Tuesday, March 13, 2007

A Wedding and a Funeral

I had a busy week last week. I had to fly up to Bloomington, Indiana for my gramma's funeral AND to Santa Fe for a friend's wedding. I feel a bit like Hugh Grant, except, well, that I am nothing like Hugh Grant. Or Andi McDowell for that matter.

The trip to Bloomington was generally fine. In a way it was a relief to know that gramma is finally free of her pain and suffering. By the end, things were pretty grim. She spent a couple of days willing herself to die and being disappointed every time she woke up from sleeping. It makes me wonder which is worse - diseases like cancer that allow the mind to stay sharp while the body deteriorates or diseases like Alzheimer's that have the opposite effect. Undeniably, both are terrible on the people around you, but it would seem that in most instances the person with the disease suffers less with the mind-destroying ailments.

I saw my sister and my nieces (along with my mom, of course). The last time I saw them, my oldest niece was 2 and my other niece was not yet born. Now they are 8 and 4. They are very sweet little girls and it was great to get to know them. I'll be seeing them again in April when Mike and I take a trip to see mom's new house in Utah. I'm looking forward to that.

My sister and I got along fine. But I've reverted back to my old ways of just keeping quiet about things that I don't agree with. I think that is okay at this point because our relationship is different now than it once was. We shall see, I guess.

It was really odd going through gramma's house and deciding who wanted what. I took a few things that remind me of growing up and gramma's house. And the two things that I'll treasure most - gramma's passport from 1965, when she travelled to Europe for a teaching program (I also have my dad's last passport), and an 8x10 photo of her teaching french class in the 60's. I also took the hand-marked trip diary that she wrote while she was in France and I intend to transcribe it and send it around to my family members. That trip to France was my gramma's "big adventure" in life and for some reason I sort of fixated on that. Maybe because we spent a lot of time when I was in college talking about France (I did an exchange program there and almost minored in French). Those things mean so much more to me than the "valuable" stuff that the rest of my family members seemed to fixate on. And maybe I'm wrong for saying or even thinking this, but I'm pretty happy with who I am as a result of realizing that distinction.

On to the happier part of my week...

Mike and I got back yesterday afternoon from a short trip to Santa Fe. One of our best friends from Dallas (who has relocated to New York) got married. When we lived in Dallas, Christine and I would lament the weird Texas dating scene (and politics). However she had great luck meeting guys in New York who shared her interests and found her to be the smart, funny attractive person that we knew she was. About a year after moving to New York (she left Dallas the same time we did), she met her now-husband. And I've never seen her happier.

After the wedding on Sunday evening, Mike and I stuck around New Mexico yesterday and drove up to Los Alamos, where Christine grew up (her dad is a physicist there). It is a really amazing part of the country and I'm so glad that we had a chance to drive around a bit, although our time there was too short. I love to see where my friends come from. It always gives me much more insight into how they grew up to be the people that I know.

I've never been happier to be home in my own bed than I was last night. I was also really happy to see the sun and feel the warm LA air yesterday afternoon. It will take me the next couple of days to thaw out.

2 comments:

Transplanted Lawyer said...

My condolences on your loss; while it sounds as if it were not unexpected this sort of thing is still a blow when it happens.

Your story reminded me of when my grandmother died. One of my relatives became really greedy and pushy about all the jewelry she believed my grandmother had hidden somewhere (there was none) and eventually, we agreed to liquidate everything after everyone got to pick one memento. I took the well-worn 7x9 platebook of Audobon's Birds of America because it reminded me of how much joy my grandmother took in being able to name all the birds that she saw in her yard. The book couldn't possibly sell for more than two dollars, but it's one of the most valuable things I own and one of three or four material things I would take with me from a house fire after I saw to it that my wife and animals were safe.

It sounds like your grandmother's diary from her trip to France will be the same sort of thing for you. I hope it will always make you smile when you look through it.

Lisa said...

Leila,

I am so sorry to hear about your Gramma. I hope that you're doing OK.

Best,
Lisa