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