On one of our last days in Sayulita, we received the sad news that Shane’s grandmother in Pennsylvania had passed away on Tuesday morning.  We quickly made travel arrangements to hop on a plane out to the east coast as soon as we returned to Seattle on Thursday evening.  We arrived in Baltimore on Friday morning, tired but thankful to be able to share this time of mourning with family.  The weekend was a whirlwind of services and family get-togethers, but through all the busy-ness, everyone found time to honor and remember Grace in their own special way.  She had been ill for some time, and although the family seemed accepting that this was her time to go, the loss was still very strongly felt – Shane’s mom was saying good-bye to her one-and-only mother; Shane and his sister were parting with a grandmother that had loved and nurtured them for years.  The night before the funeral, I spent some time at the hotel with Shane, his sister, and his parents, listening to them compose the eulogy that would be delivered the following day.  I sat on that couch for hours as they shared dozens of stories about the kind of wife, mother, and grandmother Grace had been.  Through tears and through laughter, I caught a glimpse of the kind of life this amazing woman had lived.  I wish I had known her when she was well.  She has left behind a legacy of very special children and grandchildren.

On Sunday, before heading out of town, we spent some time in the Pennsylvania countryside, taking in the beauty of a misty morning out among the fields.  Shane’s uncle had given us directions to an old covered bridge, and we eventually wound our way out to this amazing 160 year-old wooden structure, nestled into this quiet little patch of woods where bluebells bloomed along the banks of the river.  It felt like a scene out of Anne of Green Gables, as I walked among the wildflowers and gazed up at the bright green branches of newly leafed trees.  Lovely.

Since my dad’s family lives in the Baltimore area, we decided to head there on Sunday evening, for a quick visit before our Monday evening flight back to Seattle.  En route to Baltimore, we stopped in Washington, D.C. for a short bout of sightseeing, but I’ll save our 2-hour tour-de-monuments for another post – for now, I’ll just say that armed with his iPhone, Shane makes one heck of a tour guide.

Even on short notice, my aunt was able to rally the Jarrell troops and Shane and I were able to see all of my aunts and uncles in our short time there, as well as spend a couple of hours visiting with my Grandaddy.  I would have loved to have more time with them all, but I’m thankful for the couple of meals that we did have the chance to share together.  This was the first time I had visited Baltimore since my grandmother, Nannie, passed away a couple of years ago, and her absence was very evident.  Family gatherings are not, nor will they ever be, the same without her.  I was reminded again and again this weekend that family should never be taken for granted – every moment should be cherished, every memory tucked away in a special place.


  1. la v says:

    gorgeous pics! are you using a circular polarizer or darkening the corners through processing? glad you and shane had a meaningful time with family this weekend. mourning is only bearable when you’re surrounded by loved ones.

  2. Pat says:

    Kelly, I can’t tell you how thankful I am to have you in our family. This was probably the hardest week I have been through and I am so thankful that you and Shane were there to spend it with me.