For us, this 4th of July was a five day weekend. Camping at the lake, a day at home, dinner with neighbors and finally wrapped up with Grandpo’s funeral and a recovery day at home. It was a marathon of creating new memories and digging up old ones. So much reminiscing, tears, and laughter. It was exhausting. But sunshine and picnics always help the recovery process.
So let me start with the holiday portion. For the 4th we hopped a ferry and drove out to Matt’s parent’s lake property on Tiger Lake…a short 40 minutes away from our island home. We spent the first night just the two of us, eating pizza by the fire and paddle boating around the still water.
The next afternoon friends started to arrive and the day turned into swimming, water fights, more paddle boating, campfires, games, hot dogs and fireworks. And rain. Dang rain! It was not hard and not constant but also not the brilliant sunshine that of course came right after the 4th. Oh Pacific Northwest how you are so reliable to have iffy 4th of July weather.
It was still a wonderful time.
On Saturday afternoon we headed back home to see the cats, water the garden and relax in the hot tub. By Sunday, the brilliant blue sky and sunshine was back. Curses! But we enjoyed it. I painted more of the deck, watered the garden again, and we took a walk to Wingehaven Park with Mexican popsicles in tow. It was hot.
Monday was a marathon day. We woke up, showered and loaded the car to make one final trip to Grandpo’s house in Tacoma for the funeral. The service was very nice, very Catholic, very Grandpo. All his grandkids and great-grandkids and grand-daughters-in-law (me and Emily) said something. I may be biased but I liked Matt’s tribute the most. He and Grandpo were very close, and his passing has been really tough. We motorcaded to the cemetery and said our final farewells complete with a taps and a rifle salute. It was my first visit to Matt’s grandma’s grave and we plan to visit both of them again next time we are down there.
After the service all the family piled back to Grandpo’s house to sort through stuff. Matt and I had visited last week and already picked a few sentimental things to take home and packed them up in the car. It is hard to sort through so much stuff. At 6:30 we all went to dinner and by 9:05 we were back home ready to collapse from exhaustion. What a day.
We felt so lucky to have an additional day of bereavement (and we are taking next Monday off too) to just be at home and collect ourselves. We put away all the camping stuff, had the second live vole brought lovingly in to run around our home (thanks kitties…), found homes for all our things from Grandpo, worked on the deck (me), played video games (Matt) and finally packed up a romantic and relaxing picnic to take to the beach.
We took a long drive around Maury Island (connected to Vashon) and found two new parks!
Then we drove out to Lisabella Park for a beach picnic dinner. Bread, wine, cheese, tomatoes, pickles, and fresh garden lettuce were on the menu. We also decided to bring out a jar of tuna stuffed peppers we brought back from Italy on our honeymoon. And a rum cake from Grand Cayman we had planned to give to Grandpo but was still in our pantry. Grandpo loved food, and this was a great way to reflect and honor him after a long weekend. We enjoyed the afternoon sunshine while sitting on warm, round stones and reminisced about Grandpo, the lake, our island and life. We are nearly at our 2 year anniversary, and only days away from four years of knowing each other. Life is good and precious, and nothing reminds you quite like slowing down to appreciate it.