This trip was a flood of many different kinds.
On the way we saw actual floods covering vast amounts of open fields, already deep rivers turned to wide swamps, and forest of trees that looked as if they were planted in the middle of a lake. It was strange to see that much water displaced in areas where green (or hopefully soon-to-be-green) grass should have been.
At the funeral there were floods of tears. Not just for dear Grandpa Leon, but for any loss that anyone there had felt, seen or remembered. I know I cried not just for him, but for the memory of my own grandparents, previously gone to their own heavenly reward. Voices sharing stories and memories choked up with the realization they had to use the past tense now for describing this kind man. It was beautifully sung words and poetic letters that brought many of us tears, smiling and crying at the same time. I think that funerals easily bring our own mortality to the surface and we secretly wonder if anyone will have such nice things to say about us when we're gone. I can cry just because another person begins to cry. It's almost involuntary. It's as if their pain becomes mine and as apparent as the tears welling in their eyes.
Another flood I had continually during this trip was memories of my own family vacations when I was young. It was amazing how just getting up at 3 am brought a flood of recollections of drowsy walks to the jam-packed family car, in pj's, hoping it was warm enough to find a comfy spot so you could easily fall back to sleep. I think kids can sleep just about anywhere if they're tired enough. But I remember laying awake with my eyes closed many times, too. But it wasn't just that. I remembered my parents trying to get us to look out the window at the many views of passing land, animal and historical monuments. We would roll our eyes and get back to whatever else we had found to occupy ourselves at the time. Josh and Ellie were already giving us the same reactions as we went along. I found myself saying some of the same phrases my dad would literally shout as we almost missed another important sight that, if you took his tone seriously, would probably think it was the last time it would ever been sen on Earth. I remembered finding odd games to play in the car, including our favorite..."Pester Whoever Was Sitting Next To You." We'd have to draw imaginary lines using the seat seams to show where the other "player" couldn't cross, hoping to make the illusion of being separate. We'd stop at random parks or playgrounds to let out some pent-up energy before hopping back in the family car to do it all over again. But the best flood of new memories came when I'd look back at my children and see them happily occupied, knowing I'd have at least a few minutes of conversation with the Hubs in our semi-private front seats, whispering about our hopes and dreams, reflecting on what a great time we were having, waiting until we were needed in the back seats. We asked "what was your favorite thing?" about a million times. I didn't realize until this trip why my parents asked us that. It was so we would remember. Calling up the day's events, pouring over details of the day's happenings, made us remember. Some floods are good, I guess.