The trip to Portland was unplanned until a few days before we left. BJ's older brother passed away suddenly, and we went to his funeral.
The trip to Yellowstone had been in the plans from the day I found out my brother was going to be in the cast at the Playmill Theater in West Yellowstone, MT.
It was strange having the two trips so close to each other. One where we were saying good-bye forever to BJ's brother, and one where I got to see and hang out with my brother.
I had been SO excited to go see Justin. He loves acting, and to spend his whole summer doing what he loves with other very talented people doing what they love... I was just so excited and happy to get to go see him in that environment. Not to mention how much I had missed him since he left for college, and then went straight to Yellowstone, and is headed straight back to college as soon as he is done there. I may get to see him as he drives through... but he'll be in a rush since school will have started before he gets done at the Playmill.
At Matt's funeral, I cried when BJ cried. I cried when his wife was crying. I cried when his little granddaughter asked why she couldn't open the box and see her Papa inside. I cried when I saw the sign that said, "All fresh vegetables are from Matt's garden, Enjoy!" He loved his garden, and he loved sharing his garden with the people he loved.
All of those tears were empathy for the pain everyone else was experiencing.
There were two moments where I cried for me.
After the funeral, we decided to go to Matt's house to hang out with his wife and everyone all together. I didn't want to go to his house when he wasn't there. I couldn't pull it together enough to walk in. I didn't feel like I had a right to cry over BJ's brother... He needed me to be strong and comfort HIM. I didn't want to be in a party at Matt's house, and have him not there to enjoy it. He would have LOVED having all of his siblings, his kids, his nieces and nephews, and so many friends there to share his house with. Eventually, since I couldn't seem to stop myself, I just let myself cry and feel sad that he wasn't there.
|It is a Great Uncle's responsibility to teach his Great Niece to sneak frosting off cakes. She kept calling BJ and his brother "Papa", because all three sons look alike. She broke my heart, because her Papa was her favorite friend.|
We came home, unpacked, and then packed up to leave again two days later.
I cried uncontrollably as we drove to see my brother. I felt guilty - as if somehow me getting to see Justin was hurting BJ. I felt bad somehow that my brother was alive, and his wasn't.
They say that losing someone makes you appreciate the people you have left - that may be true, but for me, I had a hard time (at first) enjoying seeing my brother because I felt so bad for BJ.
But then... I got to spend time listening to Justin's plans for his future. We went hiking, and I took lots of pictures. I got to meet the rest of the casts of the shows he is in. I got to watch him play two of his dream rolls.
|I told them to smile... I don't think they even looked at each other to know that they were giving me the same non-smile smile...|
|I don't know exactly what was happening in this picture, but it's classic. I'm glad BJ got this picture.|
|When Thenardier is selling fudge, you buy it!|
|Thenardier after the show. I think this is the night that the rest of the cast almost had everything cleaned up before I let him go back and do his job to help. Sorry to all of the Playmill cast.|
|LeFou singing... except this isn't LeFou, it's Justin dressed as LeFou singing "Friend Like Me" before the show.|
|It made me SUPER happy to see how much he was loved. After the show, he had a whole group hanging on his every word.|
|They love him.|
Thinking about how much I miss him, I felt really sad for BJ again. I think how much I miss seeing Justin, and the thought of never seeing him... it hurts almost more than I can bare.
Life is short, and unpredictable, and I'm glad we got to be there for Matt's funeral and to spend time with everyone together. I'm really glad I got to see Justin perform.
Though, I'm pretty committed to my hashtag (#stillnevermissedashow), so I'll be seeing all of his shows at least once.