We drive to the airport in an hour to go back home. I've been here eight days, Jon has been here four days. It rained mostly. My brother's son, Elias, came from Germany with his mom, our whole family was together including my exchange sister, Katerina, and her family to mourn my brother's death and rejoice in his going home to heaven.
We had the memorial service on Friday. It was raining. It was a beautiful service at my parent's church and the pastor spoke a beautiful message of redemption and rest. The pews were filled with family and friends and we all went back to Mom and Dad's house afterward for a reception. I saw my cousins I hadn't seen in a long time, my uncle, my parents friends who knew me when I was a kid.
On Saturday the FedEx truck arrived with Joe's ashes. It was hours before Birgit had to go to the airport and so we quickly assembled everyone and made our way to the coast. We stood on big rocks, said a prayer and Elias scattered his dad's ashes into the swirling waves. I think Joe would have loved that.
We got together for dinner last night and I got to spend some time with my brother's kids. They are funny and creative and smart and fearless and we laughed together and sang some songs together and it was a wonderful way to close a hard week.
The sun came out this morning. It's shining right now and it's time for us to go back home and relieve Jon's parents who have been watching our kids all this time.
Life presses on. There are funny things that happen, mundane things, hard things, busy things and we wrestle with a season of sadness in the midst of the ever moving gears and clocks and calendars. I wrote a song for a friend while I was out here. I visited with a high school friend who I never get to see, but when we do see each other it's like we haven't skipped a beat.
After a week I need to go home, but after a week this feels like home again too.