Wednesday, August 19, 2009

five things about my sister's memorial

1. The chief of Mishkeegogamang First Nation drove about 25 hours from northern Ontario with her mother, a good friend, and the friend's daughter to be at the memorial.

2. Two more friends drove about as far from the Northwest Territories.

3. My brother and his family drove about two thousand miles from southern New Mexico.

4. I drove from Tucson. Because I was without my beloved navigator (who flew from Minneapolis), I got lost and set a personal best for driving on the second day: at least 950 miles, and maybe a thousand. (Not planning to do anything like that ever again.) (I left Ogden, Utah, made a wrong turn at Butte, and decided to take a stretch of my favorite road, US 89, from Livingston to Great Falls. Ended the night where I had planned, in my favorite motel, the Bluebird in Claresholm, Alberta.)

5. I conducted the memorial service. It was meant as a gift to my mother, but I regret it a tiny bit: I was a little less present than I would've liked because I had to focus on how everyone else was doing. My day for grieving was the day after. I wish we had recordings of what everyone said. The friends who drove great distances were especially poignant, but perhaps the most touching comments were from three children from different families who I had not known, friends of Liz's from the area. Their parents said they had not expected the kids to say anything, but hearing the adults speak, one girl decided to speak, and then another boy and girl did also. It's good to know my sister was loved so very much.