I have been wanting to make this video since I found out I was going home to Salt Lake for my grandpa’s funeral. This song came to mind and kind of stuck there.
The phrase going home is interesting. What does it mean to go home? Traveling to Utah, or going home to Utah if you will, takes me back in time. It’s like I’m visiting a past life. Even though I was married with two children in Utah I still feel like it’s my home only in the sense of my being born and raised there. My little family and I have created “home” in California. It’s a difficult concept to explain. I don’t think I even understand the feelings that stir up when I go home to visit.
Most of the time I visit Utah by car unless I travel alone. In which case I fly. The way home via car is through the Bonneville Salt Flats. I can’t help but think of my dad and his family. He grew up in Tooele County. Actually, before we even reach Utah I notice the mountains. Heath says every time without fail I see a mountain range soft and purple far in the distance and ask, “Are those Utah mountains?” He confirms and I say, “I knew it!” Then my heart and mind are a jumble of inexplicable emotions as I think of the other half of my heritage. The Tooele County half.
Of course seeing Farnsworth Peak is my favorite part of the journey. That’s my mountain. I hiked that bad boy all the way up to the KSL towers. It was not easy. I feel a sense of pride when I see those towers. It’s a reminder that I can do hard things. It’s a reminder of the faith I have in the Lord since my friends and I navigated our way to the top through prayer and trust. The Seminary Teachers who hiked with us were only there for adult supervision in case something happened.
Soon we round the corner and I strain to find the C on the other side of the mountain. A symbol of my high school alma mater. The view outside my childhood window included the mountain, the giant C, and the train just below. All was well in the world when I heard that train whistle. All was well in the world as I took in that view. As often as possible, I transported myself to a peaceful dimension by looking out my window.
The trip that I came home from today was by plane. As the plane was descending into the Salt Lake City airport, a woman in front of me asked the man next to her what mountain range was outside her window. He told her they were the Wasatch Mountains. I took notice of the mountains every chance I got. Heath loves the Utah mountains.
On Saturday after the funeral some of us got together for kite flying.
On the display outside the chapel was a picture of my grandpa kite flying. My cousin Kelsea asked about it. My mom told her that Grandpa loved kite flying. I had no idea it meant that much to him. Kelsea suggested we all go that afternoon in honor of Grandpa. I will post about that experience later.
Kelsea, her older sister Danelle, Uncle Chris, my mom, and I all went in my mom’s car to Jordanelle. We drove up Parley’s Canyon to get there. It brought back so many memories of Grandpa teaching me to drive. My mom said that was where he taught all his truckers to drive too.
Being home with my family honoring the memory of Grandpa was awesome. There were so many stories and memories shared. It was impressive to see how large our family has grown. It was said in one of the funeral talks that Grandpa loved his family. Grandma and Grandpa’s house would be full of people and noise. Grandpa would just sit in the middle of it loving every second of the chaos because he was surrounded by his family.
I will admit there were moments where even among my own family members I felt lonely. I missed Heath and my kids so much. At the second viewing right before the funeral I was wishing I had someone to emotionally lean on. My mom was busy making sure Grandma was taken care of. It seemed like everyone had someone.
The family walked down the hallway single file into the chapel to take the seats reserved for us in the front. As we neared the overflow doors I glanced in. Not only was the overflow needed, it was full. At least half the gym was filled with occupied chairs as well. Tears spilled out at the overwhelming show of support. We walked into the back of the chapel.
Every person who had come to the funeral was standing. I felt like I was walking through a crowd of angels applauding us. I imagined that was how my grandpa was greeted when he crossed the veil onto the other side. With multitudes of angels and ancestors surrounding him. Even though I was there to honor his life and memory, I felt like I found a sense of belonging. I was marching with an extraordinary family, my family, to honor our inspiring family captain and fearless leader.
There were times before as well as times since that moment that I felt like a stranger among family because my husband and children weren’t with me. In that moment I felt like I had a place and I belonged. I was no longer the outsider, the girl who left home to seek adventure in one of the most expensive places to live. I was proud to be me – a Swain, a Clarke, and a Westover.
Last night I watched my sister and my cousins with their kids and I missed my own something terrible. Bad enough I actually wished to be annoyed by my kids and their kid-ness! Tonight I got what I wished for and it wasn’t nearly as fulfilling as I once thought! Annoying is well, annoying!
At some point in every trip to Utah my mindset shifts from Utah being “home” to California being “home” and I can’t wait to go back. I look forward to the change in scenery as I travel. I had a window seat on the flight back. I watched the Utah mountains change to the unique hills of Nevada to the gorgeous trees of California. As you can see in the video, I love the trees of California. When I see those trees I am home. California may come with strange customs, social rules, outrageous prices, and inconvenient BART strikes that all but shut the Bay Area down. But it is home. I am so happy to be back.
Heath and Gwen met me just outside security. Gwen could hardly contain herself until I met her at the end of the elastic divide. She gave me the biggest hug and told me how happy she was to see me. She also said she forgot what my voice sounded like!
Later when I picked up the boys from school they were also thrilled to see me. Gwen and I walked up the path to pick them up on the blacktop. Parker was playing with a friend and didn’t notice us walking toward him. When he did he ran to me and gave me the biggest bear hug. When Gavin saw me he dropped his backpack where he stood and raced to me to hold me in a long embrace. I was so happy to see my boys.
I’m not ready to go back to my routine responsibilities but I am so happy to be home. Home is where the heart is. In the last four days I have been in both “homes.”