Back in the summer, what feels like a lifetime ago with all that has been happening over the last six months, I failed to document a wonderful if all-too-brief journey that Paul took with his mom. At the end of July, the two of them got on a plane and flew up to Grand Forks, ND, and joined the rest of the family – all that could make it – for a big old-fashioned family reunion. Many cousins were there, and aunts and uncles, and they came both to see one another, and to celebrate Uncle Roland’s 90th birthday. Paul got some good photos and I added my special magic to them for this gallery.

The first day of their visit they got up in the morning and drove up north to Walhalla, ND, or as Grandma calls it, “Roots!” She is quite certain this will be her last visit to her Roots, and she made the most of it. The most important thing was to see her sister, Diane, who is no longer cognizant of much, but that doesn’t matter. She was able to be with her, hold her hand, and speak the love in her heart.

While there, they visited Paul’s grandpa and grandma’s graves, and went up to the hill overlooking the Pembina River. Paul got a pic in front of one of his cousin, Tom Karel’s trucks – since Tom couldn’t be in Walhalla that day. (I didn’t know this before just now when Paul told me, he named his Tacoma “Tom Truck” after his cousin! 🙂 )

The next day there was the big celebration with Uncle Roland, and many wonderful pics with his aunts, uncles and cousins.

Finally before they left they spent a couple of days at cousin Sandy’s lake home (or as I like to call it, the Resort). What an absolutely stunning place to gather with family and retreat from the world. They are blessed with the means to make it beautiful and it was fun to see a little bit of what they have built there for entertaining and playing on the lake, including a Big House, the Quiet House, a Boat House, pontoons, jet skis, speed boats, kayaks, a play-land for kiddos, huge game room, the circle of easy-chairs, a fabulous kitchen and great room, indoor and outdoor seating, all in a park-like setting at the end of a secluded peninsula.

I know the time there flew by too quickly, but I am so thankful Paul was able to make this trip with his mom to visit their Roots – both for him to reconnect with family, and especially for her. What a blessing to be face to face, for the last time in this life, with many of her cherished relatives. There is grief in the parting, but deep peace in the knowledge that one day their reunion will be permanent.

Annette Heidmann

I homeschooled four kids all the way through high school and then fostered/adopted 7 more children. I am wife to a very smart mathematician; I dabble in photography, write and sing, paint in bright colors, and love being Catholic!

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