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I haven’t been a regular here for a time. A funeral in August, another in September. Both unexpected. But then, thankfully, we rarely do expect them.

I grew up in a farming community in Southwestern Ontario. Now I live in Calgary, two thousand miles away.

2015-10-09 map to London

I am blessed with lots of family that still live in the area. And then there are all the friends.

My late brother and late father had lots of friends. They show up and offer sympathy and support. They write interesting anecdotes on the funeral home’s Condolences Page. They send emails. They send flowers and donate to favourite charities.

In a very short period of time, family and friends and funeral directors help us to put together a Celebration of Life. Eulogies are written. People speak about our loved ones and surprise us with stories we’ve never heard.

The waitress in the small town gives me breakfast on the house. Someone else buys dinner for me and all my sisters.

Family shows up from everywhere. It turns into a photo op. My family does an annual family reunion but funerals are another kind of family reunion. Some of our best photo album pictures come from funerals. After all, when you are from a huge family, it’s hard to get everyone together. So we take those pictures and keep those memories.

It is a time for goodbyes, and reconnections.

After it’s all over, the sadness lingers and spikes, sometimes when we least expect it. But I have been to enough funerals in my life to know that the sharp feelings will lessen. The ache will pass. Life will go on. I know it will take time to say goodbye but life is for the living.


Thanksgiving is celebrated on next Monday in Canada. Many people have the turkey dinner on Sunday and then just kick back on the holiday Monday.

I have much to be thankful for and I am going to focus on the good things. In fact, I am challenging myself to write a Gratitude blog for the next few days.

Today, I am grateful for the sunshine, the coloured leaves of autumn, and the love of family and friends.

When life gives you lemons, add sweet tea.

When life gives you lemons, add sweet tea.

Lemons from Bigstockphoto.com #101320991 and 44177782