Monday, July 21, 2014

Celebrating Brian

This past weekend I flew to Rochester, NY to attend my cousin Brian's memorial service. Although it was very very sad, I think that Brian would be pleased with how this family came together to celebrate his life and say "goodbye". There were many tears, but there was also laughter and many stories shared. Brian loved to laugh and he loved his family, so I think he'd approve.

I flew to NY alone. No kids and no Chris. I'm not good about taking time away for myself and so it felt really weird walking through the airport alone on Thursday night. No kids. No husband. Just me. So weiiiiird.

I met up with my parents and brothers and we stayed together the five of us. I can't remember the last time we've spent a weekend as "the original five", since two of us are married with kids now. You may not know that I grew up in Rochester, NY for the first part of my life, until I was 12 years old, but I did. We lived a few streets over from my grandparents and also close to my aunt and cousins. My father also grew up in this town. Even after we moved to Michigan, we went back quite often to visit. To say that Rochester holds a special place in our hearts would be an understatement. In a way, it will always feel like home.

My brothers and I hadn't been back to Rochester in many years so there was lots of walking down memory lane, literally and figuratively. My brothers and I drove by the house we grew up in, hit up Cooper Deli where we used to ride our bikes to buy penny candies, and walked by the elementary school we attended as kids. It all seems like yesterday.... and at the same time like it was a lifetime ago.

We drove by my grandparent's house, which is now occupied by another family. As kids (and young adults), we LOVED being at my grandparents' house and I think the whole Mooney clan would agree, we loved spending time there, sitting around the dining room table having spirited discussions and laughing. That house holds so many memories for us. My grandparents have been gone almost nine years now and it still felt strange not to pull into the driveway and walk through the side door.

On Friday night, my cousin Julie and her husband Joe had everyone over for a BBQ. They are such generous, wonderful people and really know how to throw a BBQ! It was an evening spent catching up, remembering Brian, eating lots of food, telling stories and listening to stories.

This kind gathering, reminiscing, and laughing, it's good for the soul.

However, never far from our minds was the reason we'd all gathered. We came together as a family to say "goodbye" to Brian and celebrate his life. The "goodbye" part was so difficult, but I thought his memorial service was beautiful and really captured the spirit of who Brian was.

He was and will be, so missed. I kept half expecting him to walk through the door and join us at my cousin Julie's BBQ Friday night, and at dinner Saturday night. It completely sucks that he can't be here with us. There's no other way to put it.

Tonight, I'm leaving NY, feeling so blessed to have the family that I do. I really love these people so much and I'm proud of the history we share as Mooney's. We have an unbreakable bond, no matter what. We'll always show up for each other and there will be laughter and stories and that thread which connects us. And Brian will always be missed. 

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