Friday, January 27, 2012

Rest In Peace

Haiku My Heart
January 27, 2012

For more Haiku My Heart, visit Rebecca's recuerda mi corazon. Also, remember rebecca in your prayers as she needs them.

Strong sister, good Mom

Took care of Grandma, Grandpa
Left good memories

L to R, Grandma Spada, my Mom and Auntie Angie with my sister and brother around 1945

The funeral was a plain simple affair. Meet at the funeral home, listen to the priest say a few words and read a couple of scriptures, drive in funeral procession to the chapel at the cemetery where all the relatives are buried, proceed to the nearby restaurant to share a meal together and leave to head for home. I drove 400 miles down to Chicago to spend three hours with my family and honor the life of my Auntie Ange.

I wonder why these things are done in the same way and have been in our family as long as I can remember. Not sure what I’d do differently, but there seems to be an element gone astray at what I call, a funeral home funeral.

When my daughter was lost to this world in a terrible automobile accident, we knew we had some responsibility to take care of the body. We chose to have her remains cremated. The people at the funeral home wanted to sell us a brass urn to hold the ashes. We were fine with a cardboard box. In fact, we didn’t want the ashes. They were reverted back to the ground to become part of the soil.
What we wanted to save was her spirit. We wanted to hold this with us in our hearts forever and we have done so. Yet there are people that need these funeral home funerals to say goodbye and to close the book, so to speak, on the life of a human being they knew when that person walked among them.
With this in mind, and it is in my mind every time I feel the need to attend a funeral, I was present when they laid my Aunt to rest yesterday. I honored her life and the part in my life she played. When I was a youngster growing up, we’d visit her home often because Grandma and Grandpa Spada lived with her and her family and it was the custom in my father’s household to visit his parents every Sunday afternoon.
As we cousins grew up and moved away to raise our own families, I didn’t see my Aunt very often, but when I did, she was the same steady voice and demeanor. She always told me how much I looked like my father, who was her brother, and told me she loved me. She grabbed me by the cheeks and held on to me like I was her own. I guess I was of her own.
There was sadness and tears, but there was a lightheartedness to seeing family and reuniting around her. Everyone knew she was in a hurry to join her husband, my Uncle Willis, who passed last April. Auntie Ange was having health problems of her own and they were getting progressively worse. When they told her she had some kind of cancer on top of the rest of the age related ailments, she let herself return to her maker.
It was a whirlwind of a trip as I haven’t driven anywhere in almost three months and I was chompin’ at the bit to get on the road. More about that soon. For now, I acknowledge the loss of my Aunt from this world and will miss her very much.


Unknown said...

I guess people are ready to dismiss pain and move on...forgetting that the spirit lives on, and always will.
I have a much better relationship with my dad since he passed. The ability to forgive came too late for me on earth, but I have come to depend on him and cherish him.
This is a beautiful homage.

somepinkflowers said...


i weep
for your aunt
for your daughter
for you
for me
because Life is so Grand
i cannot bear
to weep...
plus, it is raining outside now.

{{ your family photo
is my screen saver for the day
in honor of us
who live
and die,
but mostly
because the children in the photo
have stolen my heart
no matter
where they are
on this rain/weep day}}

Jeannie said...

I agree with you. The body, once the spirit has gone, is not so important. My father was cremated and my mother spread his ashes around a favourite spot they had - by herself - and that's absolutely fine with me. I have never gone to any graveyard to "see" anyone. But, the funeral is certainly essential - it allows your mind to accept that the person is gone.

Thing is I do like to visit graveyards and read the headstones. hmmmm

Gayle said...

Left good memories....
What could possibly be better than that?

Spadoman said...

Vintage Green... The original Haiku said, "Left us memories". I like your words so much better. I went and changed it to "Left good memories"
Thanks for that insight as you are absoliutely correct. She left us some very good memories.


carol l mckenna said...

I was just commented to Rebecca to see if anyone had heard how you were ~ Glad you are okay and so sorry for your loss ~ part of life that is not easy ~ lovely haiku ~namaste, carol (A Creative Harbor)

Anonymous said...

you are such a beautiful soul...

xox - eb.

A Bit of the Blarney said...

God bless you and all your family!! Cathy

Cheryl said...

I'm glad to hear you felt well enough to drive. Like the haiku. Sorry to hear about your aunt. You have some fines memories.

Mel said...

Welcome home. I trust it was a safe and peace-filled journey. I'm sorry it was under the circumstances, but getting some time with family is a good thing, methinks.

And I adore the photo. What a treasure. And how much of g'ma is in all of them/you!

Yaknow.....I'm of the same belief as you are when it comes to funerals and burials. It's what they grew up with, it's what they came to know as the closing of a life.

I remember my first unsettled moment when I went to a funeral home 'visitation' and next day looking at an urn with ashes. It wasn't within my experience. Today it's no longer 'unsettling' to me. And I think I've developed a different understanding.
I think that's good, yaknow?

mig bardsley said...

It is good for the soul to meet and honour the dead. Why wouldn't we want to? And then it's good to be together as a group and enjoy each others' company.
For me, the spirits of loved ones and friends always stay with me and one of the ways to keep the sense of the person you've lost is to gather and learn from everyone else who loved them.
Anyway, I'm so glad you got to be on the road again!

Helen Campbell said...

So sad to hear about your aunt. I agree with your perspective. The memories are what I prefer to honor, while I respect that others need more. Be well!

Fran aka Redondowriter said...

Ah, Spadoman, I feel sad reading your words, but also buoyed in some crazy way because of the way you loved your aunt and your daughter. The longer I live (74 now), I have such a great respect for the journey of life and for death itself. Our illusion of being in control always brings me up short.

Grace said...

This is a moving and heartfelt write....thank you for sharing it.

I agree on celebrating the loved one's spirit ~

Nice to meet you~

gma said...

Lovely post honoring your aunt.
xx My best to you and yours

Jill Berry said...

I am getting ready to say goodbye to my Auntie Ann. She is still with us, but gravely ill and I am so far away. I love her very much and appreciate this post.
My Aunt Mary called me "Honey Girl". Those were the last words I heard from her.
Good for you that you had Aunt Angie to love.

Dawn Elliott said...

Hi Joe,
I'm happy to hear that you're back out on the road! We all know that it's funerals, births, and marriages that give us the opportunities for our families to reconnect...and I'm glad you were able to do that and to go and honor your auntie.

Lea said...

Thank you for sharing this with us... these words that run deep, with love and such great loss, opening to that place in us that holds the memories of those precious spirits in our lives... lost to this world... it is a loss for those of us here, remembering, caught in time and space. Held on to you like you were her own... will be with me from now on...

Paula Scott Molokai Girl Studio said...

Glad to hear you made the trip to and fro safely! That is true-it has been quite some time since you've been on the road.
Looking forward to hearing about the 'more about that soon' part! ; )


susan said...

I'm glad to know you made it there and back with no troubles although I'm sorry your first major excursion had to be for a funeral. Your Aunt Angie sounds to have been a very sweet woman and I'm sure too she's happy to be with her loved ones who also have passed.

We in the west have some very strange ideas about death and funerals it's true. Several years ago we watched a film that couldn't have been made in America but we watched it again recently enough that I'd like to recommend it to you. It's called 'Departures' and I think it would warm your heart as it did ours.

Peace and many blessings.