Tuesday, July 14, 2009

An Unexpected "Vacation"

(Sorry no pics, just reflections today.)

This weekend, we took an unplanned trip to Gallop, New Mexico. My sweet 13 year old cousin, Savannah McMullin died in a car accident while traveling with her family on a camping trip. It is a parent's worst nightmare. It was heartbreaking. Although she did not survive, many miracles happened to help her wonderful family. What a blessing the gospel is to us, to know of Heavenly Father's love, to know we will see her again and be together again.

We took our unscheduled trip to New Mexico with my family, driving in two cars as a little caravan. My boys are so young and don't really understand funerals, so they were just happy to be going on vacation. (Eating fast food and driving in the car for a long period is a vacation for them!)

We drove through Holbrook to get to Gallop. If any of you have an obsessive Cars fan (or two) in your home, you may know that this is the town that was the main inspiration for Radiator Springs. It may as well have been Radiator Springs to Andrew. He was enchanted. He wanted to stop and stay. We stopped at a McDonald's and let him get a Happy Meal. Kid food heaven. Adult food nightmare...

We spent the afternoon and evening with the McMullins, celebrated Kyle's 7th birthday, and Grandma Smith's 80th. We had dinner and lots of cake and ice cream, and ended the evening with our own fireworks show. (Gotta love the legal fireworks in New Mexico.)

We stayed in a little hotel in Gallop called the Royal Inn (I think). It wasn't very royal, but it was a bed, it had air conditioning and a good rate. We even tried out the indoor pool that night. The boys loved the "pool house". Andrew loved it even more when he discovered that the hotel was off of Route 66!

The funeral was so hard and sad, as so many funerals for young ones are, but there was an overwhelming spirit of love and comfort as well. There were so many people. Savannah and her family are so loved by their community, ward members and family. Jenny and Aunt Paula sang, "For Good" from Wicked and it was beautifully done. Mom played the last piece of music that Savannah played before their trip, from "Pride and Prejudice." It was haunting and beautiful as well. Her father spoke, her sisters spoke. It was a sweet service and strengthened my testimony.

The caravan to the cemetary was so long, at least 30 cars. Zach and Bryan sang, "The Lord is my Shepard" and it was lovely. Then, we went back to the church for dinner and visiting. This was not an ideal family reunion, but it was so good to see family there. I was so grateful that we could be there.

Driving back on Saturday evening after the funeral, both boys fell asleep in the car and missed Holbrook. "Mr. 4" cried for a good 5 minutes or more when he found out he missed it. I don't think I have ever heard someone cry, "I want to go back to Holbrook!" before. Then we stopped in Payson for Wendy's and he was a happy boy again. What an unusual, yet suprisingly uplifting, little trip.


  1. I am so sorry about your cousin's death and I admire your faith and courage in the face of this loss. The part about missing Holbrook made me smile.

  2. that is so hard...thanks for sharing.

  3. Oh Diana, I'm so sorry. Isn't knowledge of the gospel a wonderful blessing?

  4. I searched for Savannah's name and your blog came up. She died the day we moved away from Gallup and I didn't get to attend her funeral or help her family. John was our Bishop and I love the McMullins and am so sorry for the loss they and their family and friends have suffered.