My grandfather passed away on March 29th. Originally, there was going to be no funeral or memorial service for him, per his wishes. However, my grandmother decided that she wanted a family get-together/memorial for those of us still here, so that was scheduled for yesterday. I admit, I was simultaneously happy – I haven’t seen many members of my family since pre-pandemic – and wary – this is the side of the family who are vaccine-refusers, and there was going to be a potluck. This was going to be hard. My family would be in masks, which we worried would upset a lot of folks (they often refuse masks), and we planned to only eat individually-packaged stuff (ie, we ate our main meal at home beforehand). I do wish that we all could be fully vaccinated prior to this event, but the boys literally just had their second shots last week, and Jason won’t get his until Tuesday.
My siblings all came into town, my sisters from up in the Dallas area, my brother from the DC area. I’ve seen Becky a few times since the pandemic began, but have only seen William and Aaren via platforms like Zoom and Marco Polo. Everyone arrived out in Quihi around 1pm. I was actually surprised by how many folks were able to come (aunts, uncles, cousins and their families). The only people missing were Morrigan (at college in KS), my cousin Byron’s two oldest kids (who were at an important UIL event that couldn’t be missed), and my great-aunt (who can’t travel easily anymore). It was more like a family reunion than a memorial, just food and tables set up outside to chat. My cousin’s husband, Robert, took various candid and family/group photos (he’s a retired photographer with NICE cameras!), which I look forward to seeing once he finishes sorting/processing them. At one point, my uncle set up a slideshow of old photos of my grandparents when they were young, as far back as early childhood. Another cousin was scanning those photos in to make digital copies, and I look forward to getting those as well.
It was tough being with everyone re: the covid situation. There were some of us who wore masks except when eating (my immediate family weren’t the only ones), and many of the younger generation were partially or fully vaxxed. But there were lots of hugs and of course shared food – Jason and Laurence both abstained from eating altogether except for some individual bags of chips that we brought – so that felt very emotionally complicated. It was good to see everyone, but there’s a part of me that wishes this was taking place a mere three weeks later so that at least my household family would all have been as protected as possible.
We left in the late afternoon. My dad was prepping dinner for a mini-family reunion of his own, all his kids in town for the first time since pre-pandemic. It was a much smaller affair with no aunts, uncles, and cousins. (Well, no cousins of mine – the boys had their cousins there because my sister’s three boys were with her too, of course.) Other than my nephews, who are too young for the jab (the oldest is seven), everyone at this gathering was at least half-vaxxed. And yet, we all wore masks except when eating/drinking and we set up outside for most of the gathering. It was a strong contrast, particularly in that I never felt weird for wearing the mask! My dad, stepmom, and half-sister live about a 20-min drive from Jason and me, and we used to get together fairly regularly for dinners or swimming or whatever. We’re all looking forward to that, as we’ll all be fully immunized right around the same time and then we can have safe gatherings again!
It was a really long day, and more social mingling than any of us are used to. I’m hoping today will be a day of relaxing and catching up on little things that I’ve neglected.