My grandma passed away on August 28th after a bad fall that was too much for her weakened body to recover from. My mom, along with her brothers and sisters, flew up to Colorado Springs to be with her after her fall. My mom literally made it to my grandma's bedside just minutes before she passed away. We are so grateful that she got to spend those moments with Grandma. Kevin, Jess and I flew up to CO on Wednesday. It was incredibly emotional to get together with my whole huge crazy family. My mom has seven brothers and sisters. We have 19 first cousins and most of them have lots of children of their own now. I have such amazing memories of my family growing up. We got together every other year for week long family reunions. I distinctly remember feeling such pride about our reunions as a child. Friends would talk about their reunions that would last a day or about how there would be tons of people that they didnt' even know. I remember feeling so special and so lucky that I had this sensational family full of crazy fun loving people that made me feel so loved!
My Grandma and Grandpa were always acting silly right along with everyone else. My Grandpa called me and my sisters, the Golden Girls, and I always felt so beautiful around them. I remember my grandfather being so obviously crazy in love with my grandmother. Once, when they drove their RV in to visit us, I commented on how they looked like, "twinkies" in their matching pink polos! My grandpa was so confused at my terminology! He said, "Your grandma is much too beautiful to be called a twinkie!!" He loves her like that to this very day. One of their caretakers recently wrote them both a letter telling my Grandpa that she learned what it means to be devoted and to love whole heartedly by watching his relationship with my Grandma. I feel really blessed to have a heritage of that kind of steadfast love in my family.
Jess, Kev and I flew in together and we got a surprise travel companion in my cousin Sean who walked up at DFW to board our same plane! Everyone converged at my Aunt Maureen and Uncle Jim's house where my Grandma and Grandpa have lived for the past year. They moved from South Carolina last year when things got too difficult for them to live on their own. Aunt Maureen had her entire house renovated to make it accessible and comfortable for her mom and dad. She and my Uncle Jim gave up their master bedroom and bath and basically adjusted their entire lifestyle to care for Grandma and Grandpa. They are also fully raising their 13 year old granddaughter along with her step sister who is not biologically related to them at all. Jessica and I were touring their house and choking back tears as we were reminded again and again of their selfless spirits. It was truly inspiring!
Here we are with Aunt Maureen and my Uncle Mark!
On our way to the Wake, we all stood outside waiting on some car arrangements to get figured out. This line up was our attempt at beating the "heat" and standing in the shade!
Two of my Austin cousins, Sean and Ross. We spent so much time with them growing up, I absolutely love getting to hang out with them!! They are so fun to be around!
Most of my cousins that were able to make it!
Grand and Great-Grand Children
Our little branch of the family tree. (minus my mom, who was feeling seriously puny due to a terrible reaction to the altitude)