At the beginning of 2019, Aaron and I sat down and talked about trips we wanted to take. Although we have visited our home state once a year since we moved, Seattle was not on our list to visit this year. But after hearing my grandfather (who I was extremely close with) had passed away, Aaron and I revisited the conversation. To be honest, I was hesitant to go for a lot of reasons, but we ultimately decided to make it work and boarded the plane on Friday (5.17.19).
Due to the nature of our visit, we decided to coordinate childcare so we did not have to bring the girls. Partially because we wanted to be fully engaged with my family and toddlers naturally can pull you another direction but also because we would have to pay for a plane ticket for Rylie since she is 2-years-old and no longer able to sit on our laps for free. Thankfully, we were blessed with a phenomenal tribe who all pitched in to care for the girls while we interacted with our Seattle-family. It brought us so much peace knowing they were in safe, good, loving hands even though we missed them dearly.
We arrived after midnight on Saturday morning (5.18.19). By the time we got off the plane, got in the car and arrived at the house we would be staying at, it was after 2am PST, which meant we had been awake for almost 24 hours since Alabama is 2 hours ahead of Seattle which made it after 4am to us. We had just enough time to get some sleep before waking up early (baby Paisley was definitely still on Alabama time and woke me up to use the bathroom and get some food in me) and getting ready for the memorial service.
We intentionally arrived early to greet family and assist in any way we could. The service was a wonderful representation of my grandpa’s service in the military and I personally loved the slideshow / documentary style videos my brother put together and shared with the attendees.
The service was followed by a reception and interaction with family and people who knew my grandpa. There was an open mic available for those who wanted to share a story or two and my dad was quick to share a memory he had of his father. My younger brother followed closely behind before I was strongly encouraged to say something myself. Earlier that day, my aunt had brought up the letter I had written my grandpa when he initially passed away and shared how it made her feel which was very touching to me. Looking around the room, I decided most of these people would likely enjoy the letter so I decided to read it out loud for everyone.
I made it through most of the letter before crying, which I was proud of despite my attempts to withhold my tears. I was reading so I wasn’t able to see other’s reactions, but Aaron told me multiple people were in tears as well.
Shortly after, we left to get some rest. We were still recovering from our flights and adjusting to the time change.
Later that week was my grandpa’s burial. He is at a military cemetery and they host a brief ceremony to honor those who served. The service was moving and I was thankful to have received a bullet casing from one of the shots that were fired in his honor.
Following their service, we took a few family pictures and then went to the iHop that my grandpa frequently visited.
It was nice to have that time with my family and honor my grandpa’s life.