When my sister-in-law died months ago, the pandemic prevented us from getting together to mourn her unexpected death. While we dealt with the detritus of death like cleaning out her apartment and dealing with filings, we could not get together with friends and family who all wanted to remember her in some way.
Yesterday morning, we got an email from first cousins of my sister-in-law’s late husband. We had no idea who they were until then. They had only recently learned of her death and they wanted to let us all know how much she had meant to their family, too. And so they had arranged a Zoom get-together for yesterday afternoon where they would all get together with a candle, a prayer, and a favorite story about my sister-in-law, and they hoped we could join them.
Had you asked me whether a Zoom get-together like that would have been meaningful, I would have been skeptical. But I’m so glad we joined them. My husband and his surviving sister got to share their favorite memories of their sister, and cousins of her late husband from around the country got to share some of their memories of the amazing woman that was my sister-in-law. And we laughed at some of the things she had spontaneously done over the years and remembered fondly things she had thoughtfully done.
And then, although it had not been planned, some of us grabbed cowbells and we rang cowbells for her, as she was always ringing them at events.
We lit the candles as the sky grew darker here.
Thank you to the wonderful couple in New Hampshire who thought to organize that get-together.
Someday, when the pandemic is over, we will go down to Florida and scatter my sister-in-law’s ashes on the ocean where her husband’s ashes were scattered. But we will always remember her friends and in-laws who have reached out to let us know how much she meant to them and how much they miss her, too.