Due to the circumstances of the week, I didn't feel up to blogging everyday...so I'll do my best to recap the rest of the week for you.
First of all, I want to thank everyone for the kind birthday wishes and especially the prayers for our family during this time. We could definitely feel the prayers!
Wednesday we woke up to snow (go figure) and were on the road by 7:20. The drive was long...11 hours. We ended up with two rooms that night, so the guys were in one room and we had a sleep over with the girl cousins in our room...so much fun!
Thursday people did their own thing. We had more family roll in, some things at grandpa's needed to be taken care of, some of us went shopping, etc. It was a pretty laid back day.
Friday started bright and early. We all met in the conference room that the hotel let us use...this was a huge blessing since there were 33 of us! After we ate breakfast we all got in one big circle, joined hands, prayed over the day and shared things about grandpa...it was a really special time. After finishing up there the 7 siblings went to grandpa's apartment and then the rest of us followed. We were able to look around and see everything the way he left it before we started packing things up. It was SO hard to take in. Everyone was able to take something(s) to remember him. I was able to get one of his dishes that I plan on putting in my 'hope chest' and his road atlas too. When he found out we were moving he would always ask us about it and look it up in his atlas. He even has the cities circled in it...so it's pretty special. After that we went to the viewing. I had no intentions of seeing him, but once I got there I decided to do it. It was the first time I've ever done that...I've always been set against it. It was the strangest thing though, because it was him but it wasn't. Does that make sense? He had this peaceful look on his face, yet you knew he wasn't there. We all just sat around the room and started singing hymns, it was an amazing time. It was like our own little pre-memorial service. I cried so much that day...grieving for us, yet rejoicing for him!
Saturday was the memorial service. Besides a couple of things, it was pretty much run by the grandkids which was really neat. It was a great time to be together to celebrate his life and share with others the hope that he had in Christ. We had a reception time back at the hotel where my aunt Dora (the oldest sibling) was presented with the American flag honoring grandpa for his service in the military. Also, we were able to watch a video of my grandpa talking about different things that Jason (my cousin) took a couple years ago. That was SO neat!
Everyone left on Sunday except for us. We decided to stay one more night for which I am thankful. It gave us an opportunity to go to church on Sunday rather than travelling the day away, and we got to go see Shoshone Falls!
So much happened over the course of the week, it seems like a whirlwind. I feel like I've barely even touched the surface. We had such a wonderful time remembering/celebrating grandpa's life and spending time with family. It's been a long time since that many of us were all together...and that's not even ALL of us! :)