Friday, April 11, 2014

Being "Thankful For My Family" Doesn't Begin to Describe How I'm Feeling Right About Now

 The funeral was yesterday.  My heart broke for those parents whom Fate had led to sit in front of an open casket, draped with both a folded American flag and an Arkansas Razorback flag, bearing the body of their 24 year-old son. My heart broke for his siblings.  My heart broke for the love of his life and mother of his child. For his son and extended family. For his brothers and sisters in arms. For his church family. For every parent in that room.

The slide show celebrating his life brought both tears and laughter. The three different preachers got their message of salvation across. The music was both iconic and touching, ranging from "Amazing Grace" to Kenny Chesney to Christian rap, among others. I must admit, I've never heard Christian rap before. It was interesting.

The whole service exhausted me. And it terrified me, as you will see, with good cause.

SIL#2 and Younger Daughter sat beside #2's mother in the front row.

The evening before, Wednesday evening, my precious young family was on I-30, on its way to the visitation, in stop-and-go rush hour traffic.  #2 was driving their 6 day-old Toyota Venza while YD sat in back with 10 month-old Grandbaby#5, without wearing her seatbelt so she could more easily tend to #5. (The car was their second brand-new car in less than a month, by the way, because the first one turned out to be a genuine, irreparable, dangerous lemon. This one was much better.)

SIL#2 had come to a safe stop, along with the flow of traffic, and (fortunately) within a reasonable distance from the car ahead of him, when YD saw him coming. She flung herself over the baby the split second before she felt the impact.

Daughter was slammed around the back seat; SIL#2 smacked his head on the windshield, even though he was wearing his seat belt. No air bags deployed. Thank God for a strong car seat -- a little fear was the worst that the Grandbaby suffered. The new car was, of course, rendered not drivable, but SIL managed to get it limpingly to the shoulder anyway, and without being driven into the car in front of them..

The unlicensed, non-English-speaking driver, with no insurance, who plowed into them at 50 mph in stop and go traffic told the State Trooper, before he was taken away on a stretcher to be treated at a hospital at taxpayer expense, that he had just consumed "solamente tres cervezas." (Only three beers.) And, we all know that "solamente tres cervezas" probably means several mas cervezas than tres.

Is my rage showing?

Pepper pulled into the driveway from running with Grandbaby#1 just as I was pulling out, so he hopped in the car with me and we got to the kids, during rush hour, in record time. I took #2 an ice pack. I'm not sure it helped him, but it helped me to be able to do something.

Today, the day after that sad, sad funeral, just remembering that phone call from Younger Daughter and its aftermath has opened the spigot on my teary faucet. I have sent up countless prayers thanking my good God for sheltering my family and preventing what might have been. My Facebook post thanked God and Toyota for their safety. The kids went to the ER later Wednesday evening with #2's father and his wife and checked out fine, but for the whiplash. They took a goofy photo there that showed them trussed up in neck braces, grinning and flashing thumbs up. YD texted the pic to me and Elder Daughter, captioning it as this year's Christmas card photo. I think the good drugs had kicked in by then.

They were stiff and sore yesterday, and SIL#2 still has a pretty impressive goose egg on his forehead, but they could have been so, so much more worse off. I can't imagine the panic that SIL#2's mother must have felt when she got that call from #2 explaining why they couldn't make it to the visitation.

The stress level at Moogie's Manor is running pretty high right about now, and we can't really put all of this behind us until Tuesday. We will bury that young man in the VA Cemetery on Tuesday -- the first day available for a burial. Pepper worked his contacts to smooth the process for the parents. Thirty-five years of military service pay off in the most unusual ways sometimes.

So. I need to turn my thoughts to happier places in my mind. How about more Spring flower pictures?

This is the bed in the side yard.  We put in the geraniums and croton earlier in the week. The pop of color makes us happy.

This is another view of the bed. The Son and his family gave me that Bottle Tree for Christmas. I really like it. Annnnd, I've added a couple of bottles to it since Christmas!  ;-)

I love the white azaleas beneath the Japanese maple at the top of the driveway.

This is the white dogwood and its companion Japanese maple beside the front door as seen from the dining room windows. I took this pic yesterday because gazing at this natural beauty reveling in the filtered sunlight gave me such a sense of peace.

Tell your loved ones how much they are loved. We are not promised tomorrow.

I hope this is the end of that Case of the Creeps I posted about in March. I think I'll go play in the dirt some more.


  1. I'm so sorry you all have been going through so much. And I'm not sure I should have read this post - I sort of live in a permanent state of paranoia about my daughter and her family as is.

  2. Thank you, PH. Hold them close.

  3. Years ago when my kids were little, I attended a women's retreat where Barbara Johnson was the guest speaker. She wrote the book, "Stick a Geranium in Your Hat and Be Happy." She told funny stories of her four sons and husband and their life together. Then she told how her husband had a terrible accident, then one son was killed in Vietnam, and a second son was killed in a car crash, etc. I can remember thinking that I could not possibly live through all of that.

    A friend of my daughter's died this past winter of cancer - she was 24 years old. Her memorial service was awesome, but still sad. I don't know if I could have had such a great attitude as the family had.

    But when I get to feeling like I could never cope with such tragedy, I try to remember that God gave me all that I have and He can take it away and ask that we trust Him. And take comfort in Him.

  4. P.S. I'm thankful that your family is okay.

  5. You're absolutely right, Lou. And thanks.

  6. Wow. So scary! Thank God everyone's alright.

    My condolences for your loss.