As we get closer to the day of Grandpa's funeral, we find ourselves tending more toward grief again. The first two days were all business: order this, order that, call this person, buy a white shirt. Last night and today we have spent more time reviewing Grandpa's life. My sister-in-law (Randy's brother Greg's wife) Cindy and I (and often Laurel) spent hours pouring over Grandpa's photo albums. Our task was to fill a poster-board with a collage of pictures for the funeral home. We laughed heartily over pictures of Randy and Greg and others in their 70s garb, and we quieted when we came across a perfect picture of Grandpa and Grandma.
Today we filled three poster-boards, because one was nowhere near enough. One board contains all black-and-white photos from Grandpa's childhood and early fatherhood. One features colored shots of Grandpa at his best, from holding a fresh-baked apple pie (one of his trademarks) to hugging his kids. The third board is the one that none of us can look at without tearing up. Cindy and I found a picture of Grandma and Grandpa, backs to the photographer, sitting on a bench in Hawaii, staring at the sunset. Grandpa's arm is around Grandma's shoulders. Beneath that photo we added this quote: "Those who love deeply never grow old; they may die of old age, but they die young." That became the centerpiece of the final board, which has only pictures of Grandpa and Grandma including their wedding day, their 25th anniversary, their 50th anniversary, them dancing, celebrating, and him holding her hand in her final years battling Alzheimers.
We leave tomorrow for Danville, Illinois. This was Grandpa's hometown for much of his life, and also where Randy lived until he was 10. Sometime during the day we'll hook up with Randy's biological father, whom we haven't seen in about 8 years. (He's never met Duncan, and Laurel was just a baby last time we saw him.) We'll spend the evening with a bazillion members of Grandpa's extended family, and the funeral will be Saturday.
On a brighter note, I noticed school buses yesterday and realized that I hadn't even stopped to appreciate this benefit of homeschooling: my kids don't have to worry about missing school during this time. I don't have to explain to a teacher that Jesse really should get to take a make-up test next week, or that the kids really should get to take the whole week off. Instead, they are hearing family stories, watching grown-ups navigate through grief, and learning to find entertainment in someone else's home. Now that's an education.