The Funeral

(Voyez le message précédent pour la version française).

On Wednesday we were very low in spirits. Just a week before, dad had told mom he would like to have his funeral at the cistercian abbey and be buried in a pine box like the monks. But the abbot Dam Raphaël and Father André made us realize that the chappel was too small for the number of people we should expect, and that the pine box would shock and hurt the family and friends. Mom was very disappointed because she felt she would not respect dad’s wishes.

But on Wednesday she and my sister Marie-Claude visited the church, made arrangements and bought a lot that was close to the mountain and overlooked our house. They also picked a beautiful flower arrangement and arranged for catering. Mom was able to arrange for father André, who was dad’s friend of 25 years, to give the homely and for Dom Raphaël to co-celebrate the mass with the parish priest, who was also very kind and helpful.

My brother Jean and his wife Julie found the contact info for Madame Marthe Tétrault, a soprano ho had sung at their wedding in 2001 and who my father had much admired. We all went to visit Mme Tétrault and she sang from her music book to help us pick pieces; mom selected airs dad had loved such as Schubert’s Ave Maria and Franck’s Panis angelicus. By that evening, we all felt much better about following dad’s wishes as closely as we could.

We all had to also cram some shopping for ties, shirts, shoes, jackets, etc., and contacting family. Friday was spent at the funeral home greeting many more people than we had expected. And on Saturday, after a few more hours at the funeral home, we had the service. My cousins Stéphane and Roxanne did beautifully with their readings, and my sister with her testimonial. Father André had picked the gospel text that most mystified me as a kid, the Talents Parable, and gave a beautiful eulogy, all the more touching because he to is wrestling with inoperable cancer.

And Mme Tétrault had managed to rehearse some songs mom wanted but had been told she couldn`t do, such as the Pie Jesu and the Agnus Dei. We were very moved, and she sang gloriously — I could almost hear my father exclaim a bit too loud between notes “My, she has a beaufiful voice!”

Dad was buried under a warm May sun, and he surely would have taken a nap in his hammock if he’d been alive.

We had a meal with the family and friends, and then the immediate family regrouped. Then yesterday we celebrated Mothers Day; my brother brought and cooked lobster, just the way dad used to like it.

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