in memory

In amongst the horrific weather in my area these past two days, my family gathered to remember the life of my uncle Jimmy (or Jim) Shannon. That is him on the left, with my mom and my uncle Johnny on my wedding day 15 years ago. Uncle Johnny passed away in 2002. Jimmy passed away exactly 15 years after that photo was taken.

This was my car after my wedding. See that gray car lurking behind us? That is my uncle, ready to follow us down the street, horn blaring. This morning as I came home from the gas station, a car just like that with an OU plate on the front bumper pulled in behind me, reminding me of him and of that day.

My cousins did an amazing job with the service, and it truly was a time of remembrance and celebration of my uncle. He was quite a character. My two older cousins were able to attend, making it the first time we have all been together since 2002.

And this was all of the Shannons, except for Shannon (just to confuse everyone with the name thing), Bonnie and her two girls, and the children of my older cousins:

My children went with me because it was going to be easier timing-wise with school pickup, etc. They both enjoyed spending time with family, and as an added bonus, I had them with me while classes were being cancelled, tornadoes were uprooting, and contact with Norman (and my husband) was cut off.

After the funeral we headed west on I-40 to the graveside service. We passed tornado damage from Sunday in Shawnee--while listening to the tornado progress as it approached Moore. My cousins and aunt all commented on my uncle's love of tornado chasing and how fitting that we were having the service on that day and in that area. As soon as everyone made it to Dale, the service started. Five minutes later it was over, and we quickly made plans to relocate to my parents' house in Tecumseh. It was not the time for people to head back to Tulsa, Ardmore, Moore, or Norman. Nor Edmond, really, but my sister and two older cousins desparately wanted to get back home after suffering from the tornadoes the night before. I think they crossed the path of the dissipating tornado and all ended up with hail damage. So thankful they made it home safely.

The rest of us gathered at the house, horrified at the images on the tv, but also getting a little bit more time to visit. We ended up back in Shawnee to eat at Van's, a favorite of my uncle's (and all of us). It was a bad day for all sorts of reasons but I was glad to spend it with family.