May 4, 2016 – The Irish Wake

When I was young and a relative on my mom’s side died the wake would be held at home. The times I was there they were either at my grandfathers house or my Uncle Ferg’s house. People would line up and pass by the casket, usually open, and then go into the parlor or dining room for coffee, or tea and small sandwiches and cakes or cookies. We younger ones just hung out, ate and visited.

I was impressed with this process and after the hours of the wake the family would gather and have drinks and sit around the table discussing whatever. If my Dad and my Uncle Allan were there the talk would always end up on religion or politics. There were tears but also lots of laughter and giggles.

This week my friends daughter in law died. She had been sick for many years and was a true fighter. She kept going in spite of her illness. But last week her body would not let her go on and she died in her husbands arms. They were a lovely couple and so obviously in love.

Yesterday the obituary showed up in the newspaper and the wake was being held at home. That threw me a little bit. Now what was this going to be like? It was just a lovely celebration of Dawns life. We were greeted by a son in law at the door of one house offering us a glass of Champagne.. To explain, the young couple bought the grandparents house right behind his parents house.

We walked through the one house into the yard and it was incredible what they had done. There were blown up pictures along the path of the couple. There were tents for just sitting and visiting and others with food and drink. The casket was sitting to one side along with a book to sign and a jar with cards to fill out with gratitude messages about Dawn. They had done a wonderful job of setting up the two backyards as a place of celebration.

We saw some of our old friends and some newer ones of mine. Sadie was there who when she was four was in love with my husband – aka Santa – but that was 20 years ago and she is as sweet as she was then. Father Bob came and said prayers which were good for everyone. But the goal of the day was to celebrate and appreciate Dawn for what she had given each of us during her life. We all agreed their Irish Wake was much nicer than a funeral parlor wake.

The funeral tomorrow will be special as well. A celebration for a very warm, talented, gifted and loving woman.

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