Liz was my father's sister (they had the same parents - their mother had four children later on with someone else). I hadn't seen her since 1997. I lost touch with her again about five years ago (here are the details).
The memorial service was held in a legion in a small town a couple hours northwest of Toronto. It was very casual. People got up and told stories. I said how we'd lost her ... then found her ... and then lost her again. But I was happy to be included today to say good-bye.
Her daughters had put together some posters with memories. Here's the one of her childhood that included some pictures of my father (he died in 1971).
Her five daughters are just older and younger than I am. It was weird that though they are my blood relatives (first cousins), we're strangers.
One of Liz's daughters introduced herself to me afterwards because she said we'd never met. Actually we had ... back in 1996 at a family reunion Liz organized. My half aunt came up to me and marvelled that she hadn't seen me since I was a kid. She too had been at the same reunion.
It sounds like the memorial service was just as Liz would have wanted ... lots of food, laughter and tears, and singing (her daughter set up a karaoke machine). I left after a couple hours.
It will be interesting to see if we stay in touch (I gave one of my cousins my address, etc.). Though I have lots of aunts and uncles, cousins, etc., on both my parents' sides, I'm not close to them. Sister Sarah is really the only family I have (besides Gord).
I guess it 's true what they say ... friends are the family you choose for yourself. I'm lucky in that I have some great friends.