So here’s the situation. A couple of weeks ago, we got a call from Mom. Grandma Neal wasn’t doing well. The family had a meeting with Grandma’s doctor after an exploratory surgery. Things did not look good. They gave our wonderful, kind, beautiful grandma about a month to live. They set up hospice. Calls were being made. We planned to come go out to California for a visit over Halloween weekend. On Friday evening as I was headed out to a work party, we got a call from Betsy. They had left to see Grandma that weekend. The news was not good. Grandma was not doing well. She hadn’t had anything to eat in weeks and she was going down hill fast. It took a minute for the news to sink in. By 8:30 that evening we were on the road headed down to Oxnard California to be with our family and see Grandma.
We arrived around 5:30 local time. Mom and Dad gave us the bed that they were sleeping on and we crashed. We slept for a few hours. I was awake with the light.
Mirah and Karl were unaware:
Mirah and Karl were unaware:
The whole gang was there at Aunt Kathy’s house. We stayed in a room down stairs. Betsy and Nick were in a bed upstairs. With Malia on an air mattress at the foot of the bed. Asher and Judah were also on the floor of that room. Mom and Dad slept on an air mattress in the middle of the kitchen. Zach was on the coach in the living room. And then there were Caitlin and Scott, also in the living room, but on an air mattress. The whole gang was under one roof.
As soon as the gang was ready, we headed over to the Neal house to see Grandma.
Quick lesson for my family on the Jim Hite’s family.
Jim is Regin Neal’s oldest son. He goes by Jim, but is called Tony by his family. His name is James Anthony Hite. His father is Delford Neal (who goes by Neal), although he is not his biological father. (Karl provided this information FYI) The story goes, when asked if he wanted to take the name Neal, he said, “I’m Tony Hite!” So he stayed. So he is the only Hite in his family.
Jim has two brothers. Steven and Marshall.
When we arrived at Grandma and Grandpa Neal’s home were met by Aunt Teri and her daughter Jamie. Teri is Uncle Steve’s wife.
She was so sweet to us and got us all set up with toys for Mirah.
I loved their home. It was so much fun to be in Karl’s dad’s childhood home. We were surrounded by pictures of the family and here are some of the best pics:
That’s grandma Misca, Grandma Neal, Dad, and Maila.
This one is awesome.
That’s Uncle Steve, Grandpa Neal, and Jim.
As we arrived, Grandma Neal had just gone to sleep so we gathered in the living room and chatted with family. Such as Uncle Marshall.
Scott was there and Caitlin too.
Malia was there too!
There was a time that the kids started to go nuts and played in the yard.
There is a lemon and a orange tree in the yard. The kids had a blast.
This is Marshall’s dog Darby
She was a sweetheart. She just let the kids play with her. They dropped fruit at her feet and she just sat there.
After a while, Karl and the other guys got a little antsy and joined the kids outside…
Grandma was awake and we had a nice time talking with her.
Grandpa Neal and Grandma Neal.
Mirah giving her Great-Grandma a little kiss.
Goofing around with Grandpa.
Grandma was getting tired and the kids were getting cranky AND Aunt Kathy had set up lunch for everyone at the park down the street from her house, so we left to have some lunch.
Mirah fell asleep on the drive over and was, understandably very tired.
Grandma Hite joined her in a little lie down.
After a while the gang was all there and we had some cousin too. Kathy’s son Brian and his Wife Jenny and their family came over for lunch.
Wherever Karl goes he seems to become the grill master.
After lunch we went back to Kathy’s and tried to get a nap in. Grandma was asleep again and so we stayed away. Mom and Dad went back to the house to wait for her to wake up.
Hours passed and we were getting a little antsy, and the kids needed to get out so we packed up the gang and drove the short trip to the Silver Strand beach.
Zac was not ready to be in the water, but the water was ready for him.
Mirah’s little foot prints in the sand.
At this moment Judah was yelling, “I’m loving this!!”
I don’t know if you can see the GLEE on his face.
Last shot of the gang as we were getting set to head back to the cars.
Hites on the beach.
Mirah had fallen and skinned he knee earlier at Grandma’ house, and the salt water was stinging her.
On Uncle Richard’s recommendation we went to Pepe’s fish tacos for dinner. It was right off the beach so we just walked.
Judah and Mirah held hands the whole way.
Fun note, the kids were all soaked so the boys just wore their sweaters and I thankfully had an extra dress for Mirah. Also, the weather was AMAZING so they were just fine.
The sun had gone down once all of our food had arrived.
It was a cash only place. Scott SAVED all of us by getting the tab…which I never paid back! Yikes! I got something for you in the male this week Scott!
Worth the wait…YUM! Fish tacos.
When we got home, the family had a meeting. In an effort to forget some of the emotions and unpleasantness that followed, I will simply say that Grandma was getting overwhelmed with visitors. TOTALLY understandable. So after speaking with her, they came to an understanding that everyone would come for one last visit the next morning at 9:30 AM.
We stayed up talking and playing cards against humanity. It is always nice to be together and play games. Still our minds and hearts were heavy. We went to bed and my family at least slept HARD through the night.