We have had a death in the family. A flurry of notifications have gone out, and relatives have begun to trickle in to attend to the usual ceremonies. This is somewhat unique in my experience because someone else has always taken care of the assorted details of planning for memorials without any input needed from me. This time has been different.
Sitting in the funeral director's office with my Dad, Grandma, and Great Aunt was an education in how the process of showing respect and love for our deceased works. (I can only imagine the sorts of conversations the directors are privy to on any given day.) Our session was a bit of an adventure because my Grandma has developed a case of dementia that has become incredibly evident. She introduced me as my mother, and there were several points where we repeated assorted conversations because she was having them again for the first time. We worked through the selections of clothing, flowers, music, dates, times, stationery, locations, and what-not until it was time to visit the specific plot in the "memorial gardens". Finally, the last paper signed, the last tissue tossed into the trash, and we were loading into Dad's truck for a lunch so late it was practically dinner.
There is not much left to "see to" at this point. Daddy will drop off the photo of his uncle for the obituary so it can run tomorrow in Big City paper and Uncle J's Bible to be included in a floral arrangement. Mother will fly in tomorrow afternoon along with an assortment of other relatives. We will all gather tomorrow evening, except for two of my kids who are foregoing the viewing, to receive visitors and mourners (which are not necessarily one and the same) for a couple of hours. There will likely be be tales that I have never heard and repetitions of some particular favorites. On Saturday afternoon, we will complete the celebration of a life well-lived.