My Utah Adventure
It’s been just over a year since we lost my precious sister, Elna. (Our loss, her gain to be sure!). Five of us – my sister Joie and I, Joie’s daughter, Christiana (she lives near Elna), and Elna’s daughters Heather (home is Maine) and Bethany (home is Utah)- were with her during those last days and they were beautiful and hard days. A bond was created during those days, one that I continue to marvel over, and treasure. So…
Last November I sent the following email to two of my nieces (Christiana and Heather) –
This year the holidays will be different for all of us. And even as we continue to be thankful for Elnaâ€™s complete healing, this will still be a hard different. This time last year we sisters were cooking up plans for our winter getaway, not knowing what so soon would draw us all back together again. Our lives have continued on, but with a big hole â€“ hard to define, but still an ache (a steal-your-breath-away ache sometimes!). Please know we are praying for you both (and Bethany and Tim and Henry also), that our Lord will continue to hold you close and you will feel his comfort.
But â€“ we are feeling a bit hug-deprived these days.
So weâ€™re cooking up a plan. A plan to get to Utah. A plan to get some hugs!
Here is what weâ€™re thinking â€“ A Utah Weekend â€“ April 13-17, 2023
I know itâ€™s a fair bit away â€“ and Iâ€™m only sending this to you two because Joie and I couldnâ€™t decide if it would be better to surprise Bethany (we would let Mike know, of course), or let her enjoy the anticipation of the visit. What are your thoughts?
Weâ€™d find an Air BNB or other rental, grab a puzzle or two, or just sit around and drink coffee (and eat chocolate). Maybe make some sushi. Elna loved sushi.
I think you two will be together over T-giving so maybe you could give it some thought over the weekend. Iâ€™d love for it to be sooner, but then again, maybe April will be a good time for us all to be together!
Sending big loads of Oklahoma love your way! Miss you ladies mightily!
And so the planning began! We did indeed find a great rental (thank you, Chris!), got the go-ahead from Bethany’s hubby Mike (he liked the surprise plan), and started booking our flights! Utah, here we come!
April 13-17, 2023
Joie, Chris, and I converged at the SLC airport on Thursday morning, picked-up our rental car, and scoped out our housing. Everything looked perfect! Although Heather wouldn’t be arriving until later that evening, once we were sure that Beth would be home from work, we three headed her way. I wish we’d had a camera crew to document the big surprise but trust me – it was great. There was that look on her face – “Why are these people on my front porch?” that then turned into “THESE PEOPLE ARE ON MY FRONT PORCH!!!”. Ok, the dog escaping out the front door might’ve interrupted the hug-fest, but there was no denying all of the excitement. It was the start of a fabulous weekend! We hung around the house until Mike (the super dad who was in on the surprise for months and joyfully loaned us Bethany the entire weekend) came home and then we headed back to our rental. Heather arrived later that evening, and once Bethany was finished with work on Friday (yes, we had to send her home that first night), the real party began! We had dinner at a fancy restaurant (you know – where the food is so fancy you have to take its picture!),
and watched the sunset over the state capital.
We stayed up late talking, slept in in the morning, and yes – did puzzles, drank coffee, and ate chocolate!
On Saturday we drove to Idaho (!!!) to the Lava Hot Springs and soaked away the afternoon.
(Please note – we do not know anyone in this picture. Before we could go to the hot springs we had to stop at a local thrift shop to get some type of bathing attire. There are no pictures of those outfits (but it was pretty hilarious all around!). We will never see those people again, right?)
We ate too much and did a lot of this –
But we also cherished those quiet moments of sweet reflection as we shared precious memories of Elna. And yes, there were tears.
We came from Maine, Vermont, Pennsylvania, and Missouri and gathered in Bountiful, Utah – all for some lovely (and well-needed) hugs! And we left with each other more deeply embedded in our hearts.
L-R – Me, Bethany, Heather, Chris, Joie
Thank you, Lord, for such a wonderful time with these dear ladies!