Friday, January 16, 2009


It is really difficult when I decide to take a day off work from school. I was fortunate however, that this week was semester exams. I wasn’t sure if I should take the time off to attend my grandfather’s funeral, but I am so glad that I decided to in the end. My substitute only had to give one test and so it was the most ideal day this week for me to be gone. Unfortunately, my father was taken to the emergency room the day my mother and he were scheduled to fly to California and ultimately they could not attend.

Rising at 3:30 a.m. Wednesday morning was not an easy thing for me to do, but I managed to get out of bed and ready for my early morning flight. My roommate, Tiffany, kindly offered to take me to the airport which saved me some time and money with parking. I have always wondered what it would be like just to walk onto a flight with no luggage. I must admit that it sure is easy to go through security and get on and off the plane quickly. To facilitate my travel time, I dressed for the funeral services, took a jacket and my purse and I was off. The flight was a quick hour and 10 minutes and once we landed I decided to check to see if I could catch an earlier return flight. I was scheduled to fly home at 10:30 that evening. The staff at United Airlines easily put me on standby which was nice.

After picking up my car rental I drove to San Rafael and I went to my Aunt Shari’s house where I spent a few hours talking to her and her husband Luke. Luke is an amazing guy from Belgium who was paralyzed from the neck down over 20 years ago. Even with his limited mobility he showed me around their place and we discussed his new business endeavor. Within the last few weeks he created a website with my cousin (his stepson) Aaron ( which documents his story. He hopes to feature other people’s stories and products that have proven to be useful to their rehabilitation. Shari and Luke are vegan’s and eat a totally raw diet. They were on a juice feast while I was there and Shari let me taste their juice and told me all about how they make their beverages. I have to say it was really tasty.

Due to everyone’s schedule Shari, Luke and myself each took separate cars to Santa Rosa for the funeral services. The viewing was at noon at my grandparent’s church building. For the family viewing I was able to spend time with my Uncle Bob and his wife Diane. Their sons Jason and Brian were also there and I haven’t seen my cousins in seven years. I didn’t really talk to them (I have only ever met them twice) but they are handsome young men. Brian is in the Marines and Jason is training to be a firefighter. In addition to their family, my Uncle Larry and his wife Deborah were there as well as some cousins of my dad’s and my grandmother Kay’s family. I was also glad to meet my grandfather’s sister, Betty who I have heard about but never met.

My grandfather married Kay in August of 1994 and during that time her family just really adopted them into their family. I could tell how devastated Kay’s grandchildren were over the death of my (and their) grandfather. It was especially hard on Jack and Jessica. My grandfather has helped raise them and has taken them to and from school everyday. They have routinely slept over and call him Pappa Carl.

The funeral service was beautiful. The Bishop gave the eulogy (which my father had been scheduled to deliver) and it was positive and really spoke about the kind of life my grandfather had created. I hope that at my passing similar accolades will be said.

I took my camera on the trip with me and had intended on taking pictures of my grandfather and everyone, but it just didn’t feel appropriate. Even though I saw my grandfather just six months ago, seeing his body just reiterated to me how our bodies really are just shells for our spirit. It did not look like the man I knew.

One of the sweetest part of the services was a song performance of “I am a Child of God” by a young man my grandfather had taught in primary. I can’t imagine a more difficult audience to sing to and the boy did a great job. I was singing along in the audience to lend him my moral support.

After the service we drove to the cemetery where the Military Honor Guard was present to play taps and present the flag to Kay. My grandfather had been an aviator during World War II, however he never saw combat because he was stationed stateside. The dedicatory prayer at the site was given by the Bishop and it was a really spiritual afternoon.

One of the things I love most about Mormons is their efficiency. By the time we returned to the church all the food was ready for the luncheon. The Relief Society sisters had taken care of everything. At this point it was already 4:00 p.m. and I need to leave by 4:30 to return to the city to catch my earlier flight. I managed to eat something quickly, give everyone another round of hugs and I left.

I wasn’t sure that 2 hours would be enough time to get back to the city. Santa Rosa is more than 75 miles from San Francisco and I was sure I would run into rush hour traffic. The roads were fine until I was within 10 miles of the city and then it was stop and go. By that time the road signs were indicating that it would be 40 minutes to the airport. My flight was boarding at 6:55 p.m. and the time was now 6:00 p.m. I was sure that I wasn’t going to make my earlier flight. I was trying not to stress out because I already had my boarding pass for the later flight, but I didn’t want to get home at midnight and the day had been emotionally exhausting.

The time slowly clicked away and I was moving less than 1 mile and hour. By 6:45 p.m. I was within 5 miles of the airport and the signs were indicating that it would still take 12 minutes to get there. Through all of this, I managed to take the wrong exit and had to spend a few precious moments turning around. Finally, I made it to the rental car area, dropped off my car and dashed to the shuttle back to the terminal. I entered the security line at the airport at 7:19 p.m. only to have my hopes dashed yet again by the long, slow line of travelers ahead of me. Once I got through security I hurried over to one of the departure monitors to see what gate my flight was scheduled to leave from. Now this whole way I had been praying that my flight would be delayed just 10 minutes so that I could get on it. Much to my joyous surprise the monitor said the flight would be leaving at 7:34 p.m. (it had been scheduled for 7:25 p.m.). I hustled to the gate and the attendants were wonderful and still let me slide into the plane before the shut the door. My butt hit the seat at 7:28 p.m. to my huge sigh of relief.

For the last couple of years one of my favorite television shows is the Amazing Race. I have always wanted to audition for the show and Wednesday was my first taste of the stress at trying to catch my flight at the last minute. I of course arrived home with no incident and managed to get to bed at a reasonable hour.

Spending time with this side of my family is a little different. I have only been around them a few times in my life and consequently they are virtually strangers, but a funeral makes you realize how precious life is and how important it is not to waste the time we do have. I have been working on a book about the Boive’s for a while and after talking to my aunt and uncles I decided I would try and come back this summer with the book completed and to spend more time getting to know my family better.

As much as my grandfather will be missed, the day was beautiful and reassuring to me about the love of our Heavenly Father. It was also a reminder that in the end all we have is the love we have given to others and the service we have rendered. Everything else is irrelevant.

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