Having walked along side my brother during his 6-year battle with cancer in and out of clinics, hospital rooms and cancer care cottages it was time to go home. We had all had enough.
Only thing missing was Peter.
When I walked into his home in Creston, BC I felt so relieved, I could let my hair down and relax into the emotions of the moment, so could my family. We all sat around and let go of all we had been through, it was such a relief. We laughed and cried, told stories and lounged around had snacks and cried and laughed some more. It was wonderful. We put our feet up on the coffee table, snuggled on the couch and hung out in the kitchen, all the comforting things we do as families.
Peter’s hospital bed was in the living room right by the huge window over looking the Salmo Creston Valley. The view was breathtaking. Had I known then what I know now I would have brought Peter home with us for a home funeral. I would have placed him in his bed looking out over the valley. We could have sat or lied with him on his bed and lingered, stretched our out good-bye to suit our family needs and pace.
No more hospital stuff, the smells, the sounds, the colours, the constant medical interruptions. All much needed in the moment and yet the relief to be away from it all was so refreshing and human(e).
A hospital room is a challenging place to say good-bye, and to say good-bye in a full and complete way.
Home funerals are possible and I believe reviving old fashioned family-led, home vigils has far reaching, positive benefits for our children, ourselves, and the culture at large: greater peace, enhanced connectivity to and appreciation for life. I know in my heart that a home funeral for Peter would have been wonderfully healing for all of us – a real full-bodied, full-hearted and full spirited farewell indeed in our own home; on our own schedule; and in our own way.
After the battle it is time to go home!