My family doesn't do death well.
My grandma (who was the the glue of our family and totally adored in every way) died 20 years ago, yet no one ever talked about it, and we never had a funeral, a service, a memorial or anything of that nature. Her ashes have just been sitting in a box at my Uncle Donnie's house all this time.
But we were blessed with 20 years of health in our family before my grandpa passed away a few weeks ago.
Everyone was strange. Everyone was responding in ways completely opposite of how everyone else expected them to respond. Some of us were reaching out to others. Some of us wanted everyone to leave us alone. Some of us had regrets. Some of us were sad. Some of us were mad. And some of us were questioning everything.
But I don't think any of us faulted anyone else for any of that - I think we all just gave one another the grace and the freedom to handle it however we needed to.
Then on Saturday, we decided to get together up at my Uncle Donnie's house to celebrate my Grandpa's life.
And though our little celebration of life may not measure up to societal standards, it met our standards perfectly.
My sister flew in from Seattle.
And Josh had the bright idea of driving our bus (we own a bus, but that's a story for another day) out to my uncle's.
Our drive included a whole lotta dancing.
That's just how we roll though.
We pulled into the driveway of my Uncle's house blaring "We are Family" by the Sister Sledge, because we roll like that too.
And then everyone made their way from group to group, hugging, talking, and catching up with each other.
My sister, my cousin Sammy, and his girlfriend, Heather.
Coley, and my cousin Roshelle.
My (handsome) Uncle Donnie.
Josh Down's and my dad.
Sam and Shell comparing hair length.
My sister and Jessie Ray (who recently got a tattoo on his forearm of one of my grandma's paintings).
Coley getting smooched by his Auntie.
My cousins, Nicole and Little Lee Lee.
My sis and my mom.
My hunky husband.
My dad, my uncle Brad, and my ham of an uncle, Donnie.
Yans, Courtney Lee, and Keyton.
Jessie's girlfriend, Emily, Roshelle, my aunt Alicia, my sis (who is going to love that picture of herself), and my step-mom in the background.
Jessie Ray, who knows all too well that I enjoy posting ugly faces on my blog.
My dad and step-mom who are considered a part of the Kane side of the family (my mom's side) just as much as anyone else.
Four of mine.
And then we loaded up on the bus to take the ashes of my grandpa and my grandma up into the woods (that's my Aunt Kelly who drove from Utah, and my cousin, Beth).
My Aunt Alicia, and Emily.
The bus driver.
Ok, I'm done naming names now.
Did I mention that Roscoe-T drove down from Seattle?
He did (and I was giddy about it).
Bev (my grandpa's wife), whom we all adore.
Yes, those are bags full of ashes (again, that's just how we roll).
That's Sammy's pup, Azula.
That's where we decided to lay their ashes.
And while we did, we all took turns telling our best, our funniest, or our fondest memories of my grandma and my grandpa.
There were a few impersonations of my grandpa as well, saying some of his most common euphemisms, like, "Christ on crutches" (I'm not even sure what that means, but my grandpa said it a lot).
Lots more where these came from, so I've got a good reason to come back.