My family held a small memorial service for my mom today out at her family's plot in Kennett Square (west of Philadelphia), and much to my surprise I did not fall apart. I was even able to speak at our little graveside service (no minister, per Mom's and Dad's request). Even though I hadn't prepared anything to say (figuring I would not be able to keep my composure) I was able to talk about my mom's creative spirit that awed but also inspired me, her especially close bond with sisters Carol and Judy in recent years, and her all-too-brief but sparkling years as Granna Extraordinaire to Lazarus and Maggie. It was a near-perfect day of sunshine and moderate (for here) humidity, and I think the loosely structured service was what my mom would have preferred (well, maybe... she was a very structured, organized person, but wouldn't have wanted a big fuss with Pomp and Circumstance). It definitely seemed more comfortable than a traditional service for those of us who gathered to remember and pay tribute to her. My grandparents, their respective parents, and several great-aunts and uncles are buried here. Although this service didn't include interment, we sprinkled a handful or so of Mom's ashes on the grave of her beloved great-grandma Robinson. This woman, who legend has it once climbed into my mom's playpen to soothe and then play with the restless toddler my mom surely was, died when Mom was just 4 years old yet left an inextinguishable light in Mom's heart. I hope they're hugging each other tight in heaven tonight.
We then went for lunch at a lovely restaurant down the road; I was able to get some family portraits and will share them tomorrow. I am so blessed with wonderful family and, despite the awful circumstances, am grateful to be able to see them again and to hear their stories about and love for my mom. Many thanks to them all, especially to Aunt Carol and Aunt Judy for making arrangements and cousin Jenny for bringing the colorful roses for us all to lay down in memory of Mom.