Unexpected Trip to the States

On the last day of the second week of school, we got word that my grandmother in the States unexpectedly passed away. So the kids and I bought flights and went back for the funeral a couple of days later.
Although M is almost six years old, I've apparently never flown by myself with kids before. However, this was a pretty painless experience! It helps that they're very experienced travelers, of course. Their favorite thing recently is to get in line for security by themselves and then hand their documents to the officer by themselves, put their own bags on the belt and walk through the metal detector and then get wanded all by themselves. It's actually pretty funny to see E go through first and then wait patiently by the end of the security area for me to get through while all the security officers look around frantically for the parent of this extremely independent 4 year old. But I'm pretty sure it makes their day too. It's really cute.
After hearing that my grandmother had passed, I was really emotional for the next several days, but once we arrived in Houston with my family, the effect of being with others who also loved Meme kicked in. Even without a loss to process, many of my cousins are so much like me that just being with them gives me a strong sense of identity. How much more so did their presence help me process Meme's death.
The kids also loved seeing all of their second cousins and they had a blast remembering who was who and reconnecting with the ones close to them in age. They also loved Meme (who didn't?), and it was important for them to be able to be at her funeral and say goodbye. Of course, they didn't mind all the attention from their grandparents and aunts and uncles either.
Meme is sorely missed already, but the main feeling I'm left with after all of that is gratitude. I'm grateful she was in my life for so long, I'm grateful she was at our wedding, I'm grateful M and E could know her, I'm grateful she left such a legacy of valuing family, I'm grateful she had so many kids who gave me so many cousins, and I'm grateful for the chance to go to her funeral even from across the world.