A woman died overseas last week. I didn’t know her, but she was loved by a friend of mine who couldn’t get to the funeral. This friend invited a small group of us to share her farewell to her friend. First she talked about the woman, and times they’d shared. After lighting a candle she invited each of us to light a candle and bring in the memory of our own beloved dead. She then sang a song of farewell, and we all shared food and drink to bring us back to the everyday.
I was intrigued to note that there were seven of us, and that the seven candles symbolised the stars of Matariki, now in the sky, and traditionally the time for remembering the dead.
As we ate we talked about various ways of fare-welling the dead, and how these days many people are choosing funerals that are more natural and personalised. Some of the group were unaware that embalming is not essential, or that it’s possible to organise whatever kind of funeral you want.
There are many ways in which people deal with death and saying farewell to loved ones. I was honoured to be part of this ritual.
“Each person’s life must end some day.
Fare-welling helps us on the way.”