Friday, June 7, 2013

Grandpa Curtis Lee's Funeral

I mentioned last week that my Grandpa Curtis passed away.  It was unexpected and I had a hard time believing it was really true the first few days.  He was so healthy and always so physically strong.  In just a day and a half, my Dad and his siblings and my Grandma Shirley planned the funeral program and all of my siblings who live far away had secured plane tickets.  It's always nice to have something that big to plan to help in working through grief.  That's why I was glad to have three airport pickups last Saturday.  Katy and Bryce came in at 4:00pm and we went to the Blue Iguana in Salt Lake for dinner.
We ate outside because it was a perfect, perfect day.  The three of us walked around City Creek for a little while, got distracted by lipstick and almost missed our window to pick up Melissa at the airport at 7:00pm.  Woops!  We made it, though, and went back to City Creek to wait for Aaron and Lori.
Bryce gets recognized everywhere he goes.  He's gotta play it cool.
I stole this right off Melissa's blog!
 Aaron and Lori finally showed up (they're getting married next month!) and met Bryce.  (Lori was meeting Melissa and Katy in person for the first time.  I was surprised when I realized how often it's happened in our family that siblings are meeting the new in-law the day they get married to one of the brothers or sisters.)
We chatted and walked around to pass the time before we picked up Allyn at the airport at 10:50pm (which ended up being 11:30pm).
I was counting on Melissa getting to a blog post before me, so there are no photos of me during this grand airport pick-up adventure. :)  That's probably best.  I was most definitely there, though.
The next morning the boys had a meeting with Bryce about boy stuff.  (I love that Colin is wearing his hat from Grandma Peggy.  He's always wearing it and I'm always forgetting to tell Grandma how much he loves it.)  We divided into our two vehicles (our boys and Brian in one, the girls and Bryce in the van) and headed to Pocatello.  Jen, Makenzie, and Aaron were already there and Rob came a few minutes after us.  All eight kids at Mom and Dad's house!  Together again!  I don't have a photo of that.  I was too busy chasing a twin around, trying to keep anyone from destroying anything.
Here are most of the girls, anyway.  You can see Makenzie's hair on the left and I'm taking the picture, so I'm kind of in it.  I didn't even take my camera to the viewing a few hours later.  I was correct in assuming the boys would be in full DESTRUCTION mode.  They were so crazy that Brian left early and took them to our hotel (yes, a hotel - no one needs all that noise at one house).  I had a wonderful time talking with the cousins and saying goodbye to Grandpa one last time.  He looked like he was sleeping peacefully.  Brian encouraged me to hold his hand and I'm glad I did.  

Brian and I spent the night on a king-sized bed with Emil and Colin.  They spin constantly in their sleep!  I got kicked in the face so many times that I was mostly awake with my hands ready to deflect Colin's fast and furious feet.  We had plenty of time to chase the boys around the breakfast room and get ready for the funeral.  While I was curling Bridget's hair, Emil grabbed the curling iron (hot end) and we had to try to console him for the next hour or so before it was time to go.  Burns are the worst.  

We made it, though.  Brian kept the boys in the chapel while I went in for the family prayer before the funeral.  Every single talk, piece of music, prayer, was so exactly right.  Dad, Uncle Larry, and Aunt Candace all took a turn on Grandpa's life sketch.  Then my cousins Gene and David spoke, and my sister Melissa.  They represented the grandchildren very well.  I think it was Gene who said Grandpa was an extraordinary, ordinary man.  I loved that.  (I was the chorister and my Mom played the organ.  It was such a pleasure to get to see everybody's faces.)  I know I missed some good stuff because of the sounds of goldfish crackers being crunched and fruit snack bags being opened and two year-old boys jumping over the backs of benches.  My sincere apologies to anyone who was distracted by the sideshow.  

All the cousins and some of the great-grandchildren sang "Love at Home" together.  It was amazing.  It sounded beautiful.  Like Allyn said, it was surreal to be standing between cousins singing and hearing your own voice.  I was glad the men had a whole verse to sing because the moment they started I had to try to compose myself all over again.  After the musical number, Aunt Candace, Uncle Larry, and Dad all spoke again.  Each of their talks inspired me to be the kind of parent Grandpa Curtis was to them.  From always starting his phone conversations with Aunt Candace with, "How's my beautiful girl today?" to teaching Uncle Larry about keeping your word no matter the difficulty of the situation, to waiting to buy my Dad new shoes for basketball until Dad had worked his way to a starting position.  Grandpa was such a good man.

The cemetery was next, and the boys fell asleep on the way over, so we left them in one of the cars.  That was also a lovely ceremony.
Nick, Mark, Cole (Aunt Candace's boys), David, Michael (Uncle Larry's boys), Aaron and Rob (my brothers)
Pallbearers again.  Nick is a member of the Coast Guard.  I love this photo - Melissa took it. :)
My Mom and Dad at the graveside.  (Melissa's photo.)
Another one that is my favorite.  Thanks, Melissa.
They had a sweet thing with balloons.  Everyone who wanted to could think of a memory of Grandpa, then release the balloon.
It has been years (YEARS) since I have seen all my Lee cousins at the same time.  They are the most fun.  I can't believe I forgot some of the stuff we did together.  (Dean Ray popping out of the closet in our room when Jen, Sherri and I had been in there talking for a while.  "Miami Vice."  Michael's knock-knock joke - "Surely [Shirley] you have a washing machine!")  It was wonderful to catch up and hear stories from the next generation (I'm a lot older than my Busby cousins).
Aunt Margaret and Uncle Ray (he's Grandma Shirley's brother)
It's Jess!  (And Melissa.)  Jessica is my cousin Cole's wonderful wife.  I love that she keeps in touch so diligently.
That's Katy talking to my Dad.  It's like he's talking to a younger version of my Mom.  So freaky.
While I was talking and enjoying myself with the cousins, Brian was discovering that the car battery had died and he had to jump it with the van and go get a new battery.  Instead of just getting a battery, Brian felt like he needed to stop at this place to have them look at it:
He discovered the man who works there, Mitch, knew Grandpa Curtis well and that they went to church together.  We both know that Grandpa would have told us to go there (there was more wrong than the battery).  And we both believe Grandpa did tell us to go there and get help from Mitch. :)  There was a lot of switching car seats from one vehicle to another and lots of sweating in a dress and pantyhose for me.  All worth it.  We took the van and the boys back to the church for some Feats of Strength and Speed at the funeral luncheon.  I didn't take any pictures there because Emil kept making a break for the road (as in getting out of the room and running to the exit before we noticed he was gone) and Colin kept trying to follow him and bring him to justice.  I'm sweating again just thinking about it.  (So, all these photos are Melissa's.)
Grandma with her brothers, Ray and Charlie.  Melissa overheard Grandma and Ray teasing each other.  So cute.
Grandma Shirley with her three children, Bob (my Dad), Candace, and Larry.
All of the Bob Lee family who could come.
We got back to my parents' house and got a call from Quigley's that the car was done.  By the time we got back from picking up the car, it was time to high-tail it back to the airport to drop off Melissa.  We made it in time, but I needed (NEEDED) a waffle from Bruge's.
I feel like I haven't caught up on my sleep yet.  I took Allyn to the airport the next morning at 4:30, came back and took Katy and Bryce to the airport at 8:00am.  Whew!  Then summer started. 

It was really wonderful to visit with cousins and aunts and uncles and second cousins.  Everyone is so good.  A perfect tribute to Grandpa Curtis - his family. 


allyn said...

I am so glad you do this! Thank you so much for perfectly reselling the events of the weekend. It was fabulous to see cousins and siblings, aunts and uncles. I have been tired all week as well, and I didn't even have to chase babies or do ten airport runs. Marathon woman!!

melissa said...

Thanks so much for getting us where we needed to go and for also taking pictures so that I can prove I was there, too. Thanks for this lovely post.

Jess said...

Hey, I'm in your blog! That's always fun. :) I can't believe you had to get some car repairs done that SAME day! Glad it all worked out. It was good to see you, and we look forward to setting up that barbecue. :)