Monday, October 20, 2014

Not sure where to start here…so I'll jump to the middle of the week because I want to remember our first grandson.  John Patrick McLaughlin.

He was born October 19, 2003, about  2 months early.  Too soon.   We should have been celebrating his 11th birthday Sunday.  But instead, we remembered him.  We told Melissa & John we would never forget him.  So we remember.  Happy Birthday JP.  We love you and miss you EVERY day.

It was a whirlwind week.  At least it seems that way now.  Donny had a conference at Disneyland in Anaheim.  We stayed at the Disneyland Resort Hotel-very nice.   He was busy all week, I had Downtown Disney to keep me busy.  And a pool.  And two books.  Very relaxing week.  Until Saturday.  Had tickets to Disneyland - we got there at 7 a.m. - back to the hotel around 9 p.m.  Wore my Fitbit Flex (tracks my steps) - we walked over 7 miles that day!  Disneyland is a lot smaller than Disney World - but POSITIVE there were a million people there that day.  The lines for food were as long as the lines for rides.  Fortunately we got there early enough to miss a lot of the lines.

LOVE Toon Town…it feels like you're walking around in a cartoon!

and of course nothing better than the Disney Parade!

LONG day.  Got back to the room around 9 p.m., just in time to see the end of the Notre Dame/Florida State Football game.  Should have stayed at the park a little longer.  We are Notre Dame fans and they lost in the final seconds…

Had to get packed and ready to get up early the next morning.  Picked up a rental car and headed for San Diego to the USS Midway Museum, then lunch with a good friend (rugby) of Melissa's, Kyra, Dane and Hunter.  

Bunks.  Talked to one of the docents - (she works in the library on the ship) - she said when Dad was on the Midway, they didn't have bunks, they had hammocks.  

on the flight deck...

San Diego skyline

Hunter…Kyra and Dane's son

Great visit, then on the road again.  Up I-5 (I think it's the Pacific Coast Highway) to Burbank.
We originally were going to drive up Route 1 along the coast - would have taken a couple more hours and we  were both exhausted-so stayed on I-5.  Checked in around 7.  The desk clerk pointed to my shirt and said "My wife played agains them"… I forgot that I had an Old Girls Rugby shirt on.   He said his wife played for UK and Lexington.  Told him about Melissa and gave him a FORT bracelet and card.

Up early again to get ready for the Ellen Show.

Nicest thing about the Ellen Show?  We met some really nice people before, during and after the show.
We we very early for the show, so we took a walk. Found a little Mexican Restaurant a few blocks from the studio.  Sat outside and two couples sat next to us.  They were military friends…Marines.  Met in Japan and remained friends.  One couple lives around LA, the other was visiting from Florida.  Talked about our kids, grandkids, gave them FORT bracelets and cards.  
Later, we met four women from NY.  Mom, two grown daughters and mom's sister.  FORT bracelets and cards to them too.  
Gave ellen one too.
On the shuttle on the way back to the hotel, two women, friends from Oregon (Barb & Georgia), were on a girls getaway.  We picked them up after a tour of the studios.  AND they got tickets to Conan OBrien show.  We talked on the way back to the hotel,  about where we were from, then what airports we flew in to…then somehow we talked about flying into Atlanta.  Barb said "I flew into Atlanta a few years ago to do a 3 day Breast Cancer Walk".  You know where THAT conversation went!

A woman in line in front of me as we were going into the studio had a teal rubber bracelet on.  I asked her if it was for Ovarian Cancer.  She said "No. my son died.  I wear it for him"  And you know where THAT conversation went.  Her son, Terry, was in the military.  Had PTSD.   Suicide.  She goes to Compassionate Friends too.  She got a FORT bracelet and card too.

When we got back to the hotel, Marcus (desk clerk when we checked in) was there.  He said "My wife remembers your daughter.


So we come almost 2000 miles to California, and in every city we were in, someone knew Melissa.  "FORT".  Irvine - Doug & Peggy.  San Diego, Kyra & Dane.  Burbank, Marcus' wife.  Somehow, it doesn't surprise me.

And it doesn't stop there.  All the cards & bracelets we gave away…MORE people will know her. And that makes me happy.

If you are just reading for the first time - I thought this would be a good picture to share of Melissa.  Shows her personality.  

This picture was taken at Octoberfest in Cincinnati with the Naked Cowboy.  It was just a few months before she passed away.  Only a few weeks before she went into the hospital. This was Melissa.
Happy. Full of life.  Just how I try to remember her.

No pics of Andrew and Max this time.  

That will be soon.

As much as I love vacations, I am always anxious to get home.

There's no place like home.

Love you pretty girl.  You are remembered.

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