins and cousins-in-law (there are alot of girl grandkids) . :)
I thought I was ok until the end of my cousin's eulogy and then I kind of lost it. I usually can keep my emotions under control and then will sometimes fall apart after the fact, but something came over me and I almost had to leave. I think it was more the pain of seeing my dad and my aunts and uncles and cousins in tears than anything else, but it all caught up with me. Luckily the priest was near the end and then asked everyone to turn to the person next to them and give them the sign of peace. ?? My Catholic cousin quickly filled me in. You are supposed to turn and shake hands and say "Peace be with you". I was confused and tried to give her the peace sign. Just kidding! It did cross my mind though. All in all, he was honored and remembered well and his life celebrated. He was loved and will be missed.
After the funeral we headed to the cemetery where my grandpa will be buried next to my grandma. There was no graveside service (he is being cremated first), but my step-grandmother wanted to see where he would be buried. (She is from KY and FL and will be buried next to her first husband) I was glad to see it because I've tried several times to find my grandma's gravesite with no success. I picked a yellow rose out of one of the floral arrangements from Grandpa's funeral and my sister and cousins did likewise and we laid it on grandma's grave. It was good to finally see the headstone. Morbid? or Sentimental? I'm not sure either.
We spent the rest of the afternoon with our family and my step-grandmother's family, hanging out at my Uncle Rick and Aunt Maureen's house. It was overall a good day, funeral aside.

Melana was fussy and up again that night, but my parents volunteered to get her some gas drops and soon she was feeling better. I think I may have overcompensated for her diarrhea from the week before by feeding her too much rice cereal and bananas. Ugh, Momma fail. She was still up a lot that night (for her) and we were exhausted Sunday morning. Grandma and Aunt Michele volunteered to baby sit/entertain Melana and Darian and I were able to get another four hours sleep. He woke up feeling much better from his bug and I was able to think clearer. Yay for sleep! Since then she has been sleeping just fine and back to eating well. Gas drops are awesome! We enjoyed the rest of the day visiting with my parents and my sister Michele, who was in from Texas. Melana got spoiled as usual. But she's so cute, how can you not?!
Melana with Auntie Shell


  1. Beautiful writing, Stephanie. What a hard, busy weekend. Thanks for sharing your link.

  2. I think there is nothing morbid about a celebration of one's life.
    I found an old photo of someone next to a casket with a lady lying in it. They are old b&w photos and my first thought was, weird. But at my Grandfather's funeral, several of us took pics of Grandma next to his casket and flowers. It wasn't weird to me then. I'm glad you experienced caring staff at the funeral home and had a good time visiting family/friends. Those memories stay with us for many years.
    And I am glad Melana is feeling much better! Gas drops ARE amazing!