I just got back today from spending a long weekend in Clearlake Shores, Texas for the memorial of my brother-in-law, Brett. Before I left, people kept saying “have a good weekend,” “have a good trip!” I thought… “how can I have a good weekend when the reason I am going is because someone passed away?” Well, even though there was a sad reason behind the trip, there was so much love and warmth and closeness that we all felt while we were there that it actually made the trip really special and I can honestly say I did enjoy myself because of that close feeling.
Here are a few things that really made the trip nice:
1. The weather and surroundings- it was hot and humid, but as I told everyone when I was there… I like hot, humid weather. I’m probably the only person who does- it makes me feel like I’m somewhere tropical. My sister has this amazingly huge yard with actual real nature, no concrete, it has a very warm feeling, a great view of the water and boats…fully equipped with squirrels even.
2. The long talks on the porch in the evening. My sisters (Jan and Bronwen) and I as well as Brett’s sister Jill, cousin and a neighbor spent Thursday and Friday night out on Jan’s porch just drinking wine and chatting about everything until 1am. We talked about everything from family, life, death and love to roaches, spiders and other gross topics. The thunder and crickets in the distance just set such a cool ambiance- but the bug bites weren’t too pleasent.
3. The neighborhood and hospitality. I don’t know if it’s the south, just Jan’s friends, or the situation… but it is amazing how people open their homes and welcome total strangers in with loving open arms. It was great to feel like I could just walk over to Jan’s neighbor’s house and feel completely comfortable. I just met this woman on Thursday morning and by thursday evening I was going over to borrow a wine opener and play with their 11 new puppies. I love that the kids can still run around from house to house with no shoes and people just look out for each other and help each other out. And the amazing fact that a group of 15 neigbors just showed up yesterday with no warning and put together a new playset for my nephews in about 30 minutes.
4. Having a nice time with my family. I figured the stress of the situation would put everyone on edge and it could be a stressful trip, but I think we all felt closer. I have many stories I could share- from needing to get 3 rental cars in the same night (for 1 carload of people) – to our navigation system leading us to the US customs gate of an oil plant at 1am (no joke, and clearly this is not where we wanted to go). Even with all these mishaps, I think we, (well at least I) could laugh it all off… and for anyone who knows me, you know that “laughing things off” is not my strong point. (by the way… 4 year old little Emma took the pic below- pretty good aim!)
It was just a really nice, beautiful weekend. I’m not saying there weren’t really hard, tough, sad, and devestating moments, but I do believe it was a perfect way to remember Brett and celebrate his life. Anyone interesting in viewing the memorial video we created for Brett, click here.