Saturday, November 28, 2009
This week our family traveled to Eastern Oregon to spend time with Emma Whitnah. Emma lives in the small town of Richland Oregon. Richland is about 45 minutes off the highway and outside of Baker City Oregon. It's about a 7 hour drive from our place. I make sure sandwiches are made, fruit is packed along with cookies and crackers for the journey. It seemed strange going to Grandma Whitnah's with only 2 of my 5 kids. It was a quiet ride. Bethany had her headphones on to listen to music and Bryan brought his portable DVD player to play music and watch movies....both are life savers on a long trip like that! I wish we had those when our other kids were little.
On Thanksgiving Day Wes' brother Mike and his wife Angee arrived to share the day with us. It was nice to spend some family time with the Whitnahs. Mike and Angee have 5 kids like we have yet there kids are still pretty young. They range in ages from 18mths to 15 yrs. Close to where we were 10 years ago. It was fun to see how little Qwynna had grown and how smart she was! She can speak so well now and boy does she run the show! Her brother and sisters do almost anything she wants...this can be good and bad. Even still it was great to see them and enjoy getting to spend time with them as well as with Grandma.
Qwynna looks like she'll be quite the musican some day and she already enjoys to sing like her sisters. Jaina and Kady. I am not sure if Jarin likes singing that much but maybe someday :)
Bethany enjoyed spending time with her cousins...it kept her from getting too bored. She never would get bored before while at Grandmas but now that she is the oldest at home, it seems to happen more. Bethany and Jaina enjoyed getting to know each other better.
Bryan LOVED playing with Betsy. Betsy is Grandma Whitnah's dog and boy does Betsy loved to play ball! That kept Bryan busy. Not to mention a 2 hour walk that Bryan and Wes took on Thanksgiving morning. They both enjoyed it and the fresh air. Bryan with his autism seems to thrive in the outdoors much more than indoors. It's like his personality comes alives. Thanksgiving is a time when family and friends gather and sometimes "pig" out on too many foods but this year I found myself thinking of Grandpa Whitnah who passed away in August of 2008 and my Dad, Grampa McAndrew who passed away in October of 2009. How thankful I am for these 2 good men who raised good kids and loved their grandkids. What a wonderful blessing. Both their wives are alone now and I know that brings them sadness at times but I also know that both of them are grateful for the many years that they spent with their sweethearts and all they were to them.
Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful for all our many blessings...the blessings of choice people who have been placed in our lives. Sometimes for a short time and sometimes for a longer time. Either way it is important to remember and be thankful
Friday, November 6, 2009
Early on the morning of October 17th the world lost a bit of magic. A voice was silenced and a song could no longer be sung. My Dad, Richard Frederick McAndrew,passed away silently in his sleep after a brief illness. He did not suffer and was only sick for such a short time. That was such a blessing. I was able to make flight arrangements and get to Pennsylvania by 7pm on the night of the 17th. My sisters and brother and Mom and I were all together and shed many tears as well as had many laughs as we shared memories and thoughts of Dad.
I am SO glad that I was able to be home in August to visit my parents and spend time with my Dad. It was a nice visit. When I left August the 20th my Dad reached toward me and looked me in the eye with a penetrating look that made me wonder if he was saying goodbye to me. It felt so strong and yet I tryed to shake it off. My daughter Becky felt the same thing when she said goodbye too. I guess he was telling us goodbye...or "see you later".
Any one can be a father but it takes someone special to be a Dad. My Dad was the greatest and he always took time for us kids, his grand kids and especially Mom. Mom was the love of his life and we all knew that. He treated her with the greatest respect. For that I admire him greatly.
While we were at the viewing at the funeral home a woman who works for Walmart Stores came to pay her respects to Dad. She told us that everyday when Dad would walk with his friends at Walmart that Dad always took time to say hello to her and ask how she was doing and he gave her his great smile...a thing I will miss so much. I, along with my family were so touched that this woman took time out of her day to pay her respects to Dad. It was a teaching moment. First,as my sister Mary said.."the world saw Dad the way we did" and secondly..how important just saying hi and smiling are to help boost someones day. I learned a valuable lesson from this.
My Dad loved his Irish Ancestry and it was only fitting that at his funeral "Oh Danny Boy" and "When Irish Eyes are Smiling" were sung by the St Bernard's Choir. A Choir that my Dad had sung with for over 50 years.
It has been 3 weeks now since Dad has passed on from this life. He is now with his Mother, Grandmother and other family members that have passed on before him. I am sure they are enjoying having him with them...enjoying him just as much as we are missing him.
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of His hand.
I LOVE you Dad