ceremony for the sake of celebration or honor has never made any sense to me.  personally, i can think of so many better ways to celebrate a monumentous person or event than spending loads of money to be over-dramatic…than buying flowers that will wilt and sitting through services that cause you only to look at your watch every 5 minutes. i’ve never much liked weddings – certainly never wanted one myself. funerals have always seemed so dramatic.

or at least that’s an honest (but mild) version of my opinion on turning anything into a ceremony.

until today. because today, i listened to the priest tell stories about my grandmother.  how she eloped with my grandfather in the early 20’s. how she was (first and foremost) a mother…not only to her four sons, but to the entire neighborhood. how she would be sorely missed despite the gratitude that her pain had finally ceased.

that’s when i realized that ceremony is not to honor or to celebrate someone. it’s not about the event at all, really. it’s simply a moment set aside specifically to force such busy people to pause. take a breath. and realize what the present holds. it’s not for pomp and circumstance…it’s to hold space to actually notice what is happening. what i realized is that she is me and i am her. she was young and in love and at the beginning of life at once point, just like i am (aside from the in love part). and one day i will be laid to rest just as she was this afternoon. my children and grandchildren will miss me, but not mourn my peace. so i had better live today…because today is what’s really happening.  without funerals, lives and deaths might just sneak up on us.

i’m so grateful i was able to attend gramma’s funeral. she had a profound effect so many people i love. we won’t wish you back here, gramma, but we’ll sure miss you. even in her parting, gramma served to bring all of her childen and grandchildren together for the first time in over a decade.

when my cousin and her husband finally peeled away from the happy gathering to drive home to chicago she called back to tell everyone that she had noticed a voicemail in her inbox that she hadn’t previously seen. on came gramma’s voice from nearly two weeks ago singing her a song to wish her a happy first year anniversary. she sure did love us well.

blake, gramma grace, brady

click to see names


2 Responses to “ceremony”

  1. 1 Bill June 6, 2010 at 7:24 pm

    I love to watch you grow.

  2. 2 elois June 15, 2010 at 2:48 pm

    Calais I am so glad you had the opportunity to pause, take a breath and realize your Gramma Gracie’s strength as well as her weaknesses (I’m sure she would admit) thru the many years of joy, sadness, pain, good health, love for all people, happiness as well as stress. Life is a beautiful thing to be shared with people you love. She reared a beautiful family of which I know she was so proud. I am so glad I got to meet and spend some time with her.
    This event you experienced was celebration of a transition to a better place for your Gramma. Remember her passionately! Love you Gramma

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Keep me away from the wisdom which does not cry, the philosophy which does not laugh and the greatness which does not bow before children.
-Kahlil Gibran

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