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[personal profile] helblonde
Ermagerd, I do not have an opinionated family.* I was the organizer for Grandma's memorial, which happened this past Saturday. Everyone pretty much went with what I suggested, since apparently no one else had been thinking ahead toward this. It's like I'm a professional event planner or something.

I found us a room at the Lindsay Wildlife Museum, where Grandma used to take me as a child. It was the perfect place to memorialize a nature-lover. Grandpa was happy with it, and, once they saw it, so was the rest of the family. It was also nice having it so close to my grandparents house. Katie, on staff there, was super easy to work with.

I found our caterer, too. It wasn't so hard; The Growler has a catering business, Simple Elegance. Grandpa chose a fancier menu than I (or my aunt, who was the 'contacting family' part of the team) would have picked, but he has always been generous in his hosting. The food was so good. I got a lot of complements, even from our family's picky eaters. Lindsey Wildlife liked working with Simple Elegance enough that they're going to see about adding them to the preferred caterers list. So, hooray for supporting friends.

I made the programs, too, which meant nailing down my unopinionated family on who was presenting what and in what order. And did we want music? Here are some suggestions. And, eventually, I got yeses on music and on what passed for eulogies. My grandpa, bless his heart, wanted to do a slideshow. It's very us, but I made him do it after we let the kids go outside and play.

The day went really well. Moriven and my cousins watched the kids in the neighboring park before the service. Hooray for tiring out little cousins time! There were plenty of people on hand to set up. The caterer was on time and set up quickly. We started with lunch, which was really nice, then Grandpa welcomed everyone and thanked everyone who had helped.

Then Ursus Major and I sang one of the songs "(All God's Creatures Have) A Place in the Choir". I am so impressed at how much he has been practising the song and that he was willing to get up and perform it in front of everyone. He even had his own flourish on the final notes. I'm a proud Mama.

Then we let the kids go outside and had our slideshow and remarks and my cousin David played "Begin the Beguine". Towards the end, we sang "Amazing Grace". I led the singing, only because I had suggested the song. Grandpa said he'd like to have it be a part of the program, but we never settled on anyone who wanted to lead it. I led into it with some comments about Grandma's Scottish dancing days. Then, because I'm a wiseass, made the old joke about all bagpipers having to know two songs: "Amazing Grace" and "Scotland the Brave". From which I launched into "Scotland the Brave." I think I hit the comedic stop in the right place, and segued into "Amazing Grace". People said nice things about my singing afterwards, which was nice, since that never happens to me.

We wrapped up with opening the floor more generally to memories from the assembled friends and family. Then, the chaplain from the hospice company gave our closing remards. Grandpa said to me afterwards that he was a bit disappointed that more people didn't share memories, but our family is so introverted that if we're all in the same room, half of them trip their introvert switch and clam up. While I have learned extrovert behaviors, I understand the feeling. We spend a lot of time just watching the kids roll around, not just because we don't want them hurt or to break stuff, but also so that we don't have to come up with conversation.

We finished up the memorial a little earlier than I expected, so folks really got a chance to explore the Lindsay. We cleanup crew got things down and put away really quickly. Katie, our event contact said she'd never had a group actually finish early. Even the caterer left with five minutes to spare on the contracted time. I stayed to the end to be sure that the caterers were gone and the room was set to the Lindsay's liking, as one does, unless, I'm told, one is just about anyone else who rents the room.

**************

The best parts of the weekend, though, were time spent with the family. I picked up my cousin, Heather, and her kids from SFO on Friday. Then, spent the afternoon decorating a birthday cake for her brother, David, with her 5 year old, Jillian. That was awesome. Her 7 year old, Logan, came with me to pick up the boys and then we went up to Grandpa's house, where they were staying. We were joined by Heather's sister, Alisa, andher two little ones there. And the kids ran and ran and ran and giggled and ran. Poor Logan and Jillian fell asleep waiting for dinner to be served. El Charro was really slow and they were really tired.

Saturday evening I prompted Grandpa about dinner, since he didn't seem to have noticed the time. I could see the signs of imminent starvation in the kids, though. Then we had birthday cake David.

Sunday was more relaxed. Most folks had already headed home, but Logan and Jillian  and a few of my cousins were still there. The kids played through the afternoon and got to pick out shells and special rocks from Grandma's collection. Ursus Major and Miss Jillybean were the only ones interested, but they had a great time exploring. There are thousands of shells in dozens of boxes. I had no idea. We've offered them to the Lindsay for their collection, along with her insect collection, because none of us want more than a couple of shells.

Ursus Minor, ever the thinker asked me what the first song was, so I suggested that he ask my cousin David, since he's a band teacher. They had a great talk, which led to super extra fun when Uncle David pull out his clarinet and let the kids toot a little and press keys as he played. It was an hour of giggles and wiggles and learning. It was so much fun to watch. I think he was having as much fun as the kids. His wife's pregnant, and that kid is going to have some fun parents.

It ended up that David sat next to Ursus Major on the way to dinner. They had more fun talking about music and musical instruments for the rest of the evening. If I had any money right now, I'd see about music lessons for my boy, because Interest Has Been Piqued.

Overall, I think the weekend was so good because none of us were sad that she had passed. It's a relief after 30 years of decline. Also, we really like each other.


*Except for one thing: Grandma did not want Grandma's cremains at the memorial. "It would be too morbid." Uh, okay, Grandpa.
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