After the wedding, my parents headed home, and we were left with an empty house. It took me a week or so to get the Christmas decor put away, and even with our life returning to normal (somewhat), our house showed the effects of two months o' parties.
It was a given that we wouldn't be entertaining again for several months -- We needed desperately to reestablish some kind of order and routine. And in the week that followed, as we returned to work and school, we subconsciously let our housework go altogether....simply because we could.
And then, on January 13, Ryan's precious grandmother passed away. Knowing that she was nearing the end, Ryan had set out to visit her in her nursing home that afternoon. When he arrived, he was greeted by the nursing staff with the words, "My condolences." He had missed it by about 45 minutes.
(Ryan's grandma with Ryley, about five years ago, right before she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's:)
I loved Ryan's grandma. "Granny Franny" was a spitfire...a ball of energy with bright red lipstick and a gigantic smile. She lived for Jesus and nobody else, and she couldn't care less what anybody thought. She was the one who marched Ryan down to the altar when he was five years old so he could accept Jesus as his Savior. In recent years she hadn't known us....Her mind was too far gone. It was sad and very hard on her children to watch her slow decline. So, though we will miss her, we know she is with Jesus, and we know she is finally whole again!
Three days after she passed, Ryan's three siblings (and three of their kids) arrived from New York, Georgia, and Florida, to stay with us for the funeral. There was hardly any time to clean and prep the house for their visit, so we just made do. Good thing we have become so adept at handling large amounts of company!!
Despite the sad occasion, it was nice to see everybody again. It had been over a year since Ryan had seen any of his siblings. And it was neat to have all of our kids together for "cousin time."
Ryley and her cousins Sammy and Raegan watch cartoons:
Ryley and Raegan give Baby Olivia some love!!
Ryan's sister Rhonda introduces Olivia to Aunt Gayla and cousin Annika at church. :-) So sweet...the girls are only a month or so apart in age.
Ryley and Raegan shared a bed. They really are the best of friends!!!
Ryan and his siblings at the reception after the funeral...Ryan and Derrick served as pallbearers. The hymn "When the Saints Go Marching In" was played as we all filed out of the church behind Grandma Moore's casket. I don't know that I will ever view that song the same again. :-)
Gwen, Ryan, Rhonda, and Derrick
Raegan's 4th birthday was the day of the funeral, so we celebrated that evening with ice cream cake and presents!
We were so grateful that Ryan's siblings could make it out here to honor and remember their grandmother. Some of them were here for six days, and we had some good family time with everyone. The funeral went very nicely and was a beautiful tribute to a beautifully lived life.
And now our house is empty again.
There is, however, more to share.
On another night. :-)
2 days ago