Yesterday we remembered Rosie, my mother-in-law, who left us far too early, on January 31st.
It was an unseasonably warm and sunny day on the Foresthill Road. At some points, almost too bright. If you've ever been emotionally rung dry, you probably know that it feels a lot like a hangover, where sunlight and noise are a little assaulting. So, at least for me, it was a bit like that.
But Rosie loved the sunshine and so she would have loved this unexpected Spring day, so you couldn't complain.
So many people turned up on a Wednesday afternoon to remember all the wonderful and amazing things that she was. People from different phases of her life - and there were many - but all of whom had the same things to say about Rosie: she was an extraordinarily big hearted woman with a tough will and an uncommon grace.
My husband gave a tear-choked rememberance of his mom, interspersed with humor and personal anecdotes. It was fitting for a lady who gave us a photo of herself and her best friend that she framed with the quote: "Don't take life too seriously. You will never come out of it alive." (That photo has been sitting in our kitchen for more than ten years and I have a feeling it will have a home in every kitchen we ever own.) I was very proud of him for getting through that speech in one piece. Just like his mother, he has shown uncommon strength and grace throughout these difficult months and weeks.
My brother-in-law then delivered a wonderfully written eulogy that touched on just some of those many "phases" of her interesting and varied life.
And yet, one of the most emotional moments for me was seeing Rosie's band of friends assemble in front of the audience in a show of collective love and appreciation. These friends were her softball team thirty years or so ago, banded together after the sudden death of another friend at the time. These ladies probably haven't assembled together this way in 20 or more years and it was so touching to see them rekindle that friendship and remember those years, as they remembered Rosie.
And no Foresthill memorial would be complete without a gun-shot in the distance or a slightly intoxicated mourner delivering a quote by Thoreau.
I didn't take many photos, as you would expect. Mostly because it was hard to figure out what was appropriate but also because I was busy being introduced to friends and family I had never met before.
It was the perfect celebration of Rosie's life - a confluence of wildly different people, an outpouring of love and appreciation, and a healthy dose of informality to lighten the mood.
I miss her.