It all started a few weeks ago when Richard's uncle Dick, who has been suffering from cancer for a few years, ended up in the hospital and we weren't sure how much longer he would be with us. Richard's mom (Irene) flew in from California for a visit/to be here for her brother and we spent most of the week in and out of the hospital visiting. It was a bittersweet time with everyone. Most of the family headed back home after Dick was moved home with hospice. Irene was able to stay until just yesterday and was fortunate enough to help care for her brother during his last few days and watch him "go home" to be with the Lord. Richard was also able to spend some quality time at his Uncle's bedside and also witness the beautiful departure from this world. How hard it is to watch a loved one suffer though praying God would grant you just a little longer with them but also that He would take them home. Irene was able to stay for the funeral and we were able to see the Hutton (Irene's family) a little more. We were also privileged to have some of the Hutton's stay in our home and others come for visits in between the events. It was such a pleasure to open our home to this loving family and be able to reciprocate as many of them have graciously opened their homes for us on numerous occasions as we passed through MN. We always look forward to their visits and cherish the time together. Through all this we took advantage of some precious time with Grandma Irene and sure enjoyed her visit! She was such a blessing and it was such a treat to see her for a few weeks. We hope it won't be too long before she is able to come back for a visit.
During all this craziness we were also privy to a visit from our dear friends in Iowa City who feel more like family than "friends" after all we have experienced with them. Clint, Katy, baby Isaiah Hawthorne and Paul Asjes were able to make a quick, but cherished trip to our house in Grand Forks. Clint, Katy and Isaiah were in MN for a month while Clint did a rotation for medical school and Paul is in Des Moines, IA for law school. It was surreal to have them in our home visiting and having some wonderful time of fellowship. This visit made our "house" feel more like home. It made me miss Iowa City and all the great times we had together. Katy and I were able to sneak away for a little one-on-one girl time (thanks boys), then the guys took a turn taking in a Sioux hockey game while us girls held down the fort while the little boys slept.
Richard and I have felt as though we are feeling more settled in Grand Forks and it is feeling more like home as the days pass. However, after watching so many loved ones coming and going through our house we (or at least I) feel like this is home. One of our favorite things is to have food, fellowship, and fun with friends in our home. It filled my heart with joy to see our couches filled with family and friends throughout the past few weeks.
Thanks to all who helped fill our hearts and home with memories, laughter, and love. Our door is always open!