December 16, 2019

Visiting the Reuleaux Triangle

Navigating Treasured Family Gatherings.

Visiting the Reuleaux Triangle

This past week we drove up to Northern Utah and entered our Reuleaux Triangle: that most unique curved triangular shape that exists between 3 shared circles.

Or in our case, the overlapping of three different lives.  That space where extended family members, celebrations, and traditions exist.

We stayed 8 nights in a hotel.  Participated in many family events.

Desired, treasured times.  Unique opportunities to celebrate and reconnect with loved ones.  Events we have learned to carefully plan, time, and buffer around.

One of the cruel things we've discovered, within the never ending grief you experience after losing your spouse, is that these types of events bring back intense beloved memories that physically and emotionally wreck you for days.  

What a ridiculous juxtaposition.  

So......... armed with the knowledge of past experience, here is how our wonderful week in our Reuleaux Triangle played out!

Saturday:  We drove to Salt Lake with Lizzie.  Maddy met us at the hotel.  We drove to Corner Cafe Bakery and had dinner with Ralph, Cheryl, Cory, Amy, and Cadence Jones.  It was great to see them!  So many mannerisms remind me of Brandon.  I can see him in their faces ❤

Sunday:  We drove to Henefer and had Kathy's 60th Birthday Party!  She is my step mom and has been in our family for nearly 34 years.  My sisters and their children were all there.  It was wonderful to celebrate Kathy's day with them.

We drove to Morgan on our way back to Salt Lake and stopped by the Peterson's. They are Brandon's Grandparents.  Lizzie's Great Grandparents.  Both are 90.  Married 71 years.  They have been special people to me for the past 30 years.

Monday:  Our first R & R day.  Sounds completely pathetic.  I would have said so myself a short 4 years ago.  But death changes everything.  We quietly hung out at the hotel all day. We worked out, read, colored, watched Netflix, engaged in computer  work for the business.   In the evening we enjoyed a delicious Indian Dinner.

Tuesday:  We drove up to Wanship to laminate croissant dough and start a second batch.  It was a treasured time with my parents.  My dad loves to bake and learn new food skills.  It was wonderful to share this experience with him. Damon wrote an entire post about it :)

Wednesday:  We headed back up to Wanship to bake our croissants and laminate our second batch.  Our ham and cheese creations for lunch were delicious.  The almond pastries were to die for.

We stopped by my Grandma Gwen's for a quick visit and to give her a Christmas Gift.  She's a classy lady that threw the best Holiday parties when I was young.  She has been widowed for nearly 13 years.  I have empathy for the pain she feels.

We drove to Coalville to visit my Aunt Meresa and see my cousin Holly.  When my mom was alive we would come to Coalville every Sunday afternoon.  My sisters and I would play with our older, but super cool cousins while my mom spent time sewing, baking, or just plain chatting with her older sister.  I have great memories of those years. Meresa is now 82. Holly is 55.  It was wonderful to see them.  In this picture, my older sister is between them.

Thursday:  Our second R & R day.  More quiet time, exercise, Damon taught a class online, computer work, art, and a little shopping with my Maddy. We had dinner with Maddy and Preston at the Pub.  Damon took Preston's new car for a spin.  I loved seeing them and spending some time with them.

Friday:  We had planned on going skiing at Sundance.  Some morning skiing with just the two of us and then meeting Damon Jr. and Navy for some afternoon bunny runs.  

Damon woke up feeling physical grief.  Something that just shows up some days. What does it feel like?  For him it manifests as extreme fatigue, cold hands, the inability to take a deep breath, intense anxiety, muscle aches.

We decided it would be best to take it very easy and stay at the hotel until mid afternoon and then head up to Sundance. It turned out to be a great experience with Damon Jr and Navy.  She is getting very comfortable on her little skis!

After skiing Damon was feeling a tad better and said to me, "Don't underestimate the power of the slopes!"

When we returned back to the hotel I went and helped Maddy set up for a Holiday Party her and Preston were throwing.  She had spent all day baking and it was so much fun to see her in her entertaining element!

Saturday:  We headed to Mapleton in the morning to pick up Heather.  The three of us headed off to Navy's dance recital.  It was raining and cold, but this darling little hula girl just warmed our hearts!  We had lunch at KFC afterwards.  It was a great time with Heather, Damon, Macall, Navy, Colbalt, and Macall's parents and sister.

We drove back to Mapleton to take Heather home and visit with Damon's parents.

Sunday:  We rested at the hotel until 1pm and then made our way back to Mapleton to Damon's parent's home for the Hanukkah celebration, Christmas Pageant, and Dinner.  A Janis family tradition hosted by his parents, attended by most of Damon's siblings, and several grand and great grandchildren.

I've learned the women light the Menorah and say the special prayer.  It was a wonderful evening.

After the party we headed for St. George and arrived home close to midnight.  

I'm pleased with the navigation of our Reuleaux Triangle this Christmas Season, and I am so thankful for the people, celebrations, and traditions that occupy that treasured space in our lives.