So many earth shattering things have happened in the past two days that I'm not even sure where to begin or even how many details I'm supposed to divulge (a few of these events were purely spectatorial) so I will be brief for now.
The first, for me, was that my big brother got married on Friday afternoon! We met Ruth when we went up to Canada in June and the children (specifically Zoë and Benjamin) immediately fell in love with her (we thought she was pretty cool, too). They got engaged at the end of August and set the date for late December but then the weather has been so dreadful already (Calgary got 9 inches of snow on Tuesday, for example) that they decided making the nine-hour drive to see each other every other weekend was too perilous to continue for the next three months so...on Friday David booked it from Prince George to Calgary so he could pick up his bride, get a marriage license and head to the temple.
They made it in time for their appointment, much to everyone's relief (though probably mostly their own). My mom's cousin Lori's husband Jim was the sealer, so that was neat, and my cousins Michael and Craig were able to come up from Grassylake to be witnesses, and my mom's cousin Darrel and his wife Dixie were able to make it as well.
Ruth is from Argentina so only her younger brother and sister were there (since they live in Calgary), along with a few friends. Her parents were planning (and are still planning) on coming up in December but now it will just be to celebrate. We, meanwhile, had been planning on going up for the wedding but now that it's just the reception we think we're going to skip that trip up north because we didn't really want to drive up to Alberta at the end of December anyway (miserably cold and hazardous driving conditions—no, thank you).
We are all so happy for them and they both look so happy. It was such an exciting day and I wasn't even there!
I have to tell this story through Benjamin's eyes, though, because he's rather hilarious.
June 30, the day we met Ruth, he said to me, "I really like Ruth. At first I was like, 'Ummmm...who are you?' But then I was like, 'Ooooooh!'"
July 31, soon after David told me he was going to propose to Ruth, I asked Benjamin how he would feel if David married Ruth. He said, "I would pretty much really like that. And I really like Ruth because—did you see?—I hugged her at Big Rock. So this would work out well."
Then yesterday, October 5, I showed him the picture of the new couple, obviously dressed in wedding duds (I would like to hear the story about how they outfitted a wedding party so quickly but we're trying to give them their space, you know?) and told him, "Look who got married!"
Benjamin beamed and said, "You mean I have a Ruth-in-law?!!"
He's very excited to have a new aunt (and from what I hear Ruth is excited to be an aunt). We're so happy to have her in the family!
So in the midst of a flurry of texts from my family—nay, it must have been a blizzard of texts because text messages were flying back and forth all day as we were trying to track the quasi-eloping couple—my mom said, "By the way, Uncle L's* brother was in a train/truck accident this morning and died."
Now, you should know that I didn't spend a lot of time growing up around my cousins but my cousins did grow up around their cousins. They're rather close with the cousins on their dad's side of the family, I feel like, so they probably don't feel quite as close to us. But I feel really close to them because for the few years I did live near any cousins it was near them. And often when I would be at the farm visiting my cousins we would end up doing things with their cousins (on their dad's side) because they all lived right there. so I feel like I know my uncle's brother and his family fairly well. I remember tubing down the canal with his kids, I remember them renovating their kitchen, I remember branding cattle, going horseback and/or four-wheeling with them. I remember this one mother cat they had who would always allow kittens to suckle even though she hadn't had a litter of kittens in years and had absolutely no milk for them (we had to try to stop that from happening because it would make the cat bleed**). I remember Aunt S.* sneaking us candy when we went to visit one time (because when she offered, Eric said something about his mom not wanting him to have candy and Aunt S. was like, "What happens in my kitchen stays in my kitchen," only she probably didn't say that but she did give us candy anyway and it felt a little nefarious). I remember when they sold their farm.
I feel, a little bit, like I grew up with the entire T.* clan as much as I grew up with my own T. cousins (though I'm sure they don't quite reciprocate, I know I'm at least friends with a large portion of the T.'s), so hearing this news made my stomach drop.
* Names redacted because his name isn't in the news and I don't know if everyone who needs to be formally notified has been, though I imagine that they have.
** Apparently a female cat is called a queen. I just asked Andrew what a female cat was called and he didn't know. He said, "Do they distinguish between the two? Aren't they just cats? What is a male cat called?" and I was like, "A tom (duh)," and he was like, "I have never heard that." So a tom is a male, a queen is a female (which definitely sounds familiar now that I hear it). Then there are gibs (neutered males) and kittens (juvenile cats, but you've probably heard that before). And a group of cats is called a clowder or glaring and I honestly can't decide which term is better.
Emily is here visiting right now and when I told her this she said, "Wait a second. Didn't you just have a family member die in a train accident...?"
And I was like, "Oh, my goodness. You're right!"
I was having such an emotional roller coaster of a day that I hadn't even connect those dots in my mind yet. In light of such tragic news from their dad's side of the family, it was super nice of Michael and Craig to make it to David's wedding! You should have seen the texts my family was sending back and forth.
It was a jumbled mess of "Oh, yay! That's so exciting!" and "How awful. My heart is breaking."
And then this morning it was announced that we'll be moving from a three-hour meeting schedule to a two-hour meeting schedule and...I'm so happy. Let me just say, I have a testimony of two-hour church. We had two-hour church over the summers in Cairo (when all the diplomats would leave for their R&R, leaving behind a pitifully few expats to keep the branch running) and I know two-hour church is true!
It feels rather monumental because I've been going to three-hour church for thirty-three years (it feels like forever to me because it is my forever). That said, we've changed meeting schedules before and everyone survived. I'm confident it will be a good change. So confidant was I that we were rather elated when the announcement was made!