Ander’s memorial service

We have been saying since Ander died that his memorial service would take place in the summer, at K’s parents’ house on the lake, where we got married. It would be for family primarily, although local friends would be invited over for a champagne toast and dessert. We would set luminaries off the dock at dusk, watch them float for several hours before the candles burned out, and then collect them in the rowboat the next morning. We would display Ander’s memory box, and picture book, which has blank pages so people can leave him (and us) messages. We wouldn’t plan to say anything, except to thank our guests for remembering him with us, since the only people who got to meet him were us and our parents; we decided to bring his ashes, but not scatter them, as I’m not ready to let go yet.

Leading up to the memorial, I was still feeling hesitant. I couldn’t shake the feeling that we were doing this more for our families than for ourselves, that it was a little odd to have a memorial for a baby six months after his death, and invite people who never knew him. However, we did keep it low key, and it turned out being better than I expected.

More people came than I thought, and they were not shy about speaking of him. One lovely woman brought a bag full of adorable hats she knit for us to take to the NICU.

Acorn hat from C!

Acorn hat from C!

Another brought springs of lavender, for us, and to put on one of the floating luminaries. And those luminaries! I was skeptical when K made them (I was working; yes, on vacation!) and brought them outside:

Luminaries, before.

Luminaries, before.

They were made with wood shingles, dixie cups, thumbtacks and tea lights (I did help a little). Before people arrived, we set up the dessert table, with the pie my mother made, flowers from Ander’s garden (at my parents’ house), and his things:

Dessert table

Dessert table

Memorial table

Memorial table

As dusk fell on a perfect summer night, K gave a short speech to explain that we had 26 luminaries, one for each night of Ander’s life. We invited people to light a luminary and think of Ander as they set it off on the water.

Luminaries floating away

Luminaries floating away

An up-close view

An up-close view

They were beautiful. K and I watched for several hours as they bobbed over the still lake, mist rising as the air temperature dropped. Cars driving by slowed down to see them, and presumably, wonder. It was a clear night, and though Orion was too low in the sky (we call that “Ander’s constellation” since it was so bright overhead in January), I hope our boy was watching the glowing lights on earth as we remembered him together.

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5 Responses to Ander’s memorial service

  1. meghanoc says:

    Love love love this all. I love the luminaries and how you could watch them float for horus and how cars passed and slowed. I love that you didnt have anything planned to say. I love how plenty of people had something to say. I love the hats (the one pictured looks an awful lot like a carrot! but I may be biased….) I love the desert table. There are just so many things I love. The only thing that would have made it more perfect was Ander himself being there in person. xxx

    • babylossmama says:

      Hmm… I thought it was an acorn, but now that you mention it, it DOES look like a carrot! Maybe it was Mabel’s way of visiting Ander’s memorial service. I am oddly sure that if there is a heaven, they are friends there.

  2. pleromama says:

    Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. I love the luminaries. What a wonderful tribute to your beautiful boy.

    A note about the hats: we had some of these in the NICU I used to work in, and they were a hit. We used then for thanksgiving photos that we made into little cards for the parents. Adorable!

    • babylossmama says:

      I hope our NICU likes the hats we’re making/donating too! 🙂 I know I loved the one I have, that is featured in pretty much every picture of our little guy!

  3. Sounds like a beautiful way to honour Ander’s life and the place he will always have in your hearts xxx

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