a very long post... and I still left out much of the weekend... no editing... sorry. And Typepad still hasn't corrected the issue with the small photos or the format issues. They did say that they are working on it though. Click on any of them to see them larger than a thumbprint size.
It was a long week, full of emotion for us all. Knowing that Robert is free of pain was pretty much the only happy thought that we could have in this whole situation. Seeing Carol and her kids hurt makes my heart hurt. All of our hearts. Being that we were heading north for Robert's memorial services, we decided to try to find some happy things to do as well.
The kids and Doug were able to take off for the weekend and we headed to Idaho. We left Logan and headed north, bright and early. Years ago, when Doug and I first met, he showed me pictures of a trip that his Dad had taken him on, to the City of Rocks National Reserve in central Idaho. He was sixteen at the time. We've talked about if for forty years. Last summer, while we were visiting Robert and Carol, Robert took us on a tour of his ranch and pointed out that City of Rocks was very near and we agreed that we'd take a trip to see it together on one of our next trips. Even though we had spent the whole week adjusting to the thought that "Robert is gone", it really hit me that he is, indeed, gone and we won't be going to City of Rocks together or to Idaho to visit Robert ever again. Again, my heart hurts. Sadness.
But. We did take the kids the day before Robert's services and we did have a good time.
City of Rocks is what Doug calls "a sleeper". People, even people who live in Northern Utah, have never even heard of it, but it's an amazing place for hikers and rock climbers of all experience. The kids were thrilled. We were oohing and aahing in every direction! It really was amazing. Here's some photos of just how awesome it is. Heavenly Father spared nothing when it came to beauty here. From the pix I'd seen of Doug all those years ago, I sort of expected something looking like craters on the moon, but Doug's pix were black and white, and close-ups, so this was a total surprise to me! Although my foot keeps me from hiking and climbing, I was able to get out and take pix of some amazing things while the kids and Doug took off and really enjoyed! I was able to stay in the Expedition and write a letter, read a bit and just enjoy the scenery. Doug took the camera with them and got some fun pix, as well.
They are standing on top of this, one of the smaller rocks:
ZJ found a perfect "recliner" at the edge of a cliff.
Thank heavens for ZOOM!
Quayd has no fear when it comes to the mountains! He loves climbing, every since he was a little boy! Another larger rock.
Grace, always true to her name, loves Dad's extra attention to keep up!
We passed this guy, out in the middle of nowhere, alone on a huuuuuuge rock! A rule in our family is NEVER be alone in the mountains, on even the smallest hike. But, seriously, on a mountain like this? YIKES!!
This "rock" was phenomenal. It was massive! Below, the next photo shows a guy climbing the tallest section at the left.
You could barely see him as a "dot" but when I zoomed in, I literally was sick to my stomach watching him climb. He's right here on the mountain.
Here's a zoom close-up of the climber. I told Doug, "I really don't want to watch someone die today." It was hard to watch these guys. Quayd thought it looked like something he should be doing right then! Can you say insane?!?!
Quayd did get his share of climbing in, but his was on a few more gentle slopes. Doug and Quayd went off alone for a while an I'm thankful, as I see these pix, that I was not there to watch. Mother Bear... always puts a damper on the wild adventures in life!
Again, Doug took this and I'm glad I didn't see it!
Love this boy!
...and this girl!
And, of course, this silly one! Selfie-queen that she is!
And this man...he's my hero! A silly one, in this pic!
I'm so thankful that their dad is such an adventure lover! Never a dull moment with Doug around!
They loved every minute of it!
This boy! He's truly fearless!
Fearless and determined! He loves to reach a goal!
Here's Quayd, running back after his last climb, to the truck when he heard his dad whistle. They each have a whistle and they come when they hear it. When they were young, they had to be within earshot of the whistle at all times. Now, they venture further, but not when hiking. They had a blast! It was a spectacular experience for us all!
An hour later, we were visiting at Carol and Robert's home for a bit before the first viewing. We left Carol and headed to the nearest city, where we had a hotel reservation. We changed clothes and then, at the last moment, decided that Doug and the kids would stay back at the hotel while I went back to the viewing, thirty miles away. It worked out that we were checked in at the same hotel that Carol's sisters and much family were staying. So, a group of us road back to the church for the viewing and all the kids, and a few men stayed behind.
The viewing was well attending that evening. Carol, Robert's son and daughter were in the line greeting people. After going through the line, I stood in the background alone for quite a bit of the time just watching from a distance. This friend of mine, she's amazing. She is gracious and kind and an example to us all. I'm so thankful for our friendship. At one point, I literally wanted to just scream, "STOP THIS!!! It can't be real!!!" It was so frustrating to know Carol is hurting and to not be able to do a thing to make it better! I hate it! But, she was just wonderful, greeting so many people, as she stood by Robert's casket. My heart hurts. I hated to leave her and go back to the hotel and there was very little sleep for us all that night. My kids adore Aunt Carol. Doug...well, there are no words. She is his sister in his heart, in his mind. He would do anything for her. We were all hurting because we knew that she was hurting.
After thru viewing that night, I returned to Doug and the kids at the hotel. We went out for a late dinner, then back to the room and turned the lights right off as soon as we were ready for bed. As I said, it was a long night. We were up for breakfast before 7, then ready to leave for the funeral by 8:30. Five grown people, especially two teenage girls in a hotel room... we did quite well getting ready so quickly and in peace.
Of course, Zee saw me with the camera and had to be silly.
Robert's funeral was perfect. His life long best friend and a business partner spoke. Also, his bishop, the bishop who was called to serve after Robert, spoke. We laughed, we cried and everyone left wishing that Robert could continue to be with us to make us all laugh with his wit and humor, to be an example of compassion and charm, to be there to share many more years with Carol. He was a good man and it was blatantly evident that he'd impacted many lives and was a man of integrity and influence. He will be greatly missed in that community, in the lives of his family and friends.
Following the procession to the cemetery, we joined everyone for family dinner, which we were invited to stay for. It was a lovely meal for 175 people prepared by the Relief Society. Lovely meal. After we said our goodbyes to Carol and her kids, we caravanned with friends/Carol's niece and her husband, Doug's co-worker/friend heading back, another direction to City of Rocks for a few more hours of climbing on our way home. However, after driving about 40 miles up a switchback winding mountain with steep cliffs that had the girls and I in a panic, the road was closed two miles from the peak!!! We were forced to turn around and return to where we'd began. At that point, we separated and we headed back to Utah, leaving them all to find another way into the City of Rocks.
Our three hour drive from there was a delight. The kids were playing "I spy" and a few other travel games and we ended up playing our own version of "Encore", where someone suggests a word and we all think of song lyrics and have to sing eight words from any song with the word in their eight words, until we are all out of songs from that word. The last person who sang a song gets to choose the new word. We sang to the words "think, wind, rain, blue..." and "love" lasted for over an hour. It was great fun and ZJ blew me away with the oldies that she knows! "I love Pandora, Mom!" Yes, she does!
As we were approaching Snowville, Doug and I decided to call his sister in Malad, ID and check in on her. She'd had a hip replacement two weeks ago. She insisted, "Please, come and visit!" and we were thrilled for the invite. We turned and headed up this old country side road across a mountain to Malad. It was the first time that Doug and I have been on that road since living on the ranch the summer we were married. We'd driven it weekly that first summer.
As we were heading down to pass on the Malad side of the summit, we were still singing and laughing, when we all noticed a truck off in the far, far distance. It was heading our direction in our lane!!! As we got closer, it was obvious that the guy was not moving. Doug slowed down. The truck got closer. Doug came to an almost complete stop. The guy still was barreling toward us. He was close enough for us to see his face and the beer bottle in his hand as he drank from it, still completely in our lane coming at full speed toward us. Doug realized that he wasn't moving and he wasn't slowing down and he hit the gas and pulled us over into the gravelly berm on our side of the road. (For years, Doug has always told me that if anyone is ever coming at you head on, you never cross the lane of traffic because they will eventually see you and they will try to correct by pulling back into their lane, then you will hit them head on anyway.) He did exactly as he has always instructed me. He was off the side of the road, the guy passed us right where we had been, literally a split second before, taking another drink from his bottle. Our adrenaline was up! Mine is up just reliving the experience! The kids were freaking out! I was freaking out! Doug was calm and pulled back onto the road and drove on. He was having the same adrenaline rush, but he managed to be in control for our sakes, as usual.
He suggested that I call 911, but we both wondered if we would even have access to 911 that far out. The dispatch responder was just as intense as I was and assured me that there was an officer already heading that way from a previous call and informed us that one from the next county was coming from the other side of the mountain. I called the police department tonight, to ask if they'd got the drunk driver. He is in jail as I type, two days later. Thankfully, he did not harm anyone on the road. Thankfully, our family was unharmed and able to return home in peace and safety, just as we had prayed to do before we'd left. Prayers answered.
It was a wonderful weekend. Heartbreaking. Wonderful. Spiritual. Uplifting. Heartbreaking. Robert's life was celebrated in a way that would have pleased him. I'll share a bit more about his service tomorrow. He was/is a good man. We were blessed this weekend with uplifting experiences, safety, good memories. Life is good.