Lindsey Chapman's Travel Blog

Life and Death
November 23, 2010, 12:50 pm
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9:34 a.m. I’m sitting in a cafe in downtown Minneapolis, eating breakfast with my dear friends Rachael and Jarvi hours before I board my flight back to Santiago.  I get a call from my mom and I silence it, trying to give my undivided attention.

9:38 a.m. I receive a second call from my mom and realize she may actually have something important to say. I answer to hear my mom in tears as she says, “Grandpa died.” I immediately think about his sense of humor, his generosity and his strong character, and how much I will miss him. Rachael and Jarvi offer their condolences and hug me tight.

Me on the left with Grandpa LeRoy 

10:37 a.m. Delta officially changes my flight from Thursday to the following Tuesday.

The next few days friends and relatives pour into the little town of Glennwood, MN in honor of Grandpa LeRoy. It means so much. One of my grandpa’s good friends was in Omaha on his way to meet his family in Colorado and turns around to come to the funeral. It’s funny how death puts life back into perspective.

My cousin Julie flies in from New York and runs the funeral service. My sister and I sing and play piano, and read scriptures. My cousin Mike shares Grandpa’s obituary and a prayer. My dad and my uncle, and a few of my grandpa’s friends share fond memories. My mom reads aloud a few stories my grandpa had written. We all eat hamburgers at the A&W after the funeral because that was Grandpa’s favorite place. It is all very special and unifying as a family. I will always be grateful that I was able to share such an intimate time with my family as we mourn the loss of someone we love.

11:59 p.m. It is Monday night, and I am excited and feel ready to depart for Chile tomorrow. I will carry with me the wisdom, the confidence and the work ethic Grandpa LeRoy exemplified to me. I will remember the ways he put others ahead of himself, and the way he loved to make people laugh. I will look forward to the future with hope and determination to beat all odds, because that’s what he did.