We gathered for the memorial service at St. Michael’s Anglican Church in Canmore.
During the service, Mike spoke, James read a poem and we played some of dad’s music, Muff Mattson’s combo – including I Don’t Know Why I Love You Like I Do. I said these words:
Thank you all for coming here today to remember Georgie and how she touched your life.
- She loved us all very much
- She was fun and playful
- She awakened my creativity
- She loved words and wordplay
- She gave me a sense of human worth and dignity and responsibility
Mum told me that her father, Ernest A Colebrook, embodied dignity and civility, and her mother, Edith Ellen Colebrook, embodied humility. Mum’s message was love and the connections that create love.
I’d like to share a little of what happened at the end, when she was in the hospice. We moved into the hospice to be with mum, sleeping there and making ourselves at home. (Mike, Kris, James, Rosie and I all stayed there for the week.) We talked to her, read to her and lived close as a family. The entire hospice experience gave us a depth of meaning and light during what could have been the darkest time. As mum passed, those of us who were present were coached by the nurse. We stood around mum with our hands touching her if we could, visualizing and talking about the mountains that had always been home to her. (This we did between the last breath and the final heartbeat.)
Mike mentioned Sunday School. It was family lore that I quit going very early on because the teacher couldn’t tell me what God made the world out of. (Mum had marginally better luck with Mike, but she didn’t force me to go back.) Now more and more it seems the world is made of Love in all its many forms.
I am grateful to have had the opportunity to live as a little family again before we spiral back out into our private lives; now enriched through mum’s incredibly transformative transition, released to evolve new forms in our life’s dance, taking new roles in the circle of love that is our particular family pattern.
Sometimes only poetry can speak what is in the heart. Here are the final lines of Eliot’s Four Quartets.
And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
When the tongues of flame are in-folded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one.
And this is what I wrote this morning
Today I am in ruins
Wandering, crying, and calling for my mother
I know we felt the golden light
I remember how we laughed and loved.
I am in ruins
Calling for God to hold my mother
and all of us
within Love’s golden light.