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.
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.