Mom’s Ceremony

Followup to The Scattering

Once the boat was anchored, we shared reminiscences and stories. My brother had written a piece, which he shared, but I will not, as it was very personal. (He might want to share it himself.) But there were also poems and photos and a song shared.


My aunt read Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep by Mary Elizabeth Frye:

Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there, I do not sleep. 

I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glint on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain. 

When you wake in the morning hush,
I am the swift, uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circling flight.
I am the soft starlight at night. 

Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there, I do not sleep.
(Do not stand at my grave and cry.
I am not there, I did not die!)


Dad read selections from these poems:

Immortality
By Felix Adler, founder of Ethical Culture

The dead are not dead if we have loved them truly.
In our own lives we can give them a kind of immortality.
Let us arise and take up the work they have left unfinished.

Continuance
By Samuel Butler

I fall asleep in the full and certain hope
That my slumber shall not be broken;
And that, though I be all-forgetting,
Yet shall I not be all-forgotten,
But continue that life in the thoughts and deeds
Of those I have loved.

Epicurean Epitaph

I was not. I have been. I am not. I do not mind.

Sing Well!
By Joyce Grenfell

If I should die before the rest of you,
Break not a flower, nor inscribe a stone,
Nor, when I’m gone, speak in a Sunday voice,
But be the usual selves that I have known,
Weep if you must:
Parting is hell,
But life goes on
So . . . sing as well!

Our Lives Matter
By M. Maureen Killoran

We come together from the diversity of our grieving,
to gather in the warmth of this community
giving stubborn witness to our belief that
in times of sadness, there is room for laughter.
In times of darkness, there always will be light.
May we hold fast to the conviction
that what we do with our lives matters
and that a caring world is possible after all.


I sang (a cappella) “Proud Songsters”, the last song from Gerald Finzi’s Earth and Air and Rain, on text by Thomas Hardy.

The thrushes sing as the sun is going,

And the finches whistle in ones and pairs,

And as it gets dark loud nightingales

In bushes

Pipe, as they can when April wears,

As if all Time were theirs.

These are brand new birds of twelvemonths’ growing,

Which a year ago, or less than twain,

No finches were, nor nightingales,

Nor thrushes,

But only particles of grain,

And earth, and air, and rain.


And finally, here are the photos I included in a photo album I had printed and passed around.

Yvonne Peterson: A Remembrance

One thought on “Mom’s Ceremony

  1. Pingback: The Scattering – The Toast Point Page

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