lyef & thymes

Monday, December 17, 2007

Lesson from a funeral

My grandmother passed away last week, and we held a funeral for her on saturday. It was an interesting and moving service. The minister who gave the message had never met my grandmother, and tried his best to make due based on the stories from my family. But then there was the family itself. We all contributed something to the service. My cousins and I sang I'll Fly Away to start the ceremony., and a few notes into the song my grandfather, sat in the front row of course, broke down and began to weep.

Even now, sitting at a computer writing about it, the memory is so evocative. So I thought I would say a few words about it, and about my grandmother.

Gertrude Froese (nee Enns), was married to John Froese for fifty six years and they had six children together. They were both german mennonites living in Russia in the 1920's during the Russian Communist Revolution, when anyone resisting the communist manifesto was subject to terrible violence. Separately the Enns and Froese families moved to Manitoba and Saskatchewan respectively, and have lived in Canada ever since.

My grandparents lived in the Yukon together in the early days of their marriage, and then moved to Winnipeg, then back to the Yukon, then to Nova Scotia, then Ontario. They had little money, and little stability, but they had each other, and for almost six decades that was enough.

Now my grandfather is a widower, and yet as I stood singing at the front of this small room, watching him weep, I knew that he didn't weep for himself, lamenting his new sorry state. He wept because the love of his life had moved on to a place that he could not yet follow, and the separation, the loss, the absence was crushing.

Hugging him, and returning to my seat at the completion of the song, I sat beside my wife, took her hand, and allowed an entirely new depth of love for her pour into me. My grandfather's tear are an indication, a marquis displaying to any who would look and read, that a life spent in love with another is a good life, and the pain of one's passing does not diminish that love, it only serves to embed it deeper into one's soul.

2 Comments:

At 9:10 PM, Blogger barb michelen said...

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At 12:04 PM, Blogger Sarah-Aubrey said...

Shoot. I'm definitely crying...at work.

Jake, I didn't even know your grandmother passed away. So sorry. Although, it looks as if there's been a return to Blogspot after a year (in some cases...*ahem* Cho) of hiatus.

I look forward to reading your beautifully orchestrated words when you and Carolyn move to the States.

 

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