My grandma's funeral was yesterday. I drove to Arizona Tuesday night so that I could take my kids, then we spent pretty much all day Wednesday in the car. It was a long drive, but it was a pretty drive.
I got stuck in a gas station parking lot in Flagstaff, AZ. They got at least a foot of snow, probably more, and I'm not used to driving in it anymore. I had to do that thing where you spin out for a second in reverse, then in first gear, then in reverse, then in first gear to try and get out. Just as Togers offered to get out and push, the tires finally grabbed. Luckily that was the only "problem" we had on the road though.
We were on some icy roads near the Arizona-Utah border, and my kids all laughed when they saw a Forest Service sign saying that fire danger was "moderate" that day. Remember, there was at least a foot of snow blanketing the forest. The sign turned out to be spot on though because we drove by a tree that was smoldering. We have no idea how it would have ignited, but we decided we wouldn't doubt Smokey the Bear ever again. We stopped and played in the snow for a few minutes, but it was so cold we didn't want to be out of the car for very long.
My dashboard display has a thermometer that tells what the outside temperature was, and when it dropped down to four degrees, we decided to have one of those contests to see who could hold their hand out the window the longest. It came down to a stand-off between me and Tortellini. It was painful. I yelled, "I AM NOT GOING TO LOSE TO YOU!!!" but in the time it took me to yell that, I couldn't handle it anymore, so two seconds later pulled my hand in and said, "Alright, you win." She wouldn't play again when the temperature dropped to zero though. The low temperature that night? Twenty-one degrees below zero. It was the first time in a long time I felt my nostrils freeze when I inhaled through my nose.
Mr M was full of questions about the funeral the night before. Where was it going to be, how long was it going to be, etc.
Mr M: Are you going to cry like a little baby tomorrow?
Mr M: Can we have a snowball fight at the graveyard?
Me: Absolutely not!
Mr M: I'm going to let people have snowball fights at my funeral.
It was nice to see a lot of my extended family again. Some of them I hadn't seen in over five years. I drove away with the realization that it could very well have been the last time I'd ever see them since my grandmother was basically the glue that held the family together. I don't know what's worse, that realization, or being okay with it if it turns out to be the case.
After the funeral, my uncle asked all the grandchildren to stop by my grandmother's house to see if there was anything they'd like to take to remember her by. I took a crystal candy dish, and a Christmas ornament. Tortellini took some porcelain dolls that my grandma had made. Togers found an old polaroid camera (something which he'd already been asking me to get him) and a fountain pen that he kept. Mr M had the most eclectic "inheritance" though. He came up to me with a piece of cardboard and a wooden hammer and asked if he could keep those. I told him he could. Then he found a jar of paperclips that he wanted because he could use them to make a cool necklace. He also made off with an old wooden cane, and a long robot arm type of thing my grandma used to grab things off of high shelves with. He's been playing with it ever since.
The silver lining in all of this is that now I have a few more memories with my kids, and they have a few more with their grandparents (whose house I'm at now). Grandma said she wanted her funeral to be a joyous occasion, and there was enough laughing and joking among the tears that I think she'd have been happy with that.