Friday, September 16, 2011

One more reason to hate 2011...

 A few weeks ago my Uncle Daniel died.  My Mom is one of 14, and he is the first of any of the siblings to pass away.  Not only was it one of her brothers, it was the brother she was closest to.  After my Grandma Boone died when my Mom was just a little older than I am, she lived with my Uncle Daniel for a few years.  She had just come home from her mission, wasn't married yet, and my Uncle opened up his home to her.  That's where my Mom began her career as a flight attendant, and from there transferred to Chicago where she met my Dad.  My little brother Daniel was also named after him.  When you have 11 uncles and 2 aunts JUST on your Mom's side, it's hard to be close to any of them (especially when they each have 8-16 children).  My Uncle Daniel truly made a valiant effort to let us know he cared about us, and being my Mom's favorite brother-we saw a lot more of him compared to the other 10. 
 This picture is from my Dad's funeral.  These are my Mom's brothers and sister that were able to come.  They're all in line from oldest to youngest starting at the left.  My Uncle Daniel is fourth from the left.

My Uncle Daniel reminded me a lot of my Dad.  They were both dentists, both very soft spoken, both spiritual giants, both wonderful fathers, both very passive, and both had goofy looking glasses.  :)  I can't imagine what an awful year it's been for my Mom.  First losing her husband, and then her closet brother...all within 7 months of each other.  My Uncle had cancer for a number of years, making him suffer much longer than any person should.  The doctors told him he didn't have much time left, and my Mom drove as fast as she could to Mississippi to say goodbye to her wonderful brother.

My Mom asked my brothers and I to go the funeral with her.  I honestly wasn't sure if I wanted to go or not.  I knew it was going to be hard, bringing up some memories/emotions that were all too fresh in my mind.  And as immature as this sounds, it really hurt my feelings that none of my cousins came to my Dad's funeral.  My Dad played a role in a lot of their lives, and it really would have meant a lot to see them there.  I also have had somewhat of a tumultuous relationship with some of my cousins, and I didn't know if I wanted to revisit any of those issues.  We would also have to drive through the night, which I am never a fan of.  However my 20 yr old brother Daniel that lives with us embarked some words of wisdom on my decision, "Becky you might regret it if you don't go, but you won't regret it if you do go."  Who knew such immaturity could bring such wisdom?  Ha ha, love you Dan.  So, despite my first instinct, I went.

First of all, Mississippi is awful.  Always has been, always will be.  Sean refers to it as "the armpit of America".  He could not be more right.  And of course, I was going there in August-FML.  Second, I think that was the closest I ever came to dieing on a road trip.  Third, my brothers are all poor and HUGE cheapskates.  I'm the only one who has graduated college and has a real job, so all of them mooch off of me.  So guess who paid for the gas?  And yes, I drove three of them there, awesome. 

We had to be at the church for the funeral service within 90 minutes of our arrival, not leaving much time for a nap, or for getting ready.  Most of the encounters with my cousins were awkward, as expected.  Just as I had thought, my brothers all ditched me leaving me all alone...shocker.  The funeral was awful, it was so so sad.  My little brother Dan was sobbing almost the entire time.  It's not really that sad when I cry (it happens a lot), but when he just kills me.  He just kept saying how much he missed our Dad, and how sad he was that he was gone.  I miss him too.  And just as I had thought, going to Uncle Daniel's funeral brought back lots of sad memories.  I feel like it was just yesterday, we were all sitting in my parent's home ward sobbing while listening to the speakers talk about our Dad.  My Uncle Daniel was the last speaker at my Dad's funeral, and that also made it hard to be there.

Did I do the right thing, who knows?  Was my Mom happy that I was there?  I'm sure she could have cared less.  Was it as awful as I thought it was?  Absolutely. 

I truly look forward to the day when I get to see my sweet Uncle again, along with my Dad.  I'm sure they're having a grand ole' time up there without us.  Sometimes I wish I was up there with them too, it sure seems a lot easier than being down here, being so sad without them. 
 At my Dad's funeral was the last time I ever saw my Uncle Daniel. (He's in the back left.)

Sometimes life is just hard.  I know I'm just selfish to want my Dad back here.  Just like my Uncle Daniel, he suffered a lot too.  Now, neither of them are in pain.  My Dad always joked that he couldn't wait to have a perfect body, he was sick of being bald!  :) 

2011 has honestly been one of the worst years for me...I'm so ready for it to be over.  Unfortunately a lot of our loved ones are getting older, and it seems like I'm just going to have to get used to these types of events.  But until then, 2011-I can't wait for you to be over.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Family reunion

My Dad's only brother, our Uncle Bob, thought it would be a good idea for all of us to get together.  I hadn't seen my Uncle or my two cousins since my Dad's funeral.  My Dad was a CRAZY Cubs fan (to put it lightly).  Unfortunately the weekend we had planned to get together the Cubs weren't in town.  So we did what every Cubs' fan would do...we traveled to wherever they were playing (story of my childhood).  Luckily they weren't too far away, this time.  They were playing the Milwaukee Brewers, which is only three hours from Chicago.  I'm really glad we were able to see everyone again, it was a lot of fun. 
I forgot my Cubs shirt. :(
Chris and his cute girlfriend Kassi.  They rode up with us to Milwaukee.
Sean will do whatever it takes to get out of taking pictures...that includes driving. :)  
Miller Park

Right when we met up with my Uncle and cousin it really hit me how much my Uncle Bob looks like my Dad.  It's a little scary.
It was SO nice outside!  After church on Sunday we took some pictures in my front yard.  I was actually cold there at night, I forgot how cool it gets in the evenings there.
Sean keeps saying that we should only visit my family in the summer, and then go see his family in California in the winter.  Haha, sounds good to me.
My little brother Chris, at least he's a good sport. :)
It's crazy how green it is there, especially compared to Texas.
 Before dinner on Sunday I drove around for a while by myself.  I went by some of the places my Dad and I would go together, it was good...and sad to see them again.  I drove by his Indiana practice and saw the sign of the new dentist that bought it.  I obviously knew my Mom was selling his practices, but it hit me pretty hard when I saw the name of a different dentist up instead of Block Dental.  Sad times.

Sunday family dinner.
 Grandma Gin, Chris, and Dave.
Uncle Bob, Guy, and Dan.
It's the first time in over three years all of us kids have been together.
Mom with her kiddos.  Even my Mom is taller than me!  Ahhhh, I'm a midget!  I honestly hardly ever feel short, except for when I'm with my brothers.  They range from 6,1'' to 6,7''.  What happened to me?
There's been some bad storms in my parent's neighborhood that have knocked over a bunch of trees.  My mom thought it would be "cute" to take a picture on one of them that fell down, oldest to youngest (my Mom wasn't supposed to be in the picture-we just weren't heavy enough to keep it from flying up).  Please notice how my feet don't even touch the ground.  Mom-love you, but it's not cute.  We look like hillbillies.
Grandma Gin with all her grandkids (minus Debbie).
The whole gang...just missing a few people.
Chris and Kassi, <3 them.
Sean wanted in on the hillbilly action.
We made a little detour while driving back through Missouri to meet up with one of our favorite cousins, Mark!  He's going to school up there-it was good to see him again!

It was really good to see everyone.  It stinks that now going home just means missing my Dad, hopefully it's not always like that.  It's still weird without him there.  I was going through some of his things in the attic, and it brought back a lot of memories.  We're pretty lucky to have such a great Uncle that still wants to get together with all of us.  He arranged the whole little reunion, bought the tickets, took us all out to lunch (which if you've seen any of my brothers you know that's a small fortune), and made all the travel arrangements to come from Boston.  He's great.  Not just his looks, but even his mannerisms reminded me of my Dad.  I don't know why I've never noticed it so much before.  We missed you Dad, hope you were smiling down on us.