On to Tampa, Days 3&4! Friday was our Day 3 and also the day of the funeral. We woke up to POURING rain and storms, which was a bummer since the funeral was supposed to be outside and we didn't have many umbrellas. We spent the morning getting ready for the viewing and funeral. Once we got to the funeral home, we found out that they were able to move everything inside so that we wouldn't all float away. I joked that Grandma Bonnie, who was always proud of her hair, would have been horrified if we had risked our good looking hair for her!
Uncle Kevin and two future Terps
Naps and babies...what could be better?
The viewing was short followed by the funeral. It was really nice and you could feel the love for her in the room. Two of her children spoke and a few of her grandchildren spoke as well. The Methodist minister the family had found to speak was phenomenal. He told us how he had retired several years ago, and got tired of cutting grass so he decided to go back to work and felt called to help people say goodbye to their loved ones as a funeral minister. I thought that was amazing and it takes a special person to do that! He was really great and I enjoyed hearing him speak. We also sang three of Grandma Bonnie's favorite songs and ended the service by putting beautiful purple and yellow roses on the casket. It really was a beautiful service and the babies didn't make a peep the entire time.
Bonnie's seven grandchildren
Playing around with a huge statue of an eagle
Ben's cousins and aunt
Bonnie's three children
After the funeral, the whole family went out to lunch to a well-known restaurant in the Tampa area and one that was a favorite of Ben's grandparents, The Columbia. They even had their engagement party there when they got engaged! Since our party was so big, they put us in a little private room with two wonderful waiters and we had a great time continuing our celebration and sharing stories of Grandma Bonnie. The food was wonderful and the sangria was pretty great as well.
After lunch we all headed back to the house. It was still raining but had slowed down to a steady rain rather than the pouring monsoon that was happening earlier in the day. Finally in the early evening the rain stopped and Chessie, Ben, and I finally got out on the jet skis. That was a lot of fun! We all retired fairly early that night after a long day.
Saturday was another relaxing day. The first half of the day was stormy so we all ended up doing different things. Ben's extended family was leaving on Saturday and we were leaving early Sunday so we all did some packing. At some point the rain finally stopped so we all tried to go jet skiing and swimming before it was time to leave. Some of the family went back to the cemetery to see the family graves. After saying our goodbyes, we had the huge house to ourselves for the last night. We ate a hodgepodge dinner of whatever was in the fridge and went swimming and sat in the hot tub. We also watched some TV in the movie room before turning in.
Sunday was a long day. We left the house at 8:30 for our 10:55am flight. We made it through the airport no problem and had some time to grab breakfast before boarding. Since we all travelled home together we were able to sit in two rows and passed the babies back and forth. The girls did great again, except when we landed. Both babies were asleep as we landed and poor Noelle was abruptly awoken by the landing. She immediately grabbed her ears and started screaming. I think the pressure change was making her ears hurt, poor thing. She cried for about 15 minutes before settling down to whimpers and finally stopped as we got off the plane and into the airport. After we got our luggage and the cars, we grabbed lunch at the Greene Turtle and headed home!
Even though it was an unexpected trip, it was great to get together with family and celebrate Grandma Bonnie's life and to say goodbye. It was fun to see Tampa, a place I had not been before, and to see how special the city was to Ben's grandparents.