Saturday, July 5, 2008

A Death in the Family

My Mom and Dad 2005

Sam, Saturday afternoon with the finished casket

My Mom died yesterday. It was quiet, graceful, and not unexpected, but still, as always, a shock. I'm happy she made it to the 4th as my birthday is the 3rd and forever after would have been tinged with a sort of bittersweetness. Now though, I can think that every 4th of July party is a little bit for her, fireworks included. I practiced that concept last night and though it was hard for me, my friends agreed it was a good thought. As I did for my father two years ago, I built the casket along with my two boys, my wife, and my employeees. Everybody pitched in and it went more quickly and smoothly than the last time. My mother was a quilter and I took that as an inspiration. The red, white and blue was, believe it or not, an accident ... She always liked blue .... Building a casket for a loved one is a cleansing experience and was summed up beautifully in an email I got from a client after I told her the news. I hope that she doesn't mind that I share it here.

"Hi, I'm very sorry to hear the news about your mother. You and your boys making the casket is really special. She will be enveloped by people that love her. I told you how much I love the smell of the wood in my dressing room furniture, it makes me think about the furniture like it has life and significance. I get it that it feels cleansing to you to do this for her. It didn't sound grim to me, more like a very special goodbye."

That about says it all.

Click the pictures to enlarge them
End of the first day
A quilt my mother made for us
The quilt inlay
My father's casket ... 6/27/06


Unknown said...

I'm so sorry for your loss and the difficult time you are going through. Sounds like building the casket was sort of a therapeutic and bonding time for you and your family as you all worked together. The casket of course looks beautiful as does your fathers. They must have taken great pride in who you are and what beautiful things you create.

Take care...

Rob Smith said...

Thank you for the very helpful and sensitive treatment of this topic. I have been trying to piece together dimensional models that would be an appropriate and simple memorial. Your dimensions and analysis confirm my research, and give me some peace of mind as I embark on the project.