After a few very busy days, I am home at last. And it feels good.
Christmas was a blast! Pictures will be forthcoming. I ended up with over 200 pictures on my camera that day, so I need to do some deleting and editing. My nephew, Kyle, really likes playing with my camera. :)
I ended up not going to the funeral home on Christmas Eve as I had planned. The weather was ice/snow mix and I thought it was best not to drive to Pittsburgh and back all by myself. So I waited to go on Sunday with my brothers.
Sunday was church and then funeral home for my Aunt Carol. It sounds wrong to say I enjoyed my time at the funeral home, but I truly did. I got to see some people I hadn't seen in a long time. And my aunt had many photo albums put together of old pictures that she had. So my cousins, Kelly and Pete, had them there on display. It was really interesting to look through them.
There were a few pictures of my dad when he and my mom were first married. And when they only had my two oldest brothers and my sister, while she was pregnant with my brother, Paul. My dad has been dead for 25 years now, so his image has really faded from my memory. It was nice to get that image back, even if it isn't the same image that I remember exactly. It was a much younger, more vibrant image.
We reminisced about things that I had forgotten about. Like how Peter Michael (my cousin, whom my aunt always referred to as Peter Michael, so he'll always be that to me) ... anyway, how Peter Michael and I were arguing at our dinner table at the farm that I grew up on. I was a child, maybe 7 or 8 years old at the time (Pete is a couple years younger) and they had come up for a visit. We had a bull, Elmer, who was very tame. Tame enough that we were able to ride him. My dad would lift us up onto his back and walk us around with the bull on a halter. Well, Peter Michael argued with me that Elmer was a horse, because "you can't ride a cow." I argued that he was a "city boy" and I was a "country girl" so I would know the difference better than he. :)
It's funny that I can remember that.
The funeral was this morning. We had to be at the funeral home at 9:15 to get things ready, so I was up way too early (for me) so we could get there. We anticipated rush-hour traffic - coming into Pittsburgh around 8:45-9:00. Well, we didn't hit any. So we actually arrived at the funeral home around 8:45. No big deal, we just waited.
The funeral was at a Catholic church so it was long. :)
Anyway, afterward we went to the wake at a local restaurant. It was a nice time of catching up with each other. Peter Michael lives in North Carolina now, so I don't see him too often. And his step-brother, David, was there, whom I haven't seen since Kelly got married 7 years ago.
Some discouraging news came right after lunch. Hank, Kelly's husband (Kelly is my cousin - Carol was her mom) got a phone call this his 93-year-old grandmother passed away today. It wasn't a huge surprise, I'm told, but the timing pretty much stinks. So instead of them being able to just relax the rest of the week and possibly go through some of Carol's personal belongings, they will be at another funeral home. Mourning another loss. They could certainly use some prayers.
We finally got home around 3:00 and I was ready for a nap. Two trips into Pittsburgh and back in two days wiped me out. Man, I must be getting old. :)
I managed to squeeze in a short nap, then just spent the evening with the kids while Doug was at work. Now I can't keep my eyes open, so I'm off to bed.
It is very good to be home.
One thing that death teaches you ... don't hold grudges against anyone. If there needs to be forgiveness extended, please extend it. If you need to ask forgiveness from someone, do it now. Tomorrow is not a guarantee.