I arrived in New Orleans on Thursday morning. Nicky drove me to the airport and had me laughing the entire way. I was able to tell him about my date (which I thought was successful, and hopefully, he'll call me back), he was able to give his theory on Bon Jovi's new song (it lures you in with the riff from "Livin' on a prayer, but then switches it up on you). Free tv and a 2 hour flight later, I arrived in New Orleans. The humidity hit me like a ton of bricks. We (my dad, brother and I) headed to the church to pick up a scripture that I was going to read during the funeral. We stopped, had a bowl of gumbo and then went back to the airport to pick up my uncle.
Friday morning was low key and the wake was Friday night. That wasn't the Grammy I knew. She had lost so much weight since the stroke...her hands were tightly clasped...it wasn't her...I sat there in wonder of what had happened, how everyone was reacting, and was extremely sad. Then my sister told this amazing story:
When my sister found out about my grandmother, she decided to take her two kids to her mother in law's so she could have some time to herself. When my niece asked what was wrong, my sister replied that she was going to miss Grammy. My niece paused and then said "well, mommy, I hear Grammy saying that she is going to miss you more." After having a few hours to herself, my sister and her friend went to pick up my niece and nephew and grab McDonalds for dinner. The kids wanted their toys and Julie (my sister's friend) pulled them out of the bag. Julie turned to Shelley and said you aren't going to believe this. The toy that night was a Pegasus, the symbol to the Mardi Gras carnival club my grandparents had founded almost 50 years ago.
After some tears and some hugs, we headed back to the hotel. Saturday morning, we arrived at the funeral home and went to the church. We buried my grandmother under the hot sun and then went to my aunt and uncle's house for lunch. It was there that we discovered how serious Katrina was going to be and we left to make decisions.
My brothers and nephew were going to leave bright and early on Sunday morning. I had a flight out Sunday afternoon, and my parents were going to leave on Sunday evening. The flights were canceled and the airport was closed about an hour after we arrived. So, what else could we do but join in with the 1 million people who were told to "haul ass out of New Orleans". My parents, who were born and raised in New Orleans had never seen anything like it. A 3 hour typical drive to Jackson took 7 and we arrived in Arkansas at 9:30 pm. We stopped, slept and got back on the road Monday morning. We got into Kansas City at 4 pm on Monday and I flew out at 6:15 pm. I finally got back to Denver and decided that I needed today to recover.
I'm currently sitting in my favorite coffee shop, enjoying a bagel, a latte and the "Garden State" soundtrack. It's what my souls needs. And this afternoon will be spent with Andy and that's what I need to. I need to be around someone who loves me deeply, who I love deeply, where everything is understood and where for the first time since I've been in Denver simply be loved upon in a way that I'm use to.
Otherwise, I'm just waiting to see what the week holds...and hopefully, I can get through some of the grieving that I need to.