ashes to ashes

On Saturday the family heads out to the Midwest for vacation and a memorial service for my grandparents. I was looking at Grandma’s obituary from 1997. It said “a private family memorial service will be held at a later date.” 13 years later! I don’t know why we didn’t have a service then and no one really talked about it. But this works.

When Grandpa died earlier this year, Computerguy was pretty concerned about the family. He kept asking if my dad was all right, if he was talking about it. My brother’s wife said something about never seeing a family take such an event so casually. Our response: “He was 100.” We’re from the northern midwest. We’re Scottish/English Presbyterians (at least by heritage). We don’t talk about our feelings. Seriously. Both CG and Sister-in-Law will have a very different experience when something happens to my mom’s mom. Think My Big Fat Greek Wedding though they’re not ethnic (unless being a quarter Danish is ethnic.)

The memorial will take place on Saturday July 10 (CG and my 6th anniversary, but that’s not really relevant). In the morning we will go to the cemetery and Grandpa’s ashes will be joined with Grandma’s in the Columbarium. My uncle secured the Presbyterian minister to do an interment and my cousin found a piper to play.

I went to an event the other night and we were talking with a couple who were highschool sweethearts and have been married well over 40 years. They said they want their ashes to be combined after they die. We joked about pouring them out and shaking them together, but I kind of liked the image. I know when my grandpa’s ashes are joined with my grandma’s they will be in their own containers–not shaken together and intermingled, “bone of my bone.” But why not? They were married over 60 years. Whatever else one might say–and there are certainly ambivalent feelings in some quarters–they had a really strong marriage for over 60 years. They supported one another for over 60 years. And every night I saw them, they kissed one another when Grandpa would head to bed.

The more extended memorial service will take place in the afternoon in the town museum they always supported. People outside the family are invited, and it will be a time of remembering.

I have a photo of my grandparents that I love. I’ll try to scan and post it tomorrow.

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