There were rituals at Chez Needles that happened every year, not a certain date so much as a certain time of feeling. I am thinking of it today because today, is a day with that kind of feeling.
Each spring, Brian would start to wander the yard. He walked the yard in every season, but as the snow melted in spring, he would start measuring things in certain places. One of the places he always watched was the fire pit. The sun seemed to shine in there and it would melt off much sooner than the heavily shaded stairs and paths to get there. Every spring, he would come in and give me a melting report till the time was right. Once the grass was dried up around the firepit, and the wood was dry, it was time for a campfire night.
Sometimes we had food, but often it was just to go out and sit by the fire. We usually planned well enough that we had a nice bottle of something warm to sip. Warm, because it was spring and this is the Canadian prairies. Spring evenings are chilly.
But we would talk about the wheres and when of what we wanted to do this year. We planned the garden and farm. We talked outside things at home, we talked about faith and belief, we talked life.
And we talked about death. Not our imminent passing of course, but for that eventual day far far in the future when it was our end. We talked about the things we would like, funerals, no funerals, about ways we would prefer to die if we had a choice. Out at the firepit in the evenings, with a glass of warm wine or port we talked of life. Beginning, middle and ends.
There were things that we did for Brian that were from those conversations. Like no traditional funeral. He did not want people to feel sad that he was gone, though we all do. He liked the idea of a memorial, a remembering and sharing of stories of who he was, of what he meant to his family and his friends. He wanted to be surrounded by life and by love and he was. He wanted sky and green and trees and we did that.
We had his memorial in the back yard. He loved that yard and he worked so hard to make it the gorgeous place that it was.
He loved living there and I never forget how lucky we were to be there together. Ever.
3 weeks after he died, we had a gathering of the people he loved. Our families and friends met to share some burgers and beer. We had some scotch for Grandpa Oscar, but only Grandpa Oscar and the boys kept Grandpa happy and cooked burgers. They stayed busy so they didn't have time to be sad.
I think we all felt that way, that sad was not for when people were around. Sad was much to new and raw and stayed private.
He would have loved it. After a week of rain, the sun shone and we remembered him with love.