Thursday was my grandma's memorial service.
It was a little strange coming to Desert View without Grandma. Normally, we went with her in little pockets to clean Grandpa's "grave" (actually a plaque--he was cremated) and put flowers in the vase. Afterwards, we'd usually go out to eat, and Grandma would treat. It seemed odd for her not to be here.
The service began at 6:00. By 5:50 every chair in the room was taken and the cousins (me included) all had to stand by the wall. My uncle was mc. My sister read Grandma's personal history, and Mom gave the eulogy. Her voice cracked at the end. The cousins--all grandkids of Alice Toyama--put red roses at vase near her frame and gave testimonies of her, tales of eating out with her, playing games, living and bickering in the same house, admiring her. I read my poem.
At the end of the ceremony, everyone was invited up to place a red rose in the vase or at the foot of her framed picture. I felt really touched, seeing all the roses. They were were favorite flower and seeing so many really symbolized to me how much she was loved.
Afterewards, we went to my aunt's house for the reception and it was sort of like a block party or a family reunion. We filled both living rooms, the kitchen, and the front yard, eating meatballs and cookies and crescent roll sandwiches and little pies stuffed with mushrooms. In a sad yet poignant way, Grandma had brought us together. I could hardly remember the names of half the relatives, yet there was no need. There was a good feeling in the air, a time of closeness and memory.
It feels like a transitional time. My grandma passed only a week before my youngest cousin was to graduate high school. My brother's having a baby. I'm finishing up my novel. I really hope that sadness has passed from this year, leaving the best yet to come. As we go through these changes, I know Grandma will be looking down on us, hand in hand with Grandpa, smiling.