Tuesday, May 24, 2011

thoughts about my sister

I have so many photos and thoughts and events I could share from the two weeks my family spent celebrating Briana - yes, celebrating - but I guess I have come to the conclusion that they are all pretty sacred to me so I might not post as much as I thought I would. I love talking about Briana - her life, her midwifery practice, her death, her memorial and burial...all of it - and I even love sharing the pictures, but I think it may be best on a one - to - one basis.

It definitely sounds weird to celebrate your sister's or daughter's tragic death, but in a way, it's about the only thing you can do. I can't change the fact that she died, reverse time, or remove the pain so I might as well get together with my family and friends, share memories of her, commemorate her life, and celebrate her passing. In the end, it's those of us left behind that are most sad and have to muddle through the hard change.

As I mentioned before, the two week celebrating and commemorating also ended up being the best way to process the sad news and begin to heal and move on. I'm glad my family made new memories of Briana through planning and speaking at her memorial services and being very involved in her burial. These physical acts make her death more real and memorable for me. I'm glad I saw her broken body and the smashed car as opposed to feeling like she disappeared or shouldn't have died from such a "small" accident. It wasn't a small accident; I saw her and I saw the car and I know that what happened would kill anyone. I'm glad she died instantly and isn't half-dead or severely injured in a way that would alter her lovely life. Briana really had a wonderful life and I'm glad she could cut ties with the physical world in an instant and be free to rise "trailing clouds of glory." I'm also glad she could be the first from our family to experience life after death. I have many ideas about what she might be doing, but I'll have to wait to see if I'm right...

Some ways we celebrated Bri:
-Sat on her bed to smell her pillows (she was in the middle of moving houses, so pardon her packing)
-Met all her friends and clients in Salt Lake City. Their love and admiration for Bri seemed to almost rival ours :)
-Sorted through her belongings picking things each of us wanted to remember her. I've worn something of hers almost every day since I came home...
-Wrote our talks for her memorial. The whole family spoke and it felt good to have an active role in the service.

(the front and inside of the Salt Lake memorial service program)
-Planned her memorial service - the paper program, the photos, the songs, and even the food (tea and shortbread).

(the inside and back of the Salt Lake memorial service program)
-Dressed her body for burial. We used all decomposable materials so she could have a "green" burial.

-Built her casket. My cousin, Ben Blackwelder, is a professional woodworker and was the mastermind behind the beautiful design.

-Drove her body to its new home at Fernwood Cemetery near the Golden Gate Bridge.

After Briana's burial, we were serenaded by Sonya Cotton and Gabe Dominguez with their beautiful duet band called 'Tiny Home.' Hold on and Hilltop Hymn were my favorite songs.

We miss you, Bri :)

3 comments:

Lemon Verbena said...

I was sad to read about Briana's death today, but the way you're all handling it is inspiring. I'm sure your sister would be happy about your celebration of her life.

GrittyPretty said...

Dear TreePeeps,
Thank you for this tribute to your sister. You and yours are always in our thoughts and prayers. I'm so lucky to know you!!!
Much love to you and your belly!
quel

Tree Peeps said...

Is it working to leave comments? Several people have said it didn't work for them....