Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The First Funeral

5/20/06
We had a private family funeral a week after mom died. What a mistake.
Our three adult children, Terry, Jesse, and Caitlin, as well as our son-in-law, Jean–Luc, came to town for the funeral. It was good to have family around us. It is a shame that we seemed only to meet for hatching, matching, and dispatching (baptisms, weddings and funerals!). Jean–Luc and Caitlin had driven Terry in from Ottawa. To get Jesse here we had to arrange for him to fly in from summer work in Connecticut. If Dad had not been so ill, it would have been fun. As it was, we were preoccupied with caring for Dad, as well as ourselves. Everyone was great pitching in with meals. The boys all hung out together, Robin, my late forties brother, Jesse (twenty-three years old), Terry (twenty-one), and Jean–Luc (twenty-eight).

Preparing for the funeral and visitation demanded a great deal of me. It was therapeutic, however, to look back on Mom’s life and her life’s work. On the left is her urn, with a few artifacts that represented her to me. The Celebration of Life meant a great deal to me, with many visiting. There were arrangements for her cremation, the writing of the eulogy, preparing the order of events, booking the minister and organist. We had a large celebration in July, when we were a bit more together.

Caitlin met me at the funeral home, and the men went to the house to prepare dinner while we girls set up the visitation room with photos and artifacts. That evening, the men had a grand time getting to know one another again. It wasn’t since Caitlin’s May 2005 wedding that we had all been together. My sons were masters of ceremony at their wedding, so they hadn’t had much time to visit, and Caitlin and Jean–Luc had been rather preoccupied with numerous friends, family, in-laws and outlaws! The wedding was a fine time for the rest of us to visit with my mother, who was in pain but was pleased to attend the ceremony and reception. I prepared a slide show, which included many shots of the kids at the cottage with Mom and Dad. It was lovely to honour those early years. After the speeches, Mom was taken home early by my devoted brother, where she could rest. I had never seen her so weak and was grateful to be focusing on my speech and the joyful occasion.


My daughter and I, Caitlin, bring one vase of flowers home, take one to the church, and another we take to dear friends in town. Caitlin and I prepare lunch. After the funeral my boys, Jesse & Terry, will help Brian and Robin bring Dad home from the hospital. Medical staff cannot find anything wrong with Dad that they can fix. Robin needs help getting Dad home. Brian wakes Jess to dig out the map and locate the hospital. Jess has had a long plane trip here from Edmonton. Jess has fun navigating and finally gets them up to the hospital. They find out he has the map upside down. “Gifted, eh?”

They had a bit of difficulty and make it home long after Caitlin and I have done our chores.


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