Going back a full year from today, we have taken five trips to Kansas.
The first was in December (2012) when we flew to meet the birth mom who had chosen our profile book. This was the most harrowing trip in terms of travel, as we nearly died trying to land in St. Louis. But that's another story.
The second was in December/January when we met and fell in love with our beautiful Evie.
The third was in May when we visited Evie's birth mom and Grandpa. This was a quick trip, but we got to spend time with Grandpa, particularly Sunday afternoon when we just sat around and talked and I got him to reminisce about growing up on the farm in Idana.
The fourth visit was in August for the adoption-related trial. Not a fun trip.
And the fifth was just last week when John, Evie and I went to Kansas City for Grandpa's funeral.
Grandpa died Sunday, October 20th, surrounded by sons and grandchildren singing Psalms to him. Just the way he wanted to go, I think. He was 92 and had lost most of his sight, most of his hearing, and other physical abilities which frustrated him. He never lost his sense of humor, though, nor his love for his family and his Savior, and for those blessings, we are grateful.
As soon as we got the word, Copelands across the country mobilized!
I found generous friends to take the kids, then I drove to Beaver Falls, where Evie and I flew with Mom, Katie and Sean to Kansas City. I was so very thankful to not have to fly by myself, especially with a baby! (You all know how much I love to fly!)
The funeral was Tuesday at the Shawnee RP Church, the church where Grandpa and Grandma attended for...well, a long time, since before I was born, so that is a long time. Also, it is the church where I was baptized, lo, these many years ago.
Grandpa served in the army during WWII and was proud to have done so.
Wade Mann led the service. Grandpa was in charge of constructing this building 40+ years ago.
If anyone wasn't properly overcome with tears yet, this just about did it. Here, my cousin, David, presents the flag to my dad, the oldest son, with the words spoken to so many families of veterans and soldiers.
David and his sister, Faith, are in the army (she's proud to outrank her older brother now!); their younger brother, Daniel, was in the army for a time, and their father, my Uncle Stan, recently retired as an army chaplain.
The next day, many of us drove up to Superior, Nebraska, to lay Grandpa to rest beside his wife, who died nearly 14 years ago.
It was a sad time, yes, but also a joyful one. We had fun seeing family and friends from all over and spending time together. We reminisced about Grandpa and commented often on how much he would have enjoyed such a gathering, especially as it contained a good amount of Psalm singing.
Grandpa gave us many things, but he most wanted to hand on his faith in and love for Jesus Christ. Grandpa was by no means a saint, and he knew it, and was infinitely grateful to the Lord for taking him in hand, forgiving him, and blessing him in spite of his unworthiness.
"As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers we are dust. As for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower of the field; the blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more. But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord's love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children's children -- with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts. The Lord has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all."