05 January 2008

Tim's Funeral

Happy New Year everyone - sorry I haven't written for a while. It's been so busy, getting ready for Tim's funeral, and also dealing with a bad gastric flu which my FIL gave us on Christmas Day!

Son, Hubby and I drove down to Cobargo on Thursday. Our contribution was a 15 minute long slide show, with music, of photos of Tim over his life. It was days of scanning etc on my part, and Hubby did the electronics and managed it on the day of the funeral.

I've been to about eight funerals in my life, so far, and this was the best one - as far as a funeral can be good. My SIL is a newly-qualified civil celebrant, and this was her first funeral - very tough as it was also a family funeral. She and my brother did a wonderful job. The whole funeral was really a family affair. My brother Dave made the casket. My mum sewed a kimono-like garment for Tim to be buried in. My dad helped with the slide show. The service was held at my mum's home... and so on. I won't go into all the details. But it was really perfectly designed, bringing the family closer....

Early in the day just the family gathered, to bring Tim's casket into the garden, and then stand in a circle around it, holding hands, and each saying how we were feeling at the time. This was really good - gave us all a chance to say things that we mightn't want to say in public, and cry, and resolve some tensions. Tim's life was a stormy one, after all, and it was so hard for all of us.

Here the men of the family bring Tim's casket into the garden - L --> R - my dad Barry, brother Dave, Hubby, brother Ben (only just back from his honeymoon), step-father Ivan, brother-in-law Richard.

This is a photo taken by my dad of Tim a few weeks before he died, in a very typical pose! I printed and framed it. I also designed the wedge-tailed eagle which Dave painted on the casket - a symbol which Dave chose to symbolise freedom.


Then there was a family lunch, and guests arrived - extended family, and friends from the area. There were about 35 or 40 people in all, I think.

This is the casket in the covered ceremony area in my mum's garden.


All of my immediate family spoke, Mum and Dad at length, us siblings gave shorter speeches. All pretty hard, I think most of us were crying as we spoke. But it was important to do, and I'm glad we could say the things that we said.

An olive tree was planted in Tim's memory. Then his casket was driven up to the cemetery - a 15 minute walk away, along a grass track - on a trailer pulled by Ivan's old tractor! We reckoned Tim would have been having a huge laugh about this time!



Son helped carry the casket to the grave, and lower it in (he's the one in black with long hair at the front). Deb read some poetry and finished proceedings. We placed tokens on the casket (ours was a bunch of rosemary (for remembrance) tied with some of Dotter's hand-spun), it was lowered down, and those who wanted to helped replace the soil. Very confronting, seeing the casket so far down in the earth, but I'm glad I looked. I did about 6 spadefuls of soil. My brothers completely filled the grave themselves.


This is the view over Cobargo from Tim's gravesite.


We walked back to Mum and Ivan's place for the wake. A good day, surrounded by family, old friends and new friends; difficult, but cathartic and a fitting celebration of Tim's life.

In knitting news - to answer one question - I haven't seen the VK issue yet - so no further news on the article. The lovely woman Hubby, Son and I stayed with (my Mum's neighbour) is a KNITTER and might be moving back to Canberra, fingers crossed! And damn bugger and blast, I lost my knitting notebook, probably fell out of the car in the carpark at Cooma - and yes, we went back to look on the way home, and it wasn't there :( Two years of notes....

21 comments:

  1. hard to put into words. I've never seen a funeral like Tim's except in the movies, where the family follows the casket. Everything that was done by all is truly special. Warm wishes and a hug to you.

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  2. A sad day for you all but I can see that you celebrated Tim's life. Glad you could find some joy in your sorrow.....

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  3. What a great celebration of a life and a family!
    Reminds me of Irish funerals... Awful about the notebook - karma amy make it re-appear (hopes)

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  4. thanks for sharing some of Tim's funeral with us. You and your family did a good thing there.

    oh, the notebook. That sucks!

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  5. You've had a hard time of it. It's nice that everyone was involved in the funeral. Hugs to you.

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  6. I think it is wonderful how your family was all so intimately involved with Tim's funeral - a really good send-off (as good as a funeral can be).

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  7. What a beautiful ceremony. It made me feel peaceful to read this. I am glad you all got to share your thoughts and feelings. That's exactly what these rites are for.

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  8. i was thinking of you on friday, it looks like a really beautiful thoughtful ceremony. i hope it helped. f**k f**k f**k about the notebook, i would be very not-happy jan. xx

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  9. a beautiful and moving tribute Jejune. Lovely photos.

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  10. Thank you for sharing that with us, Jejune. I was so very moved.

    xoxo
    Michelle

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  11. Mum's a buddhist and she believes "death" signifies having lived and been through life's suffering. So that live has ended and it's a celebration of next or if any. We thought the funeral was fantastic! And everyone in your family only made it more special!

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  12. Thankyou for sharing this with us Jejune - what a wonderful celebration of Tim's life - we can all only hope for such a thoughtful, loving sendoff.

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  13. In America,there are businesses which handle all the personal parts of funerals. The hospital calls the funeral home you have selected, which will then pick up the body, embalm, and dress him, apply makeup if requested (for a fee), place him in the coffin which they sell you (for between one and ten thousand dollars,) provide the location for the ceremony,(for a fee) and someone to officiate if you wish, (for a fee), a hearse to take the deceased to the cemetary with limos for the immediate family, (for a fee) and police escort (for a fee)to help keep the funeral procession together. In Los Angeles, cemetary plots sell for as much as $10 thousand dollars each. After the interrment, the cemetary will send someone around with a piece of heavy equipment to replace the dirt and sod. And the funeral home will, for a fee, provide a place for the reception afterwards. Tim's funeral sounds like such a genuine, immediate, human and humane ceremony in contrast. Blessings on you, dear heart, and may angels of comfort be with you all. It WAS a good funeral!

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  14. Did you have your name in the notebook? You must spread the word as widely as you can. Someone will know someone who will find it and not know how to get it back to you. Put an advertisement in the paper in the lost and found column. Write to the local grade schools and offer a reward. Ask everyone you know to ask everyone they know. How can it hurt?

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  15. What a touching tribute to Tim's life and family ... so beautiful yet sad. Sorry I am so far away and not there for you - I too had the stomach flu (past three days, caught it at the hospital where one of the workers told me it was "going around").

    There must be something in it that you lost your knitting book on the day of Tim's funeral. Wouldn't it be great if someone found it and was able to return it? Might it be become a buried treasure?

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  16. It sounds like a beautiful celebration of Tim's life and very healing for all of you. Thanks for sharing.

    I'm summoning the yarn goddess to find your notebook...here's hoping.

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  17. That's a wonderful tribute to his life with family and all. Thanks for sharing.

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  18. A funeral in which no one laughs is grim indeed. I'm glad that there was family laughter for you all; it means Tim's life wasn't all dark, even in the end bits, if you think he would have found a light spot in amongst the goodbyes.

    Bummer about the notebook. Perhaps you'll remember the patterns even better than the original?? Congratulations on the VK mag. I'm glad that 2008 will have a highpoint beginning for you.

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  19. What a wonderful celebration you created. So far removed from some of the dreadfully impersonal funerals I've been to. I had a tear in my eye reading it, and it's hard for me to put into words what I felt.

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  20. can't think of anything that hasn't already been said so
    just
    BIG HUGZ to you and Dotter

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  21. It sounds like a lovely service, and such an intimate setting. It all seems so much more personal than what is done here, where there are fakey business people handling all of these events. I love that you can just have a casket hanging out in your backyard, for family to gather around. Wow. Beautiful.

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