Monday, July 16, 2012

To Los Angeles and Back…

If you have been keeping up with me lately you know that my grandma passed away last week and I have been on the road making my way to LA and back ever since. Today is the first day that I feel somewhat myself. I have no luggage to pack or unpack and I am able to finally sit down and take a breath

In doing so I thought that I would recap my trip to LA and back for you. This was my first time ever flying by myself and I was very nervous about it. I feel that a majority of my trip was spent either on an airplane or hanging out in an airport looking out a window… but not ALL of it.

In the SKY!

I woke up at 3:00am on Thursday out of sheer nervousness and was on the road by 4:30am heading to O’Hare. My husband dropped my off and wished me luck navigating the airports. I checked in online and brought only a carry-on suitcase, so there was no waiting in line to check in or check baggage. I was through airport security in no time. Although I was a little surprised by the fact that I was x-rayed?!? Seriously... an X-ray?

Phoenix AZ

Once I located my flight I started the waiting game. I boarded my plane once it arrived and then waiting in Phoenix for my connecting flight. Once I finally made it to LA I made a quick phone call for my family to come and collect me and I waited curbside to be picked up {my grandmother lived less than 10 minutes from the airport}.

In LA even the stairs have something to say!

Once with family, we headed to my grandmother’s home to visit with relatives I had not seen in years and some that I had never met. We traded Lois Gertsch stories and pretty soon we were laughing about my grandmothers crazy antics. She was definitely a character and there were a lot of stories to be shared.

That afternoon we visited the Holy Cross Mortuary for my grandma’s viewing. This was extremely difficult for me. My grandma was a robust energetic lady who was always so full of life that seeing her in death was hard to take. I was thankful to be able to hold my mother’s hand through this process; both to get and give support.

Holy Cross Mortuary

The next day was the funeral where we said goodbye to one of the most amazing women I have ever had the pleasure and privilege to know and love. The funeral even had a priest who was so hot he relieved himself of his vestments mid funeral, grandma would have loved it!

Post-funeral we headed to a local favorite restaurant and had a reception for friends and family. We stuffed ourselves with food and drink. We told more grandma stories and even packed a doggy bag or two {grandma was ALL about the doggy bags}. This part of my LA trip did not last nearly long enough.

My brother, who is the only one of the five children in my family to not get a childhood trip to LA, wanted to see the beach. So we hit the road and headed down to Manhattan Beach LA. We walked around as my mother shared some insights from her childhood. Pretty soon though it was time to call it a night and head back to the hotel.

Manhattan Beach LA

Manhattan Beach LA - foot prints in the sand

Saturday morning we were up and showered and out the door with bags in hand by 7:30am {California time} heading to drop off the rental and catch the shuttle to LAX. Once there I did not have to wait in line to print my boarding passes {via US Airways – which was great to fly.} and was ready to zip my way through security about an hour before the rest of my family {who flew Southwest}.

Then the waiting game began and I hung out at the airport visiting with family until their flight departed at 10:30am. Then I re-read the Hunger Games trilogy via my Kindle App on my iPad and relaxed until my 12:45 flight was ready to depart. Once in Phoenix my flight was delayed by 2 hours and I was able to get a bite to eat and explore a bit. Once my plane arrived I was in my chair and anxious to get home. By the time 10:30-11:00pm rolled around I was just rolling into O’Hare and boy was I exhausted. Hubby picked me up and once I curled up in bed and my head hit the pillow I was out cold.

Home Sweet Home - Chicago!

I cannot tell you how happy I am to be home and how blessed I feel to have been able to fly out to LA to say goodbye to my grandma. I know that she is in heaven with the rest of her family and that she is at peace. She was one OUTSTANDING woman and I have been blessed to have her in my life.

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