Friday, January 18, 2013


Finally tomorrow, we hold your memorial
And it's time, past time really;  I don't regret
The three weeks between your death
And the day we remember you -
For various reasons it was a necessity
But now, we need to have the thing
At least do this part of the process
So we can move forward, I know you
Would agree

So - after a week of writing out abbreviated
Versions of your life to fit with obituary stylings
And still honour your wishes, plus a memorial card
And an Order of Service - all similar but none
Exactly the same, we are on the cusp of ready
But not quite; now there is the business
Of assembling a tasteful grouping of items
For a table to be placed in the narthex at the church

Some things that will be representative of you
and your life but not overly so, and nothing tacky
Something that memorial attendees may gaze
Upon before and after the service whilst waiting
A turn to sign the visitor's guest book, proof
Positive that yes, they did indeed show up
For this, or before they queue up for coffee, tea
Or sweets, after the service, prepared
By your lovely Ladies Guild who insisted
On doing everything "because it was no trouble"

Or maybe while they wait to speak with family
Yours is not large and depending on crowd size
It may take time if one wants to chat for any length
Of time

So - what of your eight-seven years would you find
Appropriate for this table? Your eldest grandchild
Has an inspirational thought and one we all
Agree on - for Christmas she bought you a digital
Camera frame, one you regrettably did not live
Long enough to enjoy - she offers to download
Pictures of you and your family to run continuously
During the period we are at the church - we all concur

You had mentioned you might like your book on display
And of course we'll honour that wish - you were,
After all, a published author - and your book saw
Two different runs - both versions will be displayed
With some photos of you as a celebrity author
We were prouder of you then probably than any
Other time - your stint as "The Doll Lady" was such
A wonderful time and made more so because
You took it upon yourself to speak out against
Racism and you did it with your book and your talks
In such a way that school kids understood and "got it"
And you never made money from all that speech-making
And travelling - only the rare honorarium - and did your book
Ever make royalties? Probably not enough to cover
Your cross-Canada research trips but you so enjoyed
Both the work and the results - a good time in your life

Maybe a few photos of your church in its infancy
For only a very few new members would not know
That this church where your memorial is being held
Is quite literally "your" church - when you moved
To Edmonton and found out this group were meeting
In a school but had a parcel of land left to them
In a will - land they were about to lose if they didn't
Get busy and build on it - what did you do?
Of course - contacted the powers that be - got permits
Marshalled those that could do such things
Got the hole dug and in less than a year ...
"Grandma's Church" was no longer meeting in the school

Not something we can put on the table
But certainly something that typifies your determination
And initiative - although, it won't happen tomorrow
Because it's still winter here and the ground
Is frozen hard as cement but - when my Dad died
You decided you wanted him near you - got your church
Fathers or deacons - whatever they're called
To approach the city and get the land around the building
Consecrated, for heaven's sake (no pun intended)
They (the city) wouldn't go as far as making it an actual cemetery
Which was fine with you - you didn't want gravestones
There anyhow - feel it invites vandalism - how sad is that
Just wanted to be able to bury Dad's ashes beneath a tree
Near one of the side doors of the church - we all have a map
Then add yours there when you die which, of course
Means - as soon as the ground is workable, we will
Be planting you there as well ...

And finally, after that, I guess - we will be done ...


  1. I read this through several times and every time, feel sort of a, "wow" mixed with sadness. Nice words .. ((hugs))

  2. Thanks so much Linda - I know it's rather lengthy but I needed to write it so ... I appreciate your comments.