Friday, October 14, 2011

Memorials, babies, and proposals--life never stops.

My Opa's services were yesterday. They were beautiful. The church was packed with folks whose lives he touched, it was humbling to see. I was able to speak, as did my Mother, three uncles, and three cousins. When I spoke, I focused on his storytelling ability. And I was not the only one enchanted and effected by his stories, my cousins also brought up Rumpelstiltskin, the the Monkey's Paw, and others in their speeches. My Mom's speech wowed me because I knew her notes were only a few words scribbled down. Then she got up and spoke beautifully of the gifts Opa gave her: a love of reading, an appreciation of music, the respect of hard work, and the importance of organization. It was lovely. She is so eloquent, that wonderful Mom of mine.

Afterwards everyone gathered in the reception hall and shared stories of his life. A man greeted me and told me it was Opa who urged him to travel to China to teach as he had done, and when that was over Opa further urged him to mentor in the Newport schools. The man is still mentoring today.

The circumstances were so sad, but it was wonderful to see my family. And while we were sad, we were happy for Opa. He was a man of great faith, and we're certain he is rejoicing. He was an enthusiastic servant of God, his service and devotion to the church are inspiring. While we will miss him here, it's hard to feel justified in being sad when there is such an amazing life to think back on and be grateful for.

My visit to Rhode Island has been brief, but meaningful. Wednesday when I flew in my sister Gracie and her partner Reese were waiting for me at the airport! Nothing sets my heart and mind quite at ease like being with my sister. We can communicate so much with just a glance, and our jokes are all just ridiculous. We ran on the walking belt at the airport like two kids and I felt home. My friend Chuck invited us, Amy, and Justin to his place when I got in, and we had a chance to meet his new girlfriend the artist Angry Amy. I'm no psychic, but I see good things in the future for those two!

Today I visited Hoxsie in the morning, the bank where I worked for several years. It was great to see my wonderful friends there! And everyone is pregnant, well three of my good friends, it feels like everyone! They looked stunning and adorable with their little bellies. Then I went met up with Amy. A similar ease to being with Gracie falls over me when I'm with Amy. We have been close friends for eighteen years and enjoy a shared language of references to stories we've written over the years, humorous memories, school time adventures, the Who, Red Dwarf, ("and I've never read...a book....") Eek the Cat, Monty Python sketches, etc. Adam joined us soon after, still fresh from his crushing defeat when I beat him to New England. (On Wednesday Adam challenged me to a race as I flew to New England and he drove across New York. After I beat him I told him "Don't bring a truck to a plane fight!" To be fair, he had started his journey in Alaska--no joke).

We went to Clyde's for cider and donuts and laughed the afternoon away. We met more friends and some of my father's family for dinner. Aunt Lizzie had us laughing all night and Adam had us all in stitches with his epic tale of how he escaped mutant goats during his drive from Alaska. I finally had a chance to meet baby Lila, and! What a sweet baby. Chris and Will are already fabulous parents. Watching how Lila lit up every time she saw Christine made my whole day. And seeing Chris blossom into motherhood was truly beautiful. She had such a graceful ease with Lila, she was very calm, very soothing to her baby girl. After focusing on a loved one's life coming to a close yesterday, it lifted my spirits to see one beginning. And so brightly! She is a precious baby.

Tomorrow I fly back to Washington. Ryan and I plan to visit in February and it's already circled on my calendar. This has been the hardest visit I have made to Rhode Island since I left for the west. It was sad circumstances which brought me home, and then I was only really home two full days. I keep feeling like I have another 3-4 to go and I have to remind myself this is it. I didn't get to see everyone I usually do. This is my favorite time of the year in New England, I wish I had just a couple days more. All the doorsteps have pumpkins and mums, the neighborhoods are full of houses all decked out in Halloween lights and cotton spiderwebs. And I like the west coast, but I miss my family and friends here so much.

Still I confess, even though it's been just a few days I miss my husband. We spend so much time together, walking around without him at my side is a strange feeling. It's not just romance and cuddling, it's palling around and inside jokes. We're truly best friends, we just never tire of each other's company. I don't like to be leaving Rhode Island so soon, but I am excited to get back to him. For his part he has sent a steady stream of 'I miss you' messages, with 'I'm starving, please come feed me actual food' pleas peppered in.

SPEAKING of husbands--one of my best pals in the world, Tim McMahon proposed to the lovely Miss Sara Croninger last night! Preston, Kaela, and I have been happily hearing reports from him for oh, the last 2-3 months, as he braved family, fate, and finances to secure her ring. I don't know of a young man in modern times who has done so much to secure his lady love a ring he felt would be perfect for her, a ring that would live up to her in his heart. I really hope he tells her the tale with all of his usual Tim bravado, because it really was a heck of a quest. I could not be more thrilled for the two of them. Marriage at its best makes family out of friends, and they deserve all of the happiness it has to offer!

And so in the past few days I've experienced the celebration of a life lived well, a childhood friend's smile beaming up at me from the face of her baby girl, and the announcement of a new union of two friends on the horizon. Life, renewal, and love. I'm feeling blessed tonight.


  1. Well done! You've experienced a whole gamut of emotions, coped with them all - and now are ready to move on! Which is just what your Opa would want (and, I suspect, expect) of you!

    Good luck - look forward to seeing more illustrations and reading their stories! Have missed them.

    Safe journey back home!

    By the way, have got a follower on my blog called Grace Dunn (is that your Mom?) She's based in the East, but not sure it's Rhode Island. My geographical knowledge of the US has got rusty over the years! Alas, even living in Canada, I didn't really get a proper grip!

  2. It's always amazing to go back to a place that you call home. :) So glad that you had such an emotionally satisfying visit, albeit under sad circumstances.

    (Also-huge Red Dwarf fan! "No way anyone ever called you Ace. Maybe Ace-hole.")

  3. Isobel, Grace is my sister! And she's a big fan of your cuddlies!

    Poorrobin, I love Red Dwarf! The toaster was my particular favorite growing up :)


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