This is a personal post that I have written, partly because it is the June week of a death in the family and, as well, I thought it might help someone who is thinking of a non-traditional funeral.

Last year, the family into which I was born lost one of the 8 children.

Our parents passed away, several  years ago, leaving us with many memories and inspirations for the challenges of life; however, to lose a brother  was different and we said our farewells in a way that was new to our family, without the ceremonies of a church funeral.

It was rather daunting but somehow came together as cousins and siblings shared ideas to make a memorial that would celebrate his life and heal the surviving family as we said good-bye.

We began with some traditional prayers, shared some readings and anecdotes from the small circle standing around the gravesite of our parents in the cemetery. The ashes were interred adjacent to their graves as authorized.

For my small part, I made a memorial card with a poem I wrote & it was shared by two of our cousins. The ceremony ended with another sign of the cross and each person dropping a handful of soil onto the grave.

Then we all journeyed out to another brother’s home in the country for some food and refreshments, Irish wake style in a setting of trees and farmland. It seemed a good fit after our good-byes to George who, at one time, had dreamed of being a farmer.

IN MEMORY OF GEORGE                                         


 (March 8 1950 to June 7 2012)

George is gone.

In a triad of words, my sister announced

the passing of our youngest brother.

On hearing the news, I paused.

Then my mind started whirling

with all sorts of images and memories,

a dervish of shared childhood days—

braiding binder twine to make a skipping rope

trampling ripe amber wheat to make a mansion

dismantling green bales to build a fort in the haymow

coaxing wild cats to be tame with dishes of warm milk

searching for ten different trees to make a leaf collection of orange and red

moulding the mucky white clay from the swamp to make exquisite creations

skating and hockey on the neighbour’s pond

playing Sunday afternoon baseball in the front yard

mowing the giant lawn in long green rows

practising piano and accordion

eating Mother’s homemade maple candy

playing euchre or rummoli with piles of hockey coins

on a stormy winter’s day in a kitchen warmed by the wood-burning stove—

at least these are the fragments that remind me of George.

May he now rest in peace.

Fragments as remembered by Patricia 

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