This past week, Israel and I joined my parents in a road trip to Memphis, TN. The purpose of the trip was twofold: 1.) to introduce Rae to her great-grandmother (aka: "MeMaw") and great-aunts, great-uncles, cousins, etc. and 2.) to check in on my Uncle Dave (dad's younger brother) who was very sick in the hospital. His liver was failing him.
We packed up Monday morning and drove off at about 6:15 am. The trip down went smoother than any of us expected with a 6-month-old in tow. Israel was amazing the whole ride down. We made it to Memphis and my dad dropped us off at MeMaw's, then headed directly to the hospital.
When he arrived at the hospital around 9:00 pm, he found out that his brother - my uncle - had died at 6:30 am, just minutes after we had left Minnesota. This was a huge shock to all of us. We knew he was sick and had been in and out of the hospital. He had recently been diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver amongst other things. But we did not realize that his liver was literally falling apart inside of him, or that his time was so limited.
My dad was so sad that he hadn't made it there for David. There were a number of issues that we had in dealing with the hospital he was at that would have made the world of a difference...but I won't get into all of that. The bottom line was that we weren't there soon enough, and Dave died alone. This is so heart-wrenching.
Our trip was transformed from a chance to help David out to a working-out of the details for a funeral, which was held on Friday afternoon. Dad took care of all of the arrangements. The service was beautiful, and we were blessed by all of the family and friends who showed up to honor Dave. He is healed now.
The other part of the trip was an absolute joy. MeMaw was SO happy to meet Israel and show her off to all of her friends in the senior community where she lives. Rae was so sweet the whole time and stayed almost perfectly on schedule. She was amazing. And the trip back to Minnesota was equally as smooth. Praise God! And thanks to all of you who were praying for us because it WORKED!
JP didn't come with us to Memphis because he has been in California helping his oldest friend move back home to Minnesota. He flew out to San Diego on Sunday and should be home late tomorrow night. They went surfing, snorkeling (in caves with SHARKS!), visited Six Flags in L.A., and visited other friends before hitting the road. Once they DID hit the road, however, their car overheated and they were forced to drive through the desert with no air-conditioning in 110 degree heat! They have since fixed that problem and are slowly making their way across the nation, back to my arms! Please keep them in your prayers!
Here are some pictures from our journey to Memphis!

Car Seat??!!?? Who wants to stay in a car seat for 13 hours???

Four Generations - Lynn Harpel, Ruby "MeMaw" Screws, Me, & Israel

MeMaw and her "little precious"

Israel with her Great Aunt "Nini" (Anita) and Great Uncle James

Rae with my cousin's sons, Dane & Tatum

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