Monday, September 19, 2011

Happily Ever After

We three celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary today!

And we decided to walk down memory lane, trying to dig up a picture and memory of each anniversary... or at least a picture of the two of us taken within a month or two of September! Here we go... counting down:

#12: one of us was nauseous and craving a very cheesy lasagne!  
Picture taken in October at a wedding.

#11: we were halfway through missionary training (SPLICE) in Colorado Springs, here we are atop Pike's Peak

#10: had a picnic in El Dorado park (Long Beach, CA)  
Picture taken in August in Yarrall's backyard during Ang's roommate reunion.

#9: no recollection of how we spent our anniversary this year!  
Picture was taken a month earlier while we were visiting Medellin.

#8: Spent the day in Laguna Beach, California

#7: Celebrated our anniversary a couple weeks after the date while in Prescott, AZ for our friend's wedding. This is at Watson Lake.

#6: First year living in the USA together. I think we ate at the Old Spaghetti Factory in Fullerton for this anniversary.  
Picture taken later that year on Thanksgiving day.

#5: Deb and Les came to Colombia and we went to the island of San Andres to celebrate our 5th anniversaries together!

#4: Another year that neither of us can remember how we spent the day!  
Picture taken in front of our church in Bogota.

#3: This was probably one of the hardest years together. I was sick for most of the year and Bill's mother died in June. We can't remember the anniversary, and we didn't take many pictures this year.  
Picture taken six months later when we visited the USA for Angela to become a citizen and took a detour to see the Grand Canyon.

#2: Bill's mother was in the hospital, so on our anniversary we visited her after work and then went out to eat at a Mexican restaurant.  
Picture taken a month later in Cajica. You can tell I had Cushings Disease.

#1: We celebrated our first anniversary by spending the weekend in a little inn above the Salt Mines in Zipaquira. Took a picture of each other exploring the area. (Before digital cameras!)

and in conclusion... our wedding day... one of our favoritist days of all!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Mourning the Loss of a Generation

So, my very last grandparent died earlier this week. It made me sad. I cried a little. Then life just continued on as usual.

That's really the way it has always been each time one of my grandparents died.

My Nana, who I was probably closest to out of the four of them, was the first to die. I remember walking to class at Biola after hearing the news, I was 19 at the time, and feeling really, really sad. I thought about her a lot those days, but did not mourn deeply. It wasn't until I took a counseling class on grief - 18 years later - that the reality of her passing really hit me and I was able to properly grieve my loss.

As a missionary kid I grew up primarily living very far away from Nana + Papa and Nan + Grandad. We prayed for them every day and were always excited when a letter arrived from them. When I was a kid we didn't make international phone calls, it was too expensive, so there were long spans of time where we didn't hear their voices. I'm blessed in that we did live in New Zealand for three different seasons of my life - seven years in all - and I was able to build a real relationship with each of them. But then, we would always leave. I missed a lot of whatever their lives were like.

After moving to the USA my memories of each of them was limited to a few short weeks on trips I made it back to visit. However, Nana died after we'd only been gone for 2 years, so my last memory of her is a snapshot of her crying at the airport as we left for good. I wonder if she felt the deep physical pain then that I feel now each time I say goodbye to my family?

Papa and Nana Yarrall
I was only 19 when Nana died. In the many years since I've thought of so many questions I wish I had asked her. She was a godly, wise woman and I've deeply regretted the loss of her presence in my life.

The last time I saw my Papa his mind was no longer what it used to be, so he wasn't the Papa I remembered. That was a huge loss, but strange because he was still there. It was never the same to visit him like it had been when I was a kid. I guess in a sense he died before his body did.

My Grandad died during the first year I was living here in Colombia. Not only was I far from NZ, I was also far from all other family members. I know I didn't mourn his death properly. It was hard not to see him the last few times I visited New Zealand. I missed him teasing me and giving me rough hugs. But I also don't think I ever really knew or understood him too well. His life as a farmer in rural NZ was so very, very different from my life living in crazy, big and somewhat sophisticated cities around the world.

Grandad and Nan Comins
And now my Nan is gone. She was always kind to me. Not a big talker, I don't think we ever had any heart-to-heart conversations. But she was good. Lots of simple, but kind actions towards me. I had a little coin collection, she had a big one, when we visited she would go to her stash and find treasures to share with me! I always felt like she cared about what I was up to and did what she could to be in the know.

I'm glad we celebrated her 90th birthday with her. I'm glad we had those few days with her back in 2008. I only wish I could have shared more daily life with her.

Living on the opposite side of the globe has just made relationships with our extended family more complicated. It has been a sacrifice on both sides of the Pacific, for us in leaving and them in letting us go. It is much harder to build memories together and make connections that go deeper than the shared genes. With some of my grandparents, aunties, uncles and cousins it has happened effortlessly and the bonds are strong, but with others... well, it is just a lot harder.

I wouldn't trade my life, growing up in a different country than my parent's home country, for anything. It is part of who I am and I can't imagine anything different. But I am sad that I didn't get to share more of life, time and space with my grandparents. I don't like trying to grieve their loss far away in a place that is so foreign to all my memories of them.

Like the other three deaths, this one will probably not be properly mourned until I visit New Zealand again.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Almost 4 Months

We've been treasuring these first few delightful months with Cedric. He is a happy baby! Here are my favorite 3-month baby pictures. (If you click on the image you will get a larger view.)

and just for fun... here's a comparison of Cedric with Angela at the same age: