Sunday, September 02, 2007

Clarity and cleansing
Two words which come to mind while trying to pull together my thoughts. Never has it been more apparent to me how important sacred ceremony is in the process of seeking clarity and cleansing. Funerals and memorial services are vitally necessary....not just for "closure," which quite honestly is more elusive than we admit and sometimes never attainable, but for offering a venue to feel deeply, and to share it with a group who know where those feelings come from.

Yesterday's service was attended by people of all ages, who had their own memories of my mother and father in law. Some of them shared theirs publicly through tears during the service and many more let their remember whens slip out during the dinner and party afterwards. Song, stories, scripture, poetry.......were all part of a day which began fraught with potentially explosive emotions and ended up in enthusiastic conversations between family and friends taking place throughout the old house in Spencer's Island. The memorial service brought the old house to life once more with people who had all spent some time there in the past.
Clarity all around.........through the stories, scripture and poetry........through the conversations and was happening all day long and well into the night.....
The service took place in the same church which they were married 56 years ago on the same day. At least two people who attended the memorial service and who travelled a distance to be in attendance, witnessed Buzz and Mim's wedding vows as well. 56 years ago....... That was the last time they had been in the little village church. It left them shaking their heads in astonishment that all those years had travelled by right under the bridge so quickly. Perhaps their clarity was striking and frightening........perhaps their thoughts turned to a mosaic of memories filtering through as the remembered long ago youth.
Cleansing......a release of pent up emotions, of grief untested because it was shoved down into the gut, of relief that it was time to let go and say goodbye, of feelings too raw to face were allowed to begin to seep out. The service was much more intense than anyone expected. This was mentioned by many afterwards. But because there was a sense of calm afterwards, it was understood by all how much it was needed.
Cleansing and clarity..........lead to resolutions and new perspectives. Who knew that death could be a path to peace for the ones left to carry on?
I have more to write........but will leave it here for now.....until I get back home.


The Harbour of Ourselves said...

so give me faith to believe the truth
and the right to ask why
give me joy in life's fulfilment
and the right to cry

give me the grace to carry others
and the right to wilt
give me grace towards holiness
and the right to confess my guilt

God, show me a bigger picture
Lord, play me a longer song
Christ, put me on a road that's straighter and deeper,
than the one I'm on....
(Steve Stockman)

Dustin said...


Beautiful thoughts...thank you.

Awareness said...

Paul...your friend's prayer is beautiful.....the faith to believe and the right to ask why. It makes me think of faith as an ever wandering/wondering journey instead of a destination.
i want a longer song too....

Dustin...sometimes my thoughts seem odd to me, as they did in this piece and was afraid that they wouldn't make sense or that I wouldn't be able to convey them properly. It was not until I let the thoughts filter out through the words while I typed them that started to get a handle on the personal insight I was given in the middle of the service.

Awareness said...

paul....i meant to reply to your comment on my earlier post re: self doubt...... I had never thought about it that way, but now that I have (thank you), it makes sense to me. Self doubt is very humbling and if it happens in manageable doses and doesn't overwhelm or cripple one's sense of self, can be the beginning of a few personal reflections that just may be helpful. If self doubt didn't exist......? Whoa! We'd all be pretty darn full of ourselves wouldn't we? :)

Tori said...

What an emotional time you are going through. So many feelings. I hope you feel yourself enveloped in unbiased love.

Awareness said...

Hi Tori.

Thank you......the weekend turned out to be a collective sense of belonging for many who made the trek to this little village on the coast of Nova Scotia. All of my husbands cousins were there, two of whom I had never met before as they hadn't been to Spencer's Island themselves in over 30 years. After having an opportunity to quietly make our way to finding out about one another, it was apparent that we felt the same way about the place.
I'm tired. It's been a long emotional haul, but I'm also more satisfied and content than I have been for a very long time. It will take me a while to sort out what has taken place over the course of the summer and especially this past weekend, to be able to delve under the surface. what I do know, however is that if I'm ever going to write the novel about this place (which I will try to do piece by piece....) I believe the beginning of the story will have the flavour of what my family and I experienced just this past weekend.

Matthew said...

And I would love to read that novel.

I don't know if this touches on your experience, but the last funeral I attended I really felt tuned into life. Everyday items seemed closer and more in focus. Interpersonal relations flowed smoothly and the space of years seemed to evaporate.

To be a bit poetic: the pulse of life was my own heart beating.

The Harbour of Ourselves said...

where would we be without Van?