Attitude is Everything
A Celebration of the Life of My Father
"The Humorous Memorial Service"
by Jan Faust
I was not able to attend the community memorial service held for him because I had to start school and I would have just cried. I did attend the ash sprinkling held at the family summer home.

We were all there, my mother, my son, my brother and his wife, as well as my aunt and uncle and Gramps was, in spirit, there too. The cabin is in a beautiful part of the northern Minnesota woods overlooking Lake Leander, where there is the subtle aroma of pine. We were awaiting the perfect sunset on an August evening to row out on the lake and sprinkle the ashes. That is what Daddy had wanted, to be sprinkled on the lake. We had gathered wild flowers, pie plates and candles, all to be a part of the memorial service.

One evening my brother came running up from the lake saying, "This is it. This is the night. The sunset is beautiful." We collected all of the wilted wild flowers we had gathered earlier, took our candles stuck on aluminum pie plates. Except for my brother who did not want to pollute the environment so his candle was on a flat piece of wood. And, then we headed for the boats.

The idea was to strew wild flowers behind the boats which would be pulling lit candles on pie plates. Mother had written a beautiful eulogy which she intended to read before we scattered the ashes. We were all set to be morose and cry at this beautiful ceremony. What really happened was much better. It was a beautiful sunset evening. Not a cloud in the sky. We got into a row boat and a canoe, connected the boats to the strings, pie plates and piece of wood, lit the candles and rowed out into the lake casting wilted wild flowers behind the boats. I can still see the clumps of wilted flowers.

Just about the time Mother got to the part in the eulogy about Daddy's sense of humor and I started to cry, from nowhere came a cloud which dumped buckets of rain on us. I, who was rowing the rowboat, sat there for about a minute getting soaked before I said, "I'm getting the hell out of here. Dump the ashes.

Mother, who had not opened the ash box until now, dumped Daddy's remains into the lake. How were we supposed to know the ashes would be in a plastic bag? The bag floated until someone grabbed it and opened it spilling the ashes into the lake. I started rowing for all I was worth, it was pouring down rain. In my furious rowing all of the strings that we were trailing got tangled up in the oars. By the time we got back to the dock the cloud was gone, no more rain, just sunset and wet laughing people. It was like Daddy was saying, "Be joyous, not sad, I'm better now."

This is an excerpt from my contribution to a book that has been published. The title of the book is From Eulogy To Joy there were a number of contributors to the book and there is a discussion about the book at this website From Eulogy To Joy this website is not a commercial site and we would love to have you come talk to us in the discussion group located there.
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