Tuesday, January 12, 2010

As you may have noticed, I'm not blogging much lately. December was a crazy, overwhelming month for me. The new year hasn't been as crazy, but things are just crap. Work is okay, but things at home are not. I really don't know what's going to happen. The only reason Master and I are still a couple is because I'm fighting tooth and nail to try to keep my marriage together. He's ready to give up. We went to that one counseling session together, but Master doesn't want to keep going because he doesn't think it will help. I have another appt. with the counselor at the end of the month. I spend most of my time at home feeling depressed and broken. I cry a lot. I keep going back and forth between wanting to fight for my marriage and thinking I really would be better off on my own. I really don't know what to do. I don't know what's going to happen.

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Friday, January 01, 2010

The Trip to Texas

I have come away from this trip with one main thought: I love my family. I love my family. In this case, it was my dad's side of the family; they are loving, intelligent, interesting, funny, hilarious people!! Having such an awesome family made this trip so much easier and so much better.


I left Wednesday afternoon and flew to Dallas. I was fortunate that I was able to find a decent priced ticket to DFW. It would've been about $1000 more for me to fly straight to Lubbock! My cousin Kyra was flying to Dallas from Tampa a little earlier, so her mom, my aunt Char (who lives in Dallas), picked up Kyra and then me. I hadn't seen either of them in four years, when all of us spent Christmas in Lubbock at my granddad's. It was great to see them. Kyra is a year older than I am, and while she and I have never gotten to spend a ton of time together, we always have such a great time when we are together! Char is also really cool. She's fun, but I think the thing I appreciate most about her is that she's really honest and straightforward. She's not rude or tactless at all, but if we're talking about something or I ask about something, she's just always honest and real about it. I think that's awesome.


The three of us left Thursday morning to drive to Lubbock. The viewing/visitation was Thursday evening at the funeral home, and we wanted to get there a little while before that in order to get to our hotels, change clothes, etc. We spent the entire 6 hour driving talking about all kinds of stuff, but a lot of it was family stuff.

I think possibly the most surreal experience of my life happened a little outside of Lubbock. We're driving along, and we're in the left lane because we're about to pass a truck in the right lane. Char was driving, Kyra was in the passenger seat, and I was sitting behind Char. As our front bumper is nearly along side the back bumper of the truck, I happened to look in the side rearview mirror of the truck. And I saw my granddad. Plain as day, it was him. It was totally, absolutely his face from about 10-15 years ago, not so recently when he'd started to decline. Kyra was in the middle of talking about something, but I just talked right over her to say, "Kyra, look in that mirror." She was absolutely silent, and I could tell that she saw it too. She reached back and grabbed my leg and I grabbed her hand. Neither of us could speak. We just kept staring at this image of our granddad in the mirror. Char finally asked what we were looking at and Kyra just said, "Mom, I'll tell you in a minute," because she just couldn't even say it yet. Well, of course, Char couldn't have guessed that we're seeing our granddad in the mirror, so the only thing she could come up with was that the man driving the truck was somehow exposing himself!! (We could never figure out how that was even possible unless he had something really impressive to show off. LOL) All this time, Char had stayed about the same spot next to the truck because obviously something was going on. It took Kyra another minute to tell her mom what we were seeing, and then Char could kind of see what we were talking about. I'm sure the angle she was looking at made a difference. And then Char had to tell us what her original thought was! We got a good chuckle out of that, which helped to break the intensity of the moment a little. The funny thing was, when we finally pulled up next to the truck, other than maybe the slant of his nose, the driver looked nothing like my granddad! It was just so unbelievable to see his face like that. If Kyra hadn't also seen it, I would seriously doubt that it actually happened.

So we got into Lubbock okay and we all got to our hotels, so on and so forth. The visitation went well. I got emotional when I first saw my granddad in the coffin. He looked alright, considering the weight he'd lost recently. But it was still hard. For the most part, things were light-hearted enough. I was happy to see other family. I was still glad when it was over, though. Sometimes it's awkward to just stand around and try to talk to people that I don't really know.

After the visitation most of us grabbed some food and went back to the house. I had to work really hard when we first got there to not get emotional about being there and my granddad not being there. We all just kind of relaxed and ate and joked around. I love being related to funny people. :)

The funeral was Friday afternoon and the church that Granddad went to was kind enough to provide lunch for us before the service. There was some family that didn't arrive until late Thursday night or Friday morning, so that gave us all a good chance to visit. I have to admit that when it comes to my dad's side of the family, I think I'm a little biased towards Memaw's side than my granddad's. We've always spent more time with them, and frankly, I think they're more fun. So I was a little bummed to be seated with people from my granddad's side, but we still had nice conversations.

The actual funeral service was... perfect. Wonderful. The first person to speak was Steve, one of my granddad's nephews from Oklahoma. He had lived with my grandparents when he was in college in Lubbock and had worked with Granddad on the farm during that time. He had written my granddad a week before, mainly just to say thank you. Granddad had never gotten to read it, so Steve read part of it as part of his remarks. He had beautiful and funny things to say.

My cousin Kyra had made a list of things that she'd learned from our granddad. It was also beautiful and funny. I had talked to her that morning and she said that she'd tried reading through the list as practice and only made it about half way through before breaking down. I offered to stand up there with her if she thought that would help. So that's what we did. I didn't say anything and Kyra ended up doing a wonderful job.

The last person to speak was my second cousin David. He had also lived with my granddad while he was in college, only about 5 years ago, and had also worked out on the farm with him a little. David and his wife and their baby are actually getting Granddad's house. I think that's a pretty cool thing. David also spoke about things he had learned from my granddad and some of what he said overlapped a little with what Kyra had said, but he also had a lot of good, unique things to say. It was so beautiful. It was one of those services where the people who speak really knew the person, so it's wonderful and heartfelt and true. I cried a lot, as did most of us there, but it was the kind of funeral that Granddad deserved.

From the church we went to the graveside little service, and then the family went back to the house (with many of us making a quick stop to change clothes). We ordered pizza and sat around eating and visiting. After dinner we had the interesting task of starting to divide up my grandparent's things. It actually started out on a light note because some of us started joking about treating it like a white elephant gift exchange! A number of things had already been promised to people, so those things were claimed first. After that it was kind of a "first come, first serve" sort of thing. I'm sure in a lot of families, that could be a recipe for disaster and conflict. There were certainly moments when it could have turned into that, but I'm so proud that people just let things go and didn't argue about any of it. We were going through the house both Friday night and a good chunk of Saturday, but everyone was just really great about it. There was only one thing that had already been promised to me, which I claimed quickly, but there were some other things that I also took - a few pictures, a few Christmas ornaments with my name on them, a couple pieces of Memaw's crystal, and a couple other things. I'm happy about it. :)

So that kind of sums things up after the funeral. We did a little more sorting and claiming and such on Sunday morning/early afternoon. Mom, Char, Kyra, and I finally left Granddad's house early that afternoon to go eat some lunch. We were starving. I didn't really take the time to say good-bye to the house when we left. It would've been too hard. And, who knows, maybe I'll make it back some day.

My cousin Robin (Char's other daughter and Kyra's older sister) had suggested an Italian place in town, so the four of us headed there. It was called One Italian Guy from Italy or something like that. It didn't look like much, inside or out, but the food there was pretty good! We all ate way too much, but it was so good and we were so hungry. We also had some really good conversation. I love visiting with my family!

After our late lunch, we went to see a woman who's my aunt, biologically speaking. You can read more about what I'm talking about in this previous post. So, the one sister, Joann, actually lives in Lubbock. I met her once before, but I was a baby, so of course I don't remember it. So this was basically going to be the first time we've really met. We've talked before about going to see her when we're in Lubbock, but it's just never worked out. But I had told Char and Kyra on the way to Lubbock that I felt like we should go see her while we were there. (They're in touch with her regularly.) I don't know if or when I'll make it back to Lubbock, so I figured that if I was ever going to meet her, it needed to be this trip. So we went. We only stayed for about an hour and Joann did most of the talking. But she was really nice and funny and I could tell that she was really happy to meet me. I got to see some old pictures of the family when they were kids and of my biological grandparents. Kyra hadn't even seen them before, and she was kind of excited because our grandfather and her have the same nose, and she'd never known where it came from before! I think stuff like that is kind of cool.

Anyway, when we left Joann's house, I had to say good bye to Mom because Char, Kyra, and I were leaving town from there. (If you're on Facebook, there's a picture of Mom and me where I'm trying not to cry.) I was glad that I got to spend some time with Mom, since it was going to be summer before we saw each other again.

So the three of us ladies got on the road again, heading back to Dallas. It was another really good trip with great conversation. No surreal moments this time, though. We ate dinner at Whataburger in Abilene. It was cool to drive past where I went to college and see the new building they recently finished. I also really enjoyed Whataburger, although it's a good thing that they're not here in Canada because the food is SO not good for me! I think they're mainly in Texas, really.

To sum up the rest, it was late when we made it back to Char's house and we were all tired, so we went to bed fairly soon after getting there. We left early the next afternoon for Char to drop Kyra at one airport and then me at the other. I love them.

I have an idea in my head to try to plan a family get-together for the summer of 2011, probably in Oklahoma. It would be for my paternal grandmother's side of the family, which - like I said before - is the side of my dad's family that we all know better and have spent more time with. I've told a few people, and so far everyone seems to like the idea. We all enjoy being together so much and we all hate that it only seems to happen at funerals. So I'm going to change that! I'm already looking forward to seeing all these great family members again. :)

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