There are really no words to describe our adventure to Italy. It was an amazing time for all of us. To even go on this journey was such a feat because between the five of us there are 11 children to be cared for. So, you can imagine we all felt priviledged to be there and make no mistake we made the most of our time away but all the while so grateful (and indebted) to our families for the opportunity.
Most of you know that Blair requested while we were on his 40th birthday trip over a year ago to be cremated and scattered over Italy because he loved it there so much. It was a casual conversation with Mark and Larissa about death, funerals, etc. and during that discussion a week prior to his own death he made his wishes quite clear. So, in an effort to do what he asked we embarked on this journey with his ashes to make his request a reality. I have to admit that this trip, as excited as I was about taking it, was clearly bittersweet. This was it-the last and final piece to finish on earth to a life well lived. A finale of sorts and I wanted it to be memorable for the children and for those who journeyed with me. Oh the pressure...
I knew we would leave the ashes on the first day of our journey so in an effort to make the scattering 'official' I wrote these words on the plane over to Zurich. I cried tears-- of sorrow, of sadness, of relief to finally be doing this, of joy for Blair in heaven, as I wrote these words that I unashamedly share with you. The emotion almost overwhelms me now just thinking about sitting in that cramped seat on a plane for 8 hours reflecting on my life over the last year and our life together. What a cleansing it was...
'I write this as we are crossing the ocean to leave you here just as you asked. Of course, it is not you and we all know that. I wanted to do as you wished and honor your memory, your life, and our time together on earth. So that is what we are doing. You would want us to leave you here and never look back figuratively and literally. You lived your life with no regrets and I will have none when the sun sets on this day. We both lived and loved fearlessly and I am so grateful for the time we spent on earth with you. I know you hear the constant rush of angels wings and music that we cannot even begin to comprehend in our finite minds. What a day it will be when we meet you and Christ Jesus in the sky. My heart leaps at the thought of that reunion with you in your perfect, glorified, unblemished body.
I can't even express my gratitude for the two children that God blessed us with. Every glance into their precious eyes is a glance back into yours. I want Davis and Campbell above all else to know that Jesus Christ is the reason for everything we did together and for all that I do now. I know they will watch this video one day and maybe think it a little strange but more than anything else I want them to remember that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord for those who KNOW Him. I want them to watch as your ashes scatter to the wind and know that our God is bigger than death. I want them to revel in the fact that your death has brought great change in the hearts and minds of hundreds if not thousands and to never forget that all things work for the good of those that LOVE the Lord. We will forever have a hole in our lives and hearts but the reason we go on is because Christ Jesus has filled that hole that nothing else can fill. Davis and Campbell have a treasure trove of funny memories, of great accomplishment, and sheer greatness to hold onto the rest of their lives. Thank you Blair for giving them such a heritage from the Lord!
I know that I will remember this trip the rest of my days. There is nothing that you wanted more than for us to leave your ashes here and celebrate a life, our love, our precious friends and family, and our blessings. SO, WE WILL!! We will eat our way through Italy and we vow to remember that though sorrow may last for the night, unspeakable joy comes in the morning. I am thankful to my Heavenly Father who loved me enough to give me the priviledge of sharing my life with you. I am thankful to my precious friends, Beth and Rebecca and Karla, that have joined me in this journey of completion and I so am thankful to my sister (in law) and in Christ who holds my greatest link to Blair's hilarity and zest for life on this earth. I love you and I thank you!
'Lord, You have given us today as a gift. We take it gratefully and vow to never forget that death is temporary. Eternity is forever!!! Help us, remind us, and empower us with your Holy Spirit to help others understand the reality of eternity and the temporary state we live in. Remind us daily of heaven's glory! Give us glimpses and help us to believe and live like this day could be our last. Bless our family as we press on. Lord, give Davis and Campbell a supernatural understanding of their Heavenly Father that heals the absence of Blair in their hearts. Give them the ability to comprehend eternity at a very young age! Thank you for giving us life by the giving of your own! We love you, we praise you, and I give you all the glory! AMEN!!'
In the pouring down rain, ponchos on, 'having a moment', on a moutaintop 500 feet above 'the' Roman Road we then scattered Blair's ashes after I read this. Final does not even describe it...but reliving it only reminds me that it is so not final and oh I am so glad.
We continued the journey to Lecco, Bologna, Modena, Florence, Verona, Vicenza, Venice, Marostica, Como and then back to Zurich, Switzerland. What a trip! God be praised for safe travels and honestly the most belly-laughing time I have ever had in my life. What a trip!!