Monday, May 19, 2008

Tears, Balloons, and Unexpected Outcomes

I spent the weekend up in the Red River Valley of the North, spending time with #2 daughter, getting some family business taken care of, and visiting my dad. Also, this afternoon, attending a sort of memorial ceremony at the nursing. It was a remembrance of the people - some two dozen - who had been residents there, and had died since last year at this time.

I was there, because my mother died there February 23 of this year. I'll be feeling that for a long time.

Today's ceremony involved a white balloon for each of the deceased people. The idea was that, after a little music and talk inside, one would take a balloon representing the deceased loved one, we'd all walk outside, listen to a touching poem, and release the balloon.

The process went rather well. There wasn't much of a drizzle outside, and the wind wasn't what it had been earlier.

In fact, to my surprise, the balloons all cleared the metal trim at the top of the building.

Then, they encountered the trees, a little farther downwind.

With sounds reminiscent of a warming tray of popcorn, the balloons started popping.

I think one or two made it through the arboreal mine field.

My guess is that this isn't quite what the event organizers had in mind.

Still: it was a touching and well-intentioned ceremony.

The music, which included "In the Garden," was a treat. That one song, "In the Garden," was particularly important, since it's associated with my grandmother - and mother. That's the old song that starts:
"I come to the garden alone,
While the dew is still on the roses;
And the voice I hear, falling on my ear,
The Son of God discloses...."

That brought a few tears to my eyes.

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