Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A harvest of emotions

I've had trouble getting to my blog.  Our last week has been spent with family in eastern Washington, truly one of the most beautiful and lunar looking places in August as the wheat comes time to harvest.  There's been a little focus issue around honing my craft with this little face popping up behind ottomans and end tables for five days.  She's way more fun than turning a phrase.

She's an enchantress whose favorite game is tricking fawning aunts and uncles to walk across the room for a special something she dangles in her hand only to pull it back at the last moment with a giggle and a pointed look at everyone in the room that signals that it is time to applaud.  And by God, you had better clap.

It's an anniversary of sorts.  I started this blog two years ago just a month before my darling father-in-law, Larry Hunter, passed away.  A blog made specifically for the likes of him in fact, somebody who would check regularly on our progress on sabbatical.  He loved photos and he liked lots of details about family, especially his granddaughters.  After he died I couldn't even write about it, glossing over it in one of my early entries as "the past few weeks haven't been the easiest" or something like that. It was unbearable to think about for longer than a minute at a time, let alone sit still and try to blog about it.

I was blinded by my own grief and frantic and cranky about my inability to fix the situation for my husband.  I'm basically terrible when he's terrible - when his dry sockets were giving him trouble I told him to "snap out of it".   It's a bad life partner trait as it turns out and we're currently making arrangements to accommodate it and protect his safety.  He'll be one of the few that actually begs to go to a nursing home in lieu of staying home alone with me when he's ill. 

This weekend we were fortunate to be so very propped up by our extended family who made the journey with us both physically and emotionally to lay our beloved father and grandfather to rest in peace in a place that I won't mention for fear of internet-lurking park rangers but was a special place for him as outdoorsman and fly fisherman.

They steadied us with their presence and quite literally smoothed the rough road before us.  As for my husband and brothers-in-law, their strength and patience and dignity through the loss of their dad has guided all of us to safe passage as we press beyond our own grief.  Before scattering the ashes, Chip's brother Mike paid the three spouses the highest compliment we could ever hear saying that he saw his dad not only in the grandkids but in us as well.  Gracious and inspired words of comfort from the youngest child.

Grandpa's bell on the 13th hole of the U of I golf course to signal players behind a blind turn that it's ok to hit.  The woman on the right apparently won a box of golfballs for her longest putt at the 2nd Annual Larry Hunter Memorial Golf Tournament.

Rufous hummingbirds en masse in celebration of Larry's return

As wife of the oldest brother, I am translated from Mandarin, Big Mama

The REAL Mama and the baby that is the joy and rebirth and new life of our family


  1. Beautiful tribute in all ways. Good emotions always bring out beautiful posts in you but this one is truly special.

  2. Such beautiful words, Julie. It must have been so wonderful for all of you to be together. JYS

  3. This post really captures the trip which, in turn, appears to capture the rich joys & sorrows of life and family. Thanks for sharing the journey, Big Mama.

  4. What a beautiful post, Julie! Jim was so sorry to miss Larry's golf tournament, but we were in Michigan meeting our brand new grandson---Jon and Sarah's new baby boy, Graehm. (I know Larry would understand, he was such a proud Grandpa!)
    We love to ring "Larry's bell" when we pass by it on the golf course, always makes us smile and remember the special times. Jim misses Larry so much, especially during golf season. He was, and always will be, a very special person to Jim.
    It sounds like you had a wonderful family celebration, Larry would have loved it. And, I love the "special" resting place you found...he is definitely smiling about being "there!!"
    We will see you next year for the "3rd Annual" tournament!!
    Judy and Jim

  5. Julie,
    I agree that this is a beautiful tribute to Chip's dad. He sounds like he was a very special man in many people's lives. I'm glad you had a chance to celebrate that life once again with family.