It's odd how any major life event requires the same kind of preparation--you find a place to have it, you make arrangements with the people who are going to run it, you invite people to come, you get decorations and food. Each aspect requires lots of decisions to be made, and so it was that we spent most of yesterday morning planning the funeral. Planning by committee is not always the most efficient way to plan an event!
There were questions involving the church -- what flowers would they allow, could we put up photos somewhere, what music was to be sung and by whom, who was going to do readings and who would deliver the eulogy.
There were questions about flowers and where to get them, what to buy, should it they be on an easel...and did the church have and easel?
There were questions about music and what we should have the church musicians sing, what Jeri should play, what Marta should sing.
Somewhere in all of this, we shared the death notice which was printed in the paper yesterday and we got word that Kayleen was going to be flying in from DC for the day. We were thrilled. This meant that most of the family would be here and Alice would have been so pleased.
We finally reached a point where discussion was finished and it was time to leap into action. We decided it would be more efficient to split into teams and so Alice Nan, Norm and Walt headed downtown to take care of the church and flowers, Olivia and I would go to Michael's Craft Store to get all the items needed to put up a photo display, and to Costco to get ink cartridges for the computer here so we could print off photos.
We all finished our chores at roughly the same time and had a telephone conference to decide where to have lunch. We decided to meet at Petrini's restaurant near the facility where Alice lived until she moved to the convalescent home. We pretty much staged a sit-in, so it was good that we arrived after the lunch crowd and before the dinner crowd. We were there for more than three hours.
At first it was just 7 of us, but as we were finishing our lunch, Ned and Marta arrived and then Tom. We were loud, as we always are, and, as I described it on Facebook, we "laughed and chortled with wild abandon" (that's actually a line from the Baroque Beatles Book, only they say "abdomen" instead of "abandon").
We told Grandma stories, and Ned held court, entertaining everyone with his attempts to leave Facebook (there is a video, which I will post when I get home).
We finally gave the restaurant back to the people who run it. Olivia and I came home and the others went to get food staples to bring home. Tom delivered a big container of sandwiches from Laurel's parents, which was nice.
At home, Olivia set to work putting together photo boards of displays of Alice's life. This is "the early years."
Tom and Laurel arrived, with Bri, who had been under the weather with pink eye and an ear infection this week, but who was in fine spirits while here. She obviously just loves her Uncle Ned....was there a better match than an uncle who loves to take pictures and a little girl who loves to have her picture taken?
Everyone else sat around looking through Alice's scrapbooks of her many trips around the world, which her kids had unearthed from her storage unit that afternoon.
Laurel gave Bri a bath before they left to go home.
And finally, Walt, Norm and Alice Nan left to go to the airport to get Kayleen. I plopped down on the couch and was asleep in seconds and didn't wake up until 6 a.m. this morning. Today Kayleen's parents and brother will be arriving. Cousin Gerald and his wife Melissa will be arriving. Jeri and Phil will be arriving.Most of the decisions have been made finally and there will be more Grandma stories at Tom's tonight and then the big event tomorrow, as Grandma hosts her final party. It's just too bad that as hostess, she won't be able to attend.