The Peace of Wild Things
When despair for the world grows in me
And I wake in the night at the least sound
In fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the
great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
Who do not tax their lives with forethought
Of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
Waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world,
And am free.
One of my great uncles died recently and I had the opportunity to attend his visitation. I’m not sure what it is called in other areas, but visitation is before the funeral where the deceased is on display. It’s a time for reconnection with family and old friends as many traveled from far away to attend.
As I grow older, there are things I am learning things about my family that I didn’t know.
1. Families often have a “look”. I overheard someone say that my brother’s have the look of the family. This is a lesson I learned after observing both my family and my husband’s. Is it in the hairline or perhaps the set of the shoulders? I’m not sure. But I can often recognize it.
2. Though a family death is a sad occasion, there is still cause for joy in the shared memories and reconnection.
3. All families grieve differently. My family’s end of life traditions are very different from my husbands. One isn’t better than the other, just different.
4. For some, this season of grieving is not complete without a bit of a party. My family certainly agrees with this.
My Uncle Paul enjoyed a beer or two, so the family grieved in the only way they could, by sharing a cold beer as the sun began to set. Family members who hadn’t seen each other in years got caught up. Old and new generations intermingled while struggling to remember aged faces and just when did Great-grandpa die. For me, this is all part of my family and traditions.
It was good seeing my brothers, aunts, uncles, Grandma and my dad. This reminded me that we don’t take the time to see each other often enough. I’ve often thought that funerals shouldn’t be mistaken for family reunions though it often seems the case. I believe it is important to reconnect as we are able.
What kind of traditions does your family have for the end of life?