We had planned to have a memorial at a year since some important people could not make the funeral. So on Saturday we had a short graveside service followed by dinner and memories at the church. It went as well as it could. Just as my husband have said about the funeral "It was a lovely service and I hated it." It allows us to both acknowledge that people are doing lovely things for us and to remember Drew, but it still sucks.
My sister-in-law and my maid of honor both made the event along with their families. They appreciated being able to participate in the memorial since they were both on bedrest at the funeral. They both brought the babies that they were on bedrest for to the dinner and it was nice to see them.
The graveside service was beautiful and awful. Drew is buried under a birch tree on the dirt road portion of the cemetery. The cemetery didn't plow the dirt road. Fortunately by Saturday the snow had turned to slush and so it was walkable mostly. When the family and I arrived at the cemetery I picked up the bouquet of purple roses and started walking to the grave with Meg and her grandma. Unfortunately Meg wanted to run and grandma followed, so I ended up walking by myself to the grave, sobbing. My husband was following behind helping his parents navigate the slush.
The service was short and lovely and awful. There were extra purple roses for the children who were there to place on the grave. Meg spent most of the service looking a the flowers and the yellowing pine cross with a train ornament that were on the grave. Several of her current and former babysitters were there and helped out with her and us. Afterwards there were hugs all around. As I looked around I was surprised how many people were there. Meg decided post service that she wanted to run down and attempt to visit the trampoline in the yard adjoining the cemetery. It took the sitters a bit to talk her out of going there.
We all returned to the church for dinner. Dinner was comfort food, in fact I think it was the same rigatoni with sauce that was made for the funeral. The adults ate and the kids alternated playing and eating. We ran out of chairs in fellowship hall. I would guess some people forgot to tell the organizer that they were coming. No matter, none of the kids would sit still for long anyway. It was good that many people brought their kids because it provided other ways for the adults to mix among groups.
There was a craft table for the kids. Lots of pictures of Meg and Drew had been printed out and the kids were decorating pages of pictures and memories to place in a book for Meg. The kids really enjoyed it and some made multiple pages.
After dinner we were supposed to have a time of sharing stories. There were bits of paper at the table for people to write down memories. Everyone liked the informal socialization that was going on and my husband and I decided that we would not break up the talking to have everyone tell stories aloud as we had planned. Instead we encouraged the adults to make scrapbook pages as well, since the kids had long abandoned the craft table for chasing each other and playing with the toys in the nursery. They seemed to like it, especially the college students.
I think skipping the stories told aloud allowed my husband and I to take a break from crying and just watch the spectacle. The only person that seemed disappointed was one of the grandmothers. At the end time, it took awhile for people to gather their families and head out. Meg was exhausted from all the running around and went to sleep early. We were emotionally exhausted and spend the evening playing Super Mario Wii with my brother and sister-in-law.
It was the best day we could manage. And I hated it.