Saturday, May 7, 2011

Saying Goodbye Creatively...

There's an old expression I've never liked: "there are two thing you can count on...death and taxes". I don't really mind the taxes so much but I can honestly say, I've had enough of death.
I guess that's how it seems to go as we age but it's so damned painful. I believe our soul lives on in some way. Some people may refer to heaven or hell or an energy of sorts. I feel certain in my beliefs that our loved ones haven't really left us completely. And I also believe we will meet again. Of course there are those who do not believe that at all and I would never consider it my job to change what somebody else believes in.

As I'm hitting fifty this year, death has become something I feel even more strongly about. Or maybe it's just that there's been so much of it. 

What I find most intriguing is the many different traditions that we, as humans, hold. Options have become more varied and a service can be a final reflection of who we were in our human form.

There's even a company out there who claims to make a diamond out of your ashes. So much to choose from.

This time last year, we lost a dear friend. Susan was witty, colourful, and cared very much about nature. Due to her environmental concerns, Susan decided to be buried in a plain, pine box...very much as was done in the past. 

I did say that Susan was very colourful, yes??? We couldn't have her buried in such a plain looking box. The solution???

Environmentally friendly paints and a wonderful group of friends who were happy to provide Susan with all the colours of the rainbow.  The experience was incredible and when we were all finished, the plain, pine box was plain no more.

My Father-in-law recently passed away. He didn't have any real religious beliefs but my sister-in-law, who is in the Canadian Forces, as well as her husband, arranged to have their padre meet us at the cemetery today to say some words for my father-in-law. It was wonderful how she had the most wonderful readings and phrases that seemed to fit all of us.

It was a small, family affair and we also wanted to do something that we knew he would appreciate. 

My father-in-law always loved his brandy. My husband bought it for him every birthday. He never had the opportunity to open his newest bottle. So we brought it to him.

My husband poured some brandy into a flask. I brought my Quaich, or as my sister-in-law referred to it as "a friendship cup". My Quaich was a gift to me in 2008 from a dear friend in Scotland.
We passed around the Quaich so that each of us could toast my father-in-law and when it got back to my husband, he poured what was left in the cup over the ashes. It was very symbolic as my husbands father was a proud Scot and his brandy was his special treat. 

We left with the feeling that we had done what he would have liked. And in the end, I think that's what is really important.

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