Grandma died thanksgiving morning. She had left instructions to be cremated and her ashes buried back in Detroit in a pre-bought plot next to her husband. Logistics had everything happening about 3 weeks after her death, which worked out perfectly with my final exam schedule. Nothing like being picked up immediately after your psych 101 final to go straight to the airport and from there to Detroit in mid-December. This was the one and only time my family has ever flown together. Tells you how exciting our family vacations used to be.
The following day we met a lot of mom's family at the grave side. I don't remember much except fighting back tears and how frickin' bitter cold it was outside. In the midwest, they don't have headstones in their cemetaries like we do out east - they have these pretty brass plaques set into the ground. Makes the cemetary look like a park with lovely rolling hills instead of a cemetary. All the arrangements were helped by the fact that one of my 2nd cousins is a mortitian/funeral director. Always a handy person to have around. We also think he's gay, and his hobby is buying mansions in Grosse Pointe and fixing them up and decorating with his ever growing collection of antiques. Since it was the holidays and he had the biggest house, we went there after the service for a luncheon.
Micheal, my 2nd cousin, had just hosted his annual christmas party the weekend before, so there were lavish decorations all about. He had had carolers on the 2nd floor landing, a string quartet in the 3rd floor BALLROOM, and a harpest in the front parlor (And this wasn't the house chosen for the historical society's decorator's showcase. That was the next house he bought). He also had had an army of Polish grandmothers cooking for this party, so we ate a lovely luncheon that was suplemented with an insane amount of incredibly tasty leftovers. Micheal also has a bull mastif, who is HUGE, but acts like a little lap dog. Except for the drool. Ew. The drool. But he was so loving. The dining room table seated 20, so for the most part, we were all able to squeeze in, even the dog scarfing for crumbs would just push chairs aside to get through.
This is one of my favorite family memories, chatting with these people I hardly knew but who were so important to my mom. Hearing stories about my grandmother from other people's points of view. There was a lot of laughter and we left feeling full of food and family. Going home was a much better trip than going out there for sure.