Monday, January 16, 2012

Good and sad, all at once

People die all the time, especially people who are grandparents.  It just seems like they do.  I'm not a fan of this trend.  My grandfather died two Septembers ago and I'm still not particularly happy about it.

But the sadness is significantly lessened when the person who passes on was totally ready to go - unafraid, perhaps even a little eager for the next phase of their existence.  Such was the case with the passing of Curtis's sweet/funny/fiesty/witty/sharp Grandma Helen Wells.  She died two weeks ago in Salt Lake City.

It was expected by all, even by her.  I had heard her cheerfully say more than once that she was "ready for Lewis to come get me!"  (Her husband, Lewis, died in 2004.)  So, it was with sadness tempered with okay-ness (does that make sense?) that Curtis, Annie and I traveled out to Utah for Grandma Wells' funeral.

I wish I had the wisdom to take more photos, but sometimes I get caught up in experiencing the moment and forget that I even have a camera.  Even still, I did get a few family memories on (digital) film.

Annie with Grandpa Rice (Jim).  He spent quite a bit of time holding her and they both seemed to like the arrangement just fine.

After the viewing on Sunday night, some of Grandma Wells' good-for-nothing grandsons came back to her house and played cards until the wee hours.  Sure, they look respectable (would you believe there are two lawyers, a financial planner and a dentist in this photo?), but guess what happens when you lose at Hearts in the Wells family?

Yep, you have to stick your head in the toilet and flush (or do something equally awful).  It's called a Swirley and it's a proud tradition.  Note the younger generation, watching and learning how to be a Wells Man. 

And everybody watches and takes pictures (it was a veritable stampede down to the basement bathroom).  I used to think they took pictures to taunt the loser, to shame him, but I quickly learned that no, it's just because they think it's so funny.  (Curtis has a photo album full of his cousins' similar shame.) The wives/girlfriends just shake their heads.  But we can't judge each other because we all chose these men.

Oh yes.  That's my fine husband, coming out of the bathroom, head wet.  For the record, he washed his hair before we ever left Grandma's house.  Also, for the record, Curtis was not the only loser - his cousin Bret (the other guy stripped down to his t-shirt) lost the first round.  And also ALSO, for the record, Curtis wants me to point out that they cleaned the toilet first.  They're not completely uncivilized.

(For those who are wondering how these guys could play cards the night before their grandma was to be buried, don't worry.  Grandma Wells knew her grandsons pretty well.  I'm pretty sure she would have been happy to see them all showing their love for each other in their own, twisted way.)

After the funeral on Monday, the Rice family wanted to spend a little more time together before Karen and Michaela had to fly back to LA, so we all went out for ice cream.  Check out Conner and his enormous vanilla ice cream!  That kid is so Norman Rockwell-esque.  So cute.

Curtis and his sister Karen.

Grandma Rice, McKenna, Marc.

Tiny Kamryn ate a huuuuge strawberry shake all by herself.  It was actually quite impressive.

Cousins!  Annie, Kylie, Michaela.

Kylie spent every second she could with Annie.  I LOVE this shot!

We don't see these people often enough!

Sisters-in-law Karen, me, Stephanie.

I even got to spend a precious few hours with Gwen and her family.  What a great bunch of kids!

Even though Grandma Wells is no longer here with us, I feel certain she's in a wonderful place with people she loves.  Until we see her again, we'll remember her like this:

telling it like it is.  xoxo Grandma Wells.  You were a great lady. 

1 comment:

Dawnelle Anderson said...

Very nice tribute. It was good to see you and catch up. I was also thinking of the occupations the other day. Crazy to think what grown men do. I guess it could be worse. The picture with Bryson makes me laugh, he had so much fun that night. Hope all was well when you got home