There is a group of friends in Canada called the "Darksiders." They met a decade ago on a BBS board for the Vancouver area, and have been friends ever since. The age of this group ranges from 3 years old to 60 years old, and when I moved out here to be with Dennis, I was adopted into this group. That's how I met Wendy.
When I first moved out here, Wendy was very much the lynchpin of the group. It seemed like she had everyone's schedule memorized and if there wasn't something planned for everyone to get together, she would plan it. There were LAN parties every months, hikes every weeks, dinners and nights where we'd just get together to play cards, drink, and be really loud and merry. When Wendy moved away, things started happening far less frequently. When I found a job in Bellingham and started school, I rarely saw these people, although we all kept in touch with email and Livejournal.
There are two restaurants that are the standard special occasion restaurants in this group, 13 Coins, a seafood place in Seattle, and Samba, an all you can eat exotic meat grill. Before Wendy died, she stipulated in her will that the estate pay for one huge get together at Samba. It happened on Friday. [ed note: A memorial "clams run" was made to 13 Coins back in April.]
It was wonderful seeing everyone again. There was laughter and ribaldry and wit and many hugs and more than a little alcohol.
On Saturday, Dennis, Greg, Lori, Ken, Anneka and I walked up to the waterfall where Wendy's ashes were spread. We stood in the middle of the river and let the world be drowned by the sound of crashing water. I sipped from the place where she was spread. It was beautiful, as always. When we saw Anneka she ran up and gave me a hug, and promptly showed me how she remembered to act like a zombie. Adorable kid. Great company, great day. It's still hard to believe that the next trip that Greg makes out here, Wendy won't be with him.