The lessons I learned. Le 2

by - May 02, 2012

For 25+ years we would anticipate Christmas Eve in Marcelin.  Everything about it made it one of our favourite events in the year: la messe de minuit, la réveillon, the food, the visit from Santa, the carol singing in the basement, the camaraderie and the priceless memories made with family were the epitome of Christmas for the Park kids.

The church in Marcelin which was home to so many Christmas memories, was also the place where my Grandma was baptized, celebrated her first communion,was married and then this past weekend, was home to the celebration of her life.  As 400+ people crowded into this memory filled church, I realized the importance of surrounding yourself with good people and of community.  This is not something that everyone is fortunate in life to experience but it was clear on Saturday that Grandma was one of the lucky ones.

Her community is so rich in traditions, some that I didn't realize existed until this weekend.  For example, when they found out she passed away, right after Mom and Aunty Chris let Grandpa know, the next person called was the bell ringer at the church.  It is custom that the church bells are rung when someone passes away to notify the community.  Aunty Phyllis even thought that there was a certain number for a woman and a different number for a man.  So at 6:45am on the morning of April 24th, the bells tolled.
Also, there was another custom that we were able to participate in: the procession to the cemetery.  After the celebration of Grandma's life, mostly the family walked in procession to the cemetery with the sounds of the bells tolling in the background.  This was a truly remarkable experience and I hope I never forget the feeling of support from the onlookers, offering their condolences.

There's something special about living in a small town and having your community so close to you.
I've struggled with that aspect of life ever since moving to Saskatoon and have found it very difficult to find my place.  I certainly have a great net of friends around me, which in a way would be considered my sisterhood but I know that there is a bigger picture and that mine is lacking.  Upon seeing the amount of volunteer work my Grandmother did and the effect she has had on her world, it left me inspired and hoping that I will be able to do the same sort of thing for the lives that surround me.

I stumbled upon this quote this week while preparing my last observations and I think it will serve as a great conclusion in this story of my life.
"Surround yourself only with people who are going to lift you higher" ~Oprah Winfrey

With that I close this chapter in hopes that I can continue to nurture the great people in my world and in doing so, live an honourable life that would make my Grandma proud.

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Have a lovely day!