(edited to add an apology for the disjointed nature of this post. I don't usually write at this time of day - too many distractions - and I haven't really had time to pull my thoughts together, but I wanted to get this out of my system.)
I went to the memorial service for FSIL's father today. It was the first one I've attended where the deceased had been cremated. Not that I've been to a lot of funerals, but that fact made it a bit different. He was also retired Air Force so there was the military aspect that was new as well. FSIL and her family handled it like champs. Their family has suffered several losses on her father's side in the past few years, so I suppose they've had unfortunate cause to practice grieving in public.
Funerals are odd places. The reason for being there is always sad but at the same time you are meeting new people and seeing ones you haven't seen in a long time. There are smiles, laughter, and heart wrenching tears all in one room. I met one of FSIL's dear friends after the service. She is a lovely woman, sweet and bubbly. I just kept thinking it was strange to learn of her exuberant personality in that room. But you know what? That's who she is. She deals with loss that way and she knows how to deal with it because she lost her dad last summer. Meeting the people who are important to her in this way... well we just envisioned it at an entirely different kind of ceremony.
My brother has grown into a wonderful and caring man. I already knew that, but today I got to see it in action. And hear about it, repeatedly from the other attendees. I know my mother was proud. Brother and FSIL are not actually engaged but have talked about it, he plans to ask and expects a "yes" (though to talk to her bubbly friend, you'd think the wedding was a month away HAHA). If there were any doubts in her mind if it was the right thing for them, after the way she spoke of him to Mom and I today it is clear that going through this tragic time together erased them.
Loss and love, tears and laughter. I know I would make it through if I were in her place, but I'm glad I'm not having to figure it out.