Just four days after we got home from my cousin's wedding in Utah we got an early morning call telling us that my father-in-law, Ralph, had passed away. We weren't surprised because he had been sick for the last five years and had fallen the first of June and things had not been going well. But you are always surprised even when you know that death is coming.
Garth spent one weekend in St. Johns helping his mother make all the decisions and make all the funeral arrangements and then we had the funeral the next weekend. Garth's family is a little musically challenged, but they still had all the grandkids sing a song. Here is the practice and everyone was worrying they would be embarrassed by their lack of ability.
And even though Lonica hadn't played the piano in years, she was called upon to play a solo. Catherine had to listen and okay the number.
In the entry way to the church, Jill, Cara and Lora set up some pictures and memorabilia of Ralph's.
Garth and his brother, Keith, both spoke as did a grandson, Adam; they all did a great job. Lonica's solo went well too. The grandkids song was after Adam spoke and everyone was in tears and couldn't sing. So their singing abilities were never questioned because it just looked as though they were too emotional to be able to sing. Jason and Preston were the only ones who were able to help everyone out and sing the whole song.
It was really warm the day of the funeral but you can't tell that from the pictures. Here are all of my boys looking so handsome in their suits. Keith is also looking good in his new suit.
Since St. Johns is such a small place, the guys had to lower the casket into the ground themselves. Jason was on the corner and the soil beneath him gave way and he almost went in on top of the casket. You can see a man who came to his rescue and held on to his belt. Garth's cousin, Royce is a mortician and is always called on the for these affairs. He is so good and does such a wonderful job.
After the luncheon, I made all the grandkids get up and take a picture together. I think the last one they took, when everyone was together, was over 10 years ago. By the end of this year there will be 9 great-grandkids as well.
In the evening, Colleen, my mother-in-law, wanted to go back out to the cemetery and have another look. She had been holding up so well all day and just wanted one more chance to say good-bye to her husband of over 60 years.
For the last few years, Ralph couldn't make it much further than his kitchen table, unless he was having a really good day. He said he held down the command post right there and talked to everyone on his cell phone and kept up with the blogs and knew what was happening before most people in the family.
The last time I talked to him was on my way back from Havasupi. I had been gone for three days and when I got back into cell range, I listened to a message from him telling me that I needed to call him right away - it was important! I called and he told me that the message had been left days ago, and just where had I been?
After explaining where I'd been, he proceeded to tell me that Raquel had just found out she was having a baby girl and Kyle and his wife were expecting twins. He even knew about my granddaughter before me!
I have been amazed how much I have missed the crusty old guy and find myself wanting to tell him so many things. He can finally take a full deep breath and I'm happy for that, but we miss him so much!