It was quite the weekend. Finally, after a two-month wait, we celebrated Grampie's home-going to heaven Saturday with family and friends and a nice spread of food, in true Grampie style.
We met up with Beve's family for lunch on Saturday before the service to have our own moments together before the day got too busy. It's a good thing we did, too, since I don't think I spoke to any of them again the rest of the day. But that table in the Mexican restaurant was like a family dinner at the giants' house: loud with lots of food and more conversation from one end of the table to the other. I had to stand up several times and more and more of us poured into the place, and we kept having to add tables. Grampie would have gotten such a kick out of seeing us all there together!
Sons, grandchildren, friends and co-workers rose to tell great stories, also in Grampie style. In the weeks leading up to the event, I'd culled the myriad posts about him down to 69 to set on the tables for people to read as they ate and visited and caught up with old friends. Our daughters read scripture and prayed and our dear friend J, who's like a brother to me, like an uncle to our kids, is also very much a pastor. Maybe even OUR pastor. Indeed, he and his wife (and/or daughter(s) have been a part of almost every memorial service in our families since we've known him. Actually, since I had him on speed-dial when I had to preach at my brother's in Southern California several years ago, he was part of that one as well. He's known Grampie as long as he's known us, and when he spoke of him, he knew exactly what he was saying. I leaned over to Beve at one point while he spoke and said, "I could listen to him every week!" The service ended with the slide show that--sure enough--had us all in tears...and I've been humming the music ever since. Seeing his large grin on that over-sized screen was enough to do it, I think. Grampie had such style!
Beve and I spoke to so many people we hardly had a bite to eat of the delicious-looking feast set out for the company. I hadn't realized how much we'd feel like the bride and groom. Even as I was talking to one person, I could see another out the corner of my eye, waiting to talk to me. At one point someone asked me about Beve and I said, "I haven't the faintest idea. We haven't talked all day." That made me chuckle--yep, exactly like being a bride and groom. But it was wonderful to see so many old friends, OUR friends who knew him because they knew us. And HIS friends we knew because we belonged to him. And, I just have to say I was personally thankful for the support of my own family who made a huge effort to get there. "You rock!" I've told them about a dozen times in the last couple of months. They do. I am awed by their support. Always.
I raced down to Seattle for a quick visit with my sisters Saturday night, and to check in on my aunt who had so wanted to come to the service but couldn't leave her ailing husband. It was short and sweet and good to see them all. The Indian food didn't hurt either. We had a rollicking conversation around our naan and curries. Beve, meanwhile, was entertaining old friends and the Finns up at our house, an hour in the other direction from the church.
Sunday morning, we were back at our friends' church where SK was the 'Minute For Missions' speaker in their services. She shared about her journey toward Kenya, her hopes and needs for the coming year, her heart's passion to follow God wherever He leads. She spoke well (as usual--she was a theatre major!), and it warmed my heart to see her so certain. Often Mamas hear the other side of the coin. It's our job, of course. But I know that even as she's overwhelmed right now by all the details of fund-raising, getting her shots, having all the paperwork in place for her visa, working on the music stuff, she's pressing on intentionally and prayerfully. She is certain--certain of His calling, and certain He won't let her drop.
One more meal out with my family, where SK shared more information, and we got to hold and squeeze one of our newest members (he's a smiley little sweetie!). Then we scattered to 7 different cars and drove away from a glorious weekend of celebration.
Grumpy would have loved every bit of it.