On a grave stone here in Victoria Emily Carr (a Canadian icon https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emily_Carr) wrote to Mother Earth. The piece ends thus:
"When I die I should like to be in you uncoffined,
unshrouded, the petals of flowers
covering me up."
Intimate don’t you think? I wonder if she got what she wanted. People do like to leave instructions about how they wish their remains to be disposed of. Often there are several places for ashes. Whole body buriels are simple. Both my parents, their bodies, lay beneth the earth, side by side, at Throssel. They wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.
More memories: One memorable day in 2011 I chugged up a railway line in the engine of a steam train clutching a very small portion of cremated remains. The driver opened the fire box and in went the ashes, and with a prolonged blast on the ‘hooter’ the late Iain Robinson met his final glory. He wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. Again, an intimate occasion with his widow there to witness.
Iain”s ashes were dived as is often the case with cremated remains. Some offered to the winds up on a hill close to where he lived and where his grandfather”s ashes were strewn. A portion buried at Throssel Hole Buddhist Abbey, with thanks to Mike for his active participation in placing the receptical containing the ashes in the hole. A moving and yes an intimate moment for all present who knew and loved Iain. A portion went to Japan with his dear wife so recently widowed. I suspect the train journey was what would have pleased him most. Probably
Lest we forget.
And of course we do.
It should rightly
be no other way.
Yes we pay our last respects and honour last wishes. It is their lived lives that live on.
4 thoughts on “Last Wishes”
Hi Rev. Master Mugo. Your posting put me in mind of this: I have heard or read that there is a tribe somewhere in Africa that says that death comes in three stages. The first stage is when the heart stops and the last breath leaves the body. The second stage is when the last bit of the physical body has decayed in the grave. And the third and final stage is when the last memory of the person has gone completely out of the hearts and minds of those who knew them. Then the person is at last truly dead. It is interesting the many and varied ways we keep alive the memory of those who have shared a part of life with us, and interesting, too, the many and varied ways by which we ourselves hope to prolong our leave taking.
Sorry to have missed seeing you when you were here recently. Perhaps next time we can meet up for coffee.
Thank you R.M. Mugo
It is indeed,- “the life lived that lives on.”
Wordsworth had the same lovely thought about body burial when he wrote about someone recently dead
No motion has she now, no force;
She neither hears nor sees;
Rolled round in earth’s diurnal course,
With rocks, and stones, and trees”
It always makes me think of the burial ground at Throssel .