the weekend of august 22nd was perfect. it was exactly what i wanted and needed. a HUGE thanks to my in-laws and husband for being so willing to juggle the girls back and forth all weekend to make that trip possible for me.
hannah and i made a list of things my dad and brother liked to do/eat and tried to do as many of those as possible, even if that meant staying up till 3 am playing harry potter clue and singing the primary song 'sing, sing, sing'. yes, we actually did that.
plus a few other things:
rolled up and down the driveway (don't ask)
watched home videos
aebleskivers (danish pancakes)
happy factory (before i got there)
hannah took my dad's restored camero out for a spin with mark's help
gardenia's in the flower arrangements for the headstones
the list went on and on. thats all i can think of right now and hannah should be on her way to her first class at byu right now so i'll have to call her later to refresh my memory.
we visited the cemetery and i was so pleased to see that the headstones were finally finished and in place (they were put in the night before). both turned out beautifully and i like that they differ so much from each other. i'm grateful to have that sacred spot in the cemetery, finally marked properly.
that afternoon we headed to the cabin and hannah and i fit in some quality four wheeling time. loved it. then mark's family met us up there and we had dinner. it was great to visit with his kids and mother and get to know them better. we watched the video SWSC (southwest skin and cancer) made for last year's christmas party and i was fine until the picture of my dad's briefcase was shown. he LOVED it and everyone used to tease him about it being a 'manpurse'. we were sad to find out it was on the plane that day. after the movie we squeezed in a little dance dance revolution. my mom and mark even did it together!
back at home that night i was on the computer and read this sweet post from jared's wife, judy - he was dallin's best friend. i cried and cried. but thats ok!
hannah and i stayed up way too late and hanging out in the hall and getting ready for bed at the same time in the bathroom reminded me of the two years dallin and i shared (and fought over) that bathroom. there were many late nights spent talking about girl he liked, boys i liked, this and that. i am so grateful that hannah and i were able to do that last weekend.
sunday was the Oquirrh Mountain Temple dedication and church all across utah was canceled so everyone could attend the broadcast. it was wonderful.
that evening we hosted a large number of my parents friends and associates at the cabin for "memories and milkshakes". mark thanked everyone for their acceptance of him and my mom thanked everyone for their love and support this past year and said, "we recognize that you loved them too and you lost your friends that day as well." it was a sweet evening as we drank strawberry shakes (thin of course - that was my dad's favorite) and visited. and i didn't get to see it but apparently there was a full rainbow directly over the cabin as it stopped raining - people saw it as they drove in.
monday morning i had to get up bright and early to start the drive back to AZ. i said my goodbyes and it felt eerily like the morning i left for missouri, one year before. i headed to the cemetery briefly and then hit the road. the first hour of the drive i just listened to I Know That My Redeemer Lives on repeat. it was a special time. it was a fulfilling weekend - some tears but mostly laughing and happiness as we remembered the people we love and miss.
at the funeral this last weekend, my cousin said he hopes that one day when this life is over, his little rachel will say, "daddy", and take his hand, and lead him to meet the Savior. i echo this hope - that i want i live my life in a way that it will be possible to be reunited with my dad and brother and that they can introduce me to our Savior when the time comes, and that i can live forever with my own little family. we have so much to look forward to.
i am grateful for all that has been done for our family in the past year. we have felt the love, the support, the prayers. we have appreciated every phone call and every email. we could not have done this without you. thank you, thank you, thank you.