Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Memorial Day Remembrances

This Memorial Day Kimball and I took the kids up to our extended family's annual tradition of decorating graves. When I was growing up, we always decorated my Uncle Joe's grave. He died when he was 18 in a car accident, long before I was born, and it was always my Grandma and Grandpa Cunningham who headed the gathering, with a picnic afterward. Now they are both gone from the Earth, their bodies buried next to Joe's, and the grave-decorating tradition lives on. I did feel emotional there, just remembering my beloved grandparents and how much I miss them. I know they are doing what they've always done, though: continuing our Heavenly Father's work.

Grandma and Grandpa are such a source of inspiration to me. They were so faithful and good, never wavering from what they knew to be correct and true. They loved each other dearly and were always together. Wherever one was, the other was there too. They did everything in their power to support their family by attending every baby blessing, baptism, play, game, concert, and anything else they were invited to...all 38 grandchildren, and numberless great-grandchildren (too many to count anymore). Grandpa, being the sweet gentleman that he was, always opened the car door for Grandma, both getting in and out. In Grandma's last years, as her health gradually worsened, Grandpa was always by her side. He was so devoted to her, pushing her wheelchair, making sure she was comfortable, putting her needs before his own.

When I was younger, I used to think that dying would be scary because I wouldn't know anyone once I got to Heaven. That was the thinking I had in my young mind, and since Grandma's and Grandpa's deaths, I know for sure there will be somebody there waiting for me. I'm not saying I want it to happen anytime soon, though, don't get me wrong. I just look forward to the day when I will see them again.

As for this Memorial Day, I really enjoyed remembering my loved ones gone, and spending time with loved ones still here. After we decorated the graves and had a family prayer, we went to Uncle Rich's and Aunt Cathy's house for a barbecue/picnic. Of course, Uncle Rich made his famous root beer. It literally is the best root beer ever! The other food there was also very tasty. We stayed a few hours, eating, talking and laughing. The kids had fun getting very dirty in the sandbox. It kept them occupied almost the whole time. We also got to walk through Grandma's and Grandpa's house. It has really been fixed up nice and has a 'For Sale' sign out front. It's not the first time I've been there since they died, but it still feels so empty to be there without Grandma and Grandpa.

Before we left for the cemetery, Nathan asked me if it was the Grandpa who always gave him cookies whose grave we were decorating. I told him it was. Unfortunately, he doesn't have a remembrance of Grandma because she died while we still lived in Alaska. He only saw her twice in his life. I know he would have really liked her as much as he liked Grandpa.

Here are some pictures we captured of the day:

These are almost all the family who were in attendance at the graves, minus only the three guys (Josh, Jeremy and Doug P.) who were taking the pictures.

Jeremy was really mad about not being in the group picture, as you can tell. Lighten up, man! (That's Josh being Mr. Photographer on the bottom).

Beautiful flowers for beautiful people.

Grandpa was a veteran of World War II.

Uncle Joe gets his grave decorated the same every year, with a "J" made out of snowball flowers.

I captured some chit-chat moments of the day. Jeremy was obviously very captivating.

The background almost looks like a studio backdrop. The entire day was sunny and gorgeous, unlike last year, when we got rained out. Aren't these two adorable?

Hello to you too, Uncle Rich, and thank you for providing a comfortable place where we could gather and enjoy each other.

After the cemetery, we went to Macey's with Robert and Denise to get some hot dogs. Of course, having small children, you can't get just a regular cart. You have to get a car cart. When we got back out to our cars, we noticed the sign posted on top of the car cart. If you can't read the sign, just click on the picture to make it bigger. We got a kick out of it. Robert is simply doing what the cart states.

My word, Cathy (my sister, not aunt)! I really don't want to know what that is. Have some decency!

Lahela is training to become a gymnast, thanks to this bar in Rich and Cathy's back yard. I also love Samantha's adorable toothless smile. What cute girls we have in our family!


Lori-ann said...

That looks terrific! I wish we could have been there, darn it. :(

I miss your grandparents too. They totally took me in as their own when I joined the family. I have never met such loving people before.

big8smiley said...

Very nicely put! I love Grandma and Grandpa too. I thought the gathering this year was a lot of fun and I enjoyed talking to the relatives.

It's funny . . . that picture of Kimball and Lahela really does look like it has a fake background! It's funny.

Shnopa said...

That was a great post. I think G&G are loved by all who knew them. I really look up to them and try to follow their example.

You summed up the day well. I also thought the background looked interesting. It was such a perfect and beautiful day and I'm glad I was there. We even saw bunnies!! That always tops off a good day.