Last Wednesday, UberGeek's Uncle Ben passed away. UberGeek is a man of few words; he will only say that at every major event in his life, his high school graduation, his college graduation, his marriage, and his children's birth he received a letter from his Aunt and Uncle. He doesn't have to say more, for him to say that much I know it made an impact on him. UberGeek has many wonderful memories of summers and vacations spent together with his Aunts, Uncles and Cousins when he was growing up.
We decided not to go up to Virginia for the funeral since it was almost nine hours away and we had a family reunion only a few weeks later. Thursday, around lunchtime, I received a call from UberGeek, his voice sounded dull, and low, not like himself at all. He wanted me to know that his uncle's funeral would be Friday and that he was worried about his parents driving so far. I asked him if it was too late to catch them, if we could drive them up. "Too late, they left already" he replied. Then I asked if he wanted to go, "really, there's nothing more important than being there for your dad tomorrow."
"You wouldn't mind?" asked UberGeek. I wouldn't, so after work we threw some clothes together, tried to get a good night's rest and were out the door at 4:40 AM to head to the Virginia mountains. The car was stocked with what few meager snacks we had on hand, juice boxes, some water and a Costco pack of animal crackers. We used the iPhone en route to book an inexpensive hotel in Bristol with ratings that weren't too abysmal. After a brief stop at a TJMaxx for some khakis for Eddie Haskell, we checked in around 3:30 PM. Our hotel room can be described with one word, small, but thankfully it was fairly clean. Then it was a quick shower before we needed to get everyone ready for the funeral service.
We arrived at the church at 5:30 then stood in the receiving line for probably 45 minutes to speak with Uncle Ben's family. We had anticipated the kids having questions about the funeral and had done our best to answer all of them beforehand. When I did my best to go into the explanation of death and heaven, Diva and Eddie basically told me to talk to the hand. "Mama, we know all this already, this is the same as Jesus dying on the cross and going to heaven, He was dead but not really, He went to heaven. That's where Uncle Ben is. Only his body is here; we know all that already." Mmm, OK, thanks, just trying to help.
Thankfully, they were well behaved and sat through the receiving line, and the service quietly. We had a chance to visit briefly with family and left around 8:00. We were quite hungry and drove back toward town to find something to eat, finally settling on a Chilis. By the time we finished eating, Diva's head was nodding and she let Granddad carry her back to the trusty Subaru. As she was jostled out toward the parking lot she lifted her head up and said, "This was the best vacation I ever had."
This is a child that has been to Disney World, the beach all summer long, the zoo, museums and most every place. Had we known, we could have taken her to a family funeral, a cheap Choice hotel and Chili's sooner, to make her dreams come true and saved some money in the process. It just goes to show you that you never know when you are going to make memories.