The past four weeks have been beyond hectic.
First there was Grandmother's failing health. I spent a few days in limbo after learning of her renal failure. Once I was told that she was declining rapidly, I flew to Richmond, Virginia to be with her. I fully expected her to die while I was there, and didn't even book a return flight. But I underestimated her completely! After being there almost a week, I decided to return home. It was a great week - a chance for me to reconnect with family and get to know them in ways I hadn't before. I'll never forget my cousin Holman's story about Junior. And I learned that my Aunt Lucy is a force to be reckoned with. Talk about a strong and graceful woman! I stayed with my stepmother and got to visit with her better than I have in the last four years, and saw all kinds of other relatives. And, of course, there was lots of bonding with Grandmother, which I already wrote about here. It was a good week, but exhausting too.
I got home and spent the next week catching up on being gone, and also preparing for our Jamaican vacation. I had to plan for Grandma to watch our kids at our house, which meant grocery shopping and laundry and cleaning the house and changing sheets. Not to mention packing and trying to find clothes that fit now that I have lost 27 pounds. (Oh, but don't get too excited! I put on 8 while I was gone the next two weeks!)
There was still a chance that we wouldn't go on vacation because Grandmother was still declining. I spoke to my extended family and they all encouraged us to go to Jamaica anyway. So... we did.
We left on Monday, May 4. I'll go into detail about the trip in my next post. Oooo, baby! You don't want to miss that!
While still in Jamaica on Saturday, May 9, I got a call from my sister that Grandmother had died just a few minutes earlier. The poor maid who was cleaning our room at the time didn't know what to do with me as I started blubbering into the phone. I found Dan, Beth and Sean at the pool and we went into planning mode. To skip ahead in the story (I'll detail it all later too), we ended up keeping our same return travel plans.
Our flight landed at 10:30pm on Monday, May 11. Poppy brought Katie to the airport, along with our minivan, and we were on the road by 11:30pm. We drove ALL NIGHT LONG to Virginia to make it to Grandmother's funeral by 11am Tuesday morning. Again, more details to follow.
Wednesday morning, we woke and got right back in the car and drove all the way back to Missouri. Finally, we were home and exhausted. I've spent the last four days trying to catch up on laundry, email, uploading the 700+ photos that I took, grieving, cuddling with my kids who I sorely missed, and trying desperately to hang on to the feelings of peace and joy that I felt in Jamaica. Today is the first day I feel somewhat level-headed. Doesn't mean I'm stable and balanced, but I feel like I have a small grasp on the whirlwind that has been my life.
Let's sum it up this way. Here is a photo of the sunset over Jamaica on Monday night:
And here is a photo of the sun rising over Kentucky near mile marker 151 on I-64 Tuesday morning:
And here's a photo as the sun waned Tuesday night over Illinois:
This was taken at dusk as we returned to St. Louis:
How many people get to experience a sunset in Jamaica, a sunrise in Kentucky, a sunset and then sunrise in Virginia, then a sunset in Missouri? Whew!!!
And, now... here come all the details I've been promising! I'll start working on some posts and photo slide shows. Stay tuned!