After 5 years of almost no family contact I got to spend 4 days with nothing but! How awesome!
I was so thankful to be able to make the trip out to Saskatchewan this past weekend for the funeral of my grandmother, my mom's mom, in Borden and the surrounding areas. After checking the forecast I flew out early on Friday morning looking forward to a warm and sunny weekend. As we descended the pilot lovingly informed us that it was 1 degree and snowing and there I sat in flip flops.
My dad and mom (and grandma!) arrived at exactly the same time as I, so we met there (mom was also in sandals...) and picked up our car. We headed out for lunch and then drove into Warman where we were going to stay with my Aunt and Uncle, mom's brother.
We had a quick nap and went for a long walk to clear our heads. Mom and Dad were only an hour behind, but my body was 3.5 hours ahead and with only a few days there I wanted to make sure I adjusted as best I could. It ended up going really well, normally I'm hit harder by time changes but I tried a few adjusting tricks and it seemed to work. We walked into town where some shops were and strolled a bit there. We ate a fantastic dinner at my aunt and uncle's and I actually stayed up pretty late. We slept well, though I woke up at 3am (right around the time Mattea would get me up... 6:30) but forced myself back to sleep. Then when I finally woke up, I lay in bed reading for awhile! How often do I get to do that?! Another of mom's sisters and my uncle with my cousin Jackie arrived for a visit and we ate lunch with them. It was fun to catch up, most of my family I hadn't seen in 15 years so obviously things have changed since then! Jackie and I have kids pretty close in age and she was visiting alone from South Carolina so we definitely have a few things in common. After lunch and another attempt at a rest Dad, Mom and I headed into Saskatoon for a little look around downtown.
It wasn't hot and we were wondering if we should do a quick shop for the funeral for which we were inappropriately prepared. The sun came out and it ended up being gorgeous so we took our chances. I did make a 'little' trip into Lululemon (which on a Saturday afternoon was a gong show!) and we got some stuff for the kids in shops I won't see for a long time, (Roots and The Children's Place). Then we met up with more family at the Knotty Monk, a great little pub in Warman, for supper.
Sunday was the funeral service, so after a brunch out on the deck I headed into Borden with Mom and Dad.
I have, very unfortunately, not known this side of my family very well. My mom moved to BC as a young adult (to go to CBC in Abbotsford) and so we only went back for special occasions and the occasional summer trip. Because I saw a few families on my dad's side more often, I grew up seeing the similarities I have to members of those families. It was fun this weekend to spend time with my mom's family and all my cousins to see that I have such roots there too! I'm pretty sure my blood knows that it was half brewed in Saskatchewan because anytime I enter the prairies, by flying in or driving like last summer, I can feel that it is part of who I am. I love it there; the open space, the clean air, the quiet lifestyle. I'm sure it's part of what draws me to life here in St John's. In fact, over the weekend I noticed many similarities between the two places and my mom has often said when visiting us here that it feels much more like home to her too.
I was excited to find that I have one other cousin horribly vomit-phobic like me. I thought I was alone! I also discovered a cousin who was working on exactly the same odd craft project that I was... and made me excited to finish my own. I also have cousins and an aunt who despise wearing socks the way I do... who knew?! I see the sense of humour and love of life that my late-aunt had, in many of my family members and discovered also that the thick hair my grandpa possessed until the very end has been passed on to many of us. Silly things, I know, but having known so little of my family these things meant a lot.
The funeral started in the cemetery, where grandma, who was cremated, was buried into my grandfather's grave. After the burial we headed into the church (where dad and mom were married!) for a short service and then downstairs for lunch. It was really well done and the man who led the service (my mom's cousin) did a really nice job. There were at least 120 people there so grandma obviously left an impression in her time! My family has also had many heart aches over the past few years and so the weekend a mix of devastating pain and joyful laughter. It was wonderful to celebrate someone who had lived so long, had loved life and left many fond memories behind and yet it was terribly sad to miss those who left us early and should have been there with us.
We ended up staying and visiting very late, leaving at about 7:30pm. We stopped for a drink and snack along the way and made our way back to my aunt and uncle's. I had to leave in the morning so we visited a bit and then I packed to go.
It was short and sweet and I'm so thankful I could go. It was a nice break for me, though I thought the kids would have had lots of fun playing there. I'll take them back soon, because I don't want it to be another 15 years before I see my extended family again!