Sister’s Last Good-Bye

Yesterday we as a family gathered to say our last good-bye to our sister Rose. Our son-in-law and daughter drove us down for the Celebration of Life, which was held at Moose Jaw. This was directed by a Celebrant who read the write-up of her life the family had written out. Then her oldest daughter came to the mike and read her memories of Mom, at times with a smile and at times pausing while the tear flowed.

I learned some interesting things I hadn’t known about my sister, including the fact that she and her husband met on a blind date set up by friends. She was only fifteen-and-a-half but it must have been love at first sight. Only six weeks later he popped the question in a unique way, simply telling her, “There’s something on the kitchen table for you.” She went to look, saw the small box and said, “YES!”

After the service there were hugs and tears and a lunch at the reception hall, where a video was shown. This was a collage of photos of her life and some of those photos brought me to tears. I remember those years, the little girl in some of those pictures.

Watching the years of her life pass in flickers on the screen was hard in a way, because she’s so alive in those scenes. You want to pull her back! There were a few snaps of her childhood and teen years, some from her wedding day. I saw a few showing some of us siblings together, a couple showing our parents, us as a family together at her house after our dad’s funeral. These were interspersed with many pictures of them as a young couple, growing older, travelling. We saw her two daughters at birth, as teens, their weddings, then them as parents; with many shots of the extended family and/or Rose holding and playing with her grandchildren. A lifetime well lived and enjoyed.

As I’ve already said, Rose was the only sibling I’ve had steady contact with through the years; the others I met more often in passing at functions. I will definitely miss her and that continuing family contact.

Perhaps because of those pictures, last night life as a whole took on a dream-like feeling. This present life seems like a flowing stream of incidents, scenes viewed from a train window as we speed through time. The world waiting on the other side seems like the true solid ground.

I’ve a cousin who says there’s no life beyond this one. You die; that’s it. Lights out. As a Christian I accept the Bible teaching on Heaven, but most people of various faiths do believe in, or at least hope for, a land of peace and light on the other side. People who have been revived after clinical death claim to have experienced some life after their last breath. All hallucinations?

At the service we were told that Rose definitely believed in a life after this one. The names of other family members were mentioned, people Rose would be meeting and joining over there. As the poet, Fanny Crosby, wrote, “Oh, the dear ones in glory how they beckon me to come, and their parting at the river I recall.”

After the lunch, siblings and spouses of Rose and her husband, their daughters and families, had a little service at the crematorium. Another round of tears and hugs, then her ashes were left there and we joined the extended family members at a lunch at her oldest daughter’s home. So now the day is over, except for the quiet grieving we’ll all go through.

28 thoughts on “Sister’s Last Good-Bye

  1. I am so sorry for your loss, Christine – especially as this was the sibling you were closest to. (Not that losing any sibling is easy, I imagine.)
    Those videos are so bittersweet, aren’t they? Seeing our loved one in picture after picture with smiles or doing things they loved.
    Sending hugs your way.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, they are. And of course I wish I’d known more about her, been more a part of her life — made her more a part of mine. The service started out with the song, “Cat’s in the Cradle” which of course makes you think about what all you’ve missed over the years.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. ❤ I'm so very sorry for the loss of your sister. These are the hardest goodbyes to survive, but it sounds like you were surrounded by family and beautiful remembrances. Sending you prayers for peace.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love the trend that seems to be growing, for celebrations of life and memorial services. Christine, I know this is hard for you, and I’m praying for you.

    Some day you should write the story of your life. Or maybe you already are.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your prayers. As to the trend, I wonder if the actual service has changed a lot — or the feelings — but the new name sounds upbeat. And we live in an age of photos, so those presentations can easily be put together.

      The music has changed though. Where you used to hear “Beyond the Sunset” we heard (at Rose’s service) Garth Brooks singing “The Dance.” And at a nephew’s funeral, having the band Metallica screeching, “And It Doesn’t Really Matter!” was anything but comforting.

      Yes, I have written up the story of my life, at least the first forty years. Growing up in a semi-religious home (Mom F saying Yes; Dad F saying Nonsense) apart from my parents and siblings. Becoming a Christian four years after we were married and searching for a church home. Etc.

      If you’re interested, you can read one chunk here:

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Reblogged this on Flatlander Faith and commented:
    This is my wife’s account of her sister’s funeral. I think Rose was nine when I first met her. Her older sister was pretty young then too, and I didn’t pay much attention to either of them. In time the big sister became much more interesting and through her I have had many visits with Rose over the years.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m doing okay. It’s not like we had to do with each other every week or even every month. It’s more the regrets, but I came across a poem that night after the funeral and it comforted me a lot. I plan to post it tomorrow.
        Thanks for your concern.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your comment. No, as long as we live, none of us will forget her.
      Was she with us in spirit? This is a philosophical response, but I hope not. I’d rather think of her as “at rest” and spare her from seeing and feeling how broken her husband was. He’s quiet, didn’t say or weep much, but we knew he was in deep pain and he looked at least ten years older.

      Liked by 1 person

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