The memorial services for Tina were held in a pretty church in Marin county, the place she loved more than any other in the world. That's saying something, too, because she loved Boston where her grandchildren live, and Paris where she took her niece as a graduation present, and even Oklahoma City, where her twin sister lives. But Marin county was her heart's home, so it was fitting that we all gathered there to say goodbye.
There was a program with a stunning picture of her on the cover and helpful information inside about which hymns we were to sing and who was doing the scripture readings. It all seemed a little unreal until her daughter Sarah spoke so movingly about the lessons she had learned from her mother about balancing life and family - all the while she herself was balancing a wriggling, fussy toddler on her hip. It was gently humorous and the audience loved it.
At the reception afterwards, the congregation surged into the room to tell us stories about Tina's kindness and strength. I hugged people whose names and faces were not familiar to me but who had a pressing need to tell someone, anyone, what a good friend she had been to them. The room was full of loving stories while a jazz trio played softly in the adjoining courtyard.
Tina's grandchildren, released from the confines of the pews, raced around the courtyard on the prettiest day of the year. The courtyard had little flowers sprinkled around in raised beds along the edges. Tina's granddaughter, aged five, and her great nephew, aged seven, had the idea to make little flower arrangements from the contents of those raised beds. They brought the first one to me, knowing that I'm a sucker for our granddaughter, and offered it for sale at $1. When that sale was a success, they ran back out to make more. The pastor of that church will wonder whatever happened to all her flowers.
I took it home afterwards and enjoyed it for several days until, like all living things, it quietly gave up its spirit.