Last week I was listening to talkback radio in my kitchen, in between folding fitted sheets, which is one task that drives me insane.
Adding to my already fractious mood was a discussion happening on the radio regarding funerals, specifically how we farewell our beloved family members.
The discussion was focused on cardboard coffins. Made from 100% biodegradable recycled cardboard, these are a relatively new concept that is gaining popularity. Callers were appalled that people would consider using these coffins.
Mrs Woog’s Nanna’s lilac cardboard casket … lilac was her favourite colour.
“How disrespectful!” they cried. Call after call after call. And before my beloved Nanna’s funeral a few years ago, I might have agreed with them.
My Nanna was the matriarch of a large farming family. She had six children. She spent her last years in a nursing home, a victim of that nasty bastard dementia. Her death was long and drawn out and her children often struggled with watching the suffering.
When she finally passed away, we needed to come together as a family, just us, to reflect on her life and on a wonderful, nurturing and patient woman and the life that she lead.
Instead of a church, a park was chosen. Instead of a religious, anonymous figurehead to conduct a cookie-cutter ceremony, my older sister ran the show. And instead of an expensive, elaborate coffin, my Nanna was resting in a lilac, cardboard casket made of 100% recycled materials. Lilac was her favourite colour. And it was marvellous.
Before the discussion and reflections began, her great, great grandchildren were all given colourful stickers, crayons, paints and glitter to decorate her coffin.
It was pure joy, watching them get to work, talking to their Great Nanna and delighting in each other’s creations.
Then we all had the opportunity to express ourselves, write Nanna a message and take a little time to thank her.
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