It’s funny the things you remember from childhood. One such memory that stands out is the number of times I was taken out of school in the early grades, to go to funerals. The participants were all elderly relatives who I really didn’t know, but it’s what one did; at least in my family. Over the years, I’ve mentioned this here or there if the topic came up but I have never run across anyone who went to as many funerals as I recall going to. 

As a result, the part of death involving the ritual leave-taking that funerals represent has never bothered me. The funeral “homes”, coffins (which merit an entire post in themselves), viewing the deceased, going to the gravesite, even the lowering into the ground has never really bothered me; death, yes, but not the ritual of farewell. Don't get me wrong, the passage may be wretchedly painful and I may cry for days but in retrospect, it seems to put everything into context. I think perhaps this is something that has been lost in today’s world for most. Maybe not. It just seems there's little time for looking back and farewells. One is always in the rush forward. Maybe I’m just sentimental, I find comfort in such ritual. It helps close the last chapter on the life of someone you knew. You can now put that book up on the shelf marked “memories”, to be taken down at a later date when needed or desired and recall a long lost moment or a thoughtful glance. In a way, it closes another chapter in my own book of life.

So it has been with all of my dogs. Before they vanish from my sight, as I knew them, I put together a little farewell at the gravesite (crematory). It includes a rainbow bouquet and always present is at least one calla lily. The history behind this is not what you’d expect (another story for another time). Over the years, I’ve added rosemary sprigs from my garden(s) “for remembrance” and lavender. The flowers are always bright and colorful. I’ve never understood why the bouquets accorded funerals looked so dark, sad and mournful. There’s already enough of that at the funeral. There’ll be plenty of time for sadness later.

So I place the cascade of joyous color on the body of the little soul that's left and then say thank you to for all the joy and memories they’ve given me. I thank them for coming into my life and making it so much more than it ever could have been without them. Sure, I cry a lot but it's worth it for the grace of saying "goodbye" for the last time.

Today is the tenth anniversary of my mother’s death. It’s also raining a bit which is late for May.

This is the bouquet I gave to Frost last December.

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home