Raising a glass

Last night I sat back with a glass of wine to reflect on a full day. It had been a bit hectic – meeting with a couple of families, returning numerous phone calls, and performing a burial. I had not had the time to truly process the events of the day until this quiet moment after dinner was cleaned and the children were in bed.

Malmquist1My reflections on yesterday’s burial brought me a deep sense of contentment. The woman we were honoring was a passionate botanist and native plant enthusiast. She had been pleased to choose Foxfield as her final resting place, and would have been gratified by the service performed there in her memory. Each of her children offered fitting tributes which spoke honestly and lovingly to different aspects of her character and their relationship with her. There were poetry readings, prayers, humorous memories and messages of gratitude. All were lovely, but the stand-out moments for me were not these loving tributes.

What will stick with me will be watching one of her son rest his hand lovingly upon the lid of her casket for a moment as he placed it down upon the grave, lingering with her a moment longer. It will be the sight of her children, grandchildren and sisters surrounding the grave and raising wine glasses high overhead in a solemn toast, before laughing at the fact that she would have hated this wine. It will certainly be the moment Malmquist3that I stepped up to her dear friend to inform him that we had grave diggers standing by to finish filling in the grave. He took a break from shoveling and his stormy eyes were full of emotion as he told me “That’s okay. I think it’s good for me to do this.”And I hope to forever remember the loving hands of her children as they planted beautiful native flowers atop her burial mound.

These beautifully poignant moments seem to shimmer in my memory; gestures so full of love and life. As I reflected upon them, and the love shared by this family, I raised my own glass in a silent toast.

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Thank you to the Malmquist family for generously sharing their images from these beautiful services.