Long Day and Goodbyes

Well, I'm in Lufkin, Texas, tonight. To be honest, I'm feeling a bit emotionally exhausted. So is everyone around me. I'm in town for my grandfather's funeral, and it's a bit surreal. Sometimes I feel like it just hasn't hit me that he's really gone. In this sense, gone is such a permanent state. And it's sad and I miss him and I wish he were here so I could just tell him again that I love him and I won't forget him. It's a sad time.

Here's another fact: my voice is abandoning me. Seriously. I'm sick--why do I get sick at these moments? I don't know but I wish I felt better. My voice is just squeaky and awful. Sara and I met a man in the lobby of the hotel, who was going to be at the viewing later tonight. I introduced myself and he smiled and shook my hand and said, "Candy, it's nice to meet you." Meanwhile, my voice is too sketchy to even correct him, and meanwhile, Sara is knocking candy on the floor from the hotel desk.

Anyway, so it's been a long evening of talking and being with people and my voice is shot. Tomorrow will be a harder day, I'm afraid. It's the funeral. So I know it's a day for saying goodbye and remembering all the good times I spent with my grandfather. And it will probably involve me introducing myself to people and them walking away thinking my name is Candy.

Can I just tell you that Jeff's grandmother always thought my name was Bambi? It's true. I know people corrected her and told her my real name, but Bambi stuck with her. While I don't know anyone named Bambi, and feel pretty sure that I prefer not to be called Bambi, it makes me smile to remember that about her. She was just so sweet that there was no way to mind that she called me Bambi. :)

Well, it's time for maybe my tenth throat lozenge in the span of fifteen minutes. You know, the thing about these kinds of difficult times is that even though it's difficult, it's nice to know that someone who's gone was and continues to be so loved. That someone's life was noticed by other people and won't ever be forgotten. And that you're connected to people and you can grieve together because you're a family. And to me, family is just one of the greatest gifts we can receive. I'm here tonight with Sara and my family is right next door, and I am just so grateful to be part of a family that loves each other with a loyalty that's fierce. It's comforting to me. There was a slide show of photos of my grandfather tonight and lots of them were of him in Colorado. He absolutely loved Colorado. He liked rafting and fishing and being by the river. One of my favorite memories of him was just a few years ago, Jeff and I and my best friend Michelle and her husband Buddy all went up to visit him during the summer and the five of us went duckying (not sure I'm spelling that right)--basically a form of canoeing. And it was so fun! And my grandfather was awesome in the river that day. It was a great day. I'm going to hold on to that memory. Well, it's late and I'm exhausted and tomorrow's another long day. But despite the sadness, I feel grateful for memories like the one I just told you.

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