Monday, March 02, 2009

Tony Was Freakin' Awesome

A week ago, the community of Shadow Grove learned that one of their own left this world. It was sudden and unexpected and the physical cause is still unknown. In that week, there was grief and sorrow for his wife and 9-month old daughters. There was also celebration. We celebrated his life, the lives he made, the lives he touched. Even those who did not know him well knew a special light had left us.

I got sick and was unable to go to the Calling on Friday. I could, however, make it to the funeral on Saturday. This took place at his family's Methodist church. It was, by far, the most forward-thinking Christian church I have ever been to. The pastor asked the ministers of Shadow Grove to participate in the service, read a poem that was written for Tony, and chose a closing hymn that would specifically sing to our path, to Tony's path. When the pastor announced the Shadow Grove ministers, the person sitting in front of me leaned over to his wife and whispered, "they didn't go to this church?" That was amusing to me. The funeral was beautiful.

Yesterday, we had our own remembrance gathering at the Grove House. Tony was known as the Grill King. If you couldn't find him, he would be at the grill, preparing meat the way it should be prepared. He also enjoyed a good bonfire, and was coordinating that and much of the meals for our upcoming Beltane festival. Our memorial involved the two things that we knew he was passionate about: a raging bonfire and a feast he would have been proud of.

It was the most people I've yet seen at the Grove. Through tears, smiles, and laughter, we said our farewells, and burned letters in the fire. This was a special fire as well. It contained parts of a wooden trebuchet that had flung its last pumpkin into the trees this past Samhain. Tony had helped build that. We think he'll be around for the building of the new trebuchet. After the ritual, it was back to the house for an amazing feast while people shared stories and memories.

I think everyone would be honored to be remembered this way. It was not without sorrow, but it was also filled with happy memories and sharing them with friends and kin.

Have a blessed journey, dear one.

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