Today was the memorial service for my Aunt Marlene. It was pretty intense, but not necessarily in a bad way. Of course losing a loved one is sad, but it was great to see everyone in one place. Every single cousin from the Dietrich (my mom's) side of the family was present and accounted for, some of whom I've probably not seen for almost 20 years. It felt legitimately sweet to be around so much family, people I've known my whole life. It also felt great to have my partner Leo with us, since no one (except, ironically, Aunt Marlene) has had the chance to meet him. The service itself was very nice, and at times tearful. Marlene had 11 great-grandchildren, so you can imagine the place was pretty full.
Lessons learned this week?
1) Life is short and can end at any second. Thus, best to enjoy it.
2) Appreciate those that you love.
3) Whenever possible, laugh. One thing for sure about my mom's side of the family is that they like to laugh a lot. Even though there were a lot of tears today there were also lots of genuine smiles and chuckles, a reminder of the importance of humor. It's medicinal.
So, happy travels, Marlene. Thanks for the laughs. You are loved and missed by many.