21 August 2007

The Memorial

Everything went very well on Saturday, exactly as I had hoped. We had perfect weather (70s, sunny), a gorgeous setting, delicious food, and an abundance of friends and family. People played games, made scrapbook pages, and talked about John. I only wish that I had had more time to spend with each individual person who was there. To make a somewhat morbid comparison, I found being at my husband's memorial somewhat akin to being at our wedding in one—and ONLY one—key way: I wanted to spend a lot of time with each person there, but in reality I got only a few minutes with each one.

There were two moments for me that were very hard emotionally. John's oncologist came, and talking to her was very difficult. I was incredibly moved by how much caring for John had touched her. She is not an overly emotional woman. Caring, compassionate: yes. Prone to outward displays of emotion—positive or negative: not so much. But when she gave me a hug and talked to me and my mom about what an honor it was for her to care for John, she was teary. Which made me teary. Which is fine, but believe it or not, I forgot to bring tissues to the memorial! Talk about a faux pas.

The other difficult bit was the candle lighting. I had, somewhat deliberately, not given much thought to the logistics behind the ceremony or to what I'd say to the assembled crowd. In the end, I placed John's candle in the middle of the outdoor picnic shelter, and had the group form a big circle around it. I lit the main candle, lit a taper from it, and used that taper to light my mom's and John's dad's tapers. They then sent the flame around the circle in opposite directions. Once everyone's candle was lit, we had some moments of silence, broken by Riley deciding to burst into belly laughs when I snuggled him a bit too much. It was a good way to end the silence. The reflection during the quiet time did lead to some tears. Again, no tissues! What was I thinking.

It's a bit strange to say, but I really had a lovely time at the memorial. I'm glad it's over, though. Since the event, I have slept better and felt more at peace. I guess that's what's meant by the word closure.

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Thank you to everyone who lit candles for John and sent good thoughts our way. OTRgirl posted about her tribute to John and her mother. I'm beyond honored by her what she did, her beautiful, private ceremony replete with symbolism.

25 comments:

Kimberly said...

Beautiful.

Klynn said...

It sounds like it turned out to be just what you needed. Belly laughs, indeed, Mr. Ri-man. Peace, comfort and baby belly laughs...that's what we all need more of. :-)

bg's Little Sis said...

Snick, amazing woman, I'm so happy it was a wonderful event for you and family...I had you and yours in my thoughts on Saturday. Lots of love.

Rachel said...

I'm glad to hear that it went well. Riley's laughter was a reminder that John is still with you, in the twins.

Yankee T said...

I'm glad it went well. You've been on my mind.

Sylvie said...

I'm glad that you were happy with the memorial. Sounds like it was the right thing. I love the image of Riley laughing with all the candles near him.

BethGo said...

Candles can be very magical.
At my cousin's memorial in 1991, my aunt and uncle handed out white candles and asked everyone to light theirs every once in a while to think of their beloved son. At my wedding ten years later, I bought a white candle and had it burning in a corner of our reception in a pretty as as a way of letting my cousin know I was still thinking of him. And that I will never forget him.

Anyway, your memorial sounded very special. Thank you for sharing it with us.

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad it went well, and was helpful to you. It will be a memory to treasure.
Jill

Christine said...

Sounds amazing. Thanks for letting us in.

Julia said...

Sounds like a beautiful memorial. And the way you lit the candles sounds really lovely.

soralis said...

Sounds like an amazing memorial. Take care

amy said...

Sounds wonderful. Glad you are feeling the closure you need and deserve.

C. said...

I am so glad you are feeling better. John is with and the twins always.

Kathryn said...

Well done...Thank you for sharing this with us too. I'm so glad that it was all "right" for you and for John...and thank God for the blessing of a child's laugh when you needed it most.
Much love and continued admiration, along with my prayers

Sunny said...

How beautiful and amazing!

Angela said...

What a wonderful tribute to such a special man. I am so happy it went so well and you feel more at peace. Riley has great timing, the sound of a baby's belly laugh is the sweetest sound on earth, way to go Riley!

halfmama said...

Sounds like it was a peaceful and beautiful time. I'm glad you got through it with some closure. And Riley's timing is impeccable. :)

OTRgirl's tribute was beautiful as well.

Hope you are getting some well-deserved rest now.

Aimee said...

I'm so glad the memorial went as well as you wanted. What a wonderful ending to the silence: the joyful belly laugh of your husband's son. How fitting.

I'm sorry I wasn't able to keep up until now. I would have liked to have lit a candle for John. I'll have to figure out how to do that later, even if it breaks the rules here at the RMcDH. :-)

You and your twins are in my thoughts and prayers.

OTRgirl said...

I love the image of Riley's laughter breaking the silence. Endings and beginnings all mixed together. It sounds like it was beautiful.

Emmie (Better Make It A Double) said...

I've been out of town and am just now catching up, but I was thinking of you, and I'm so glad the memorial brought you a little bit of peace.

buddha_girl said...

Riley is the best! I think John was channeling some serious joy through that baby!

I'm also glad to hear that you're sleeping better. Feeling some sense of peace is so well-deserved by you after everything you've dealt with over the past few years.

John's oncologist reminds me of my Dad's cardiologist. *nodding head* I know what you were feeling when she hugged you.

Rev Dr Mom said...

I'm so glad the memorial went well, and you could feel some pleasure in being there. It sounds like a wonderful tribute to John.

The Momcaster said...

sounds like it was beautiful memorial. tissues or not...

Jolene said...

it sounds like it was a lovely memorial. You were in my thoughts.

Kay said...

your demeanor and grace is envious. you are such an inspiration and it sounds like a lovely beautiful memorial =)