Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Remembering the Past while Embracing your Future

To inspire myself to be a better person I get an email every other day or so from Whole Living asking me to pledge towards doing something good.  Usually it's something pretty obvious like, 'drink water' or 'eat an orange'.  Also I am well aware that taking advice from a mulit-billion dollar insdustry leader, Martha Stewart is like reading only the books Oprah tells me.

Sue me.  I love Martha.

My dream is to go to her show.  I applied for tickets the whole time I was in New York and alas, I never got to go. Maybe now I can play the bride card and go to a bridal show.  With my friend in New York.  HINT HINT.

Okay, back to my Whole Living living better tasks.  Usually they are weird.

But the other day this was the task:

Celebrate the Dead

The idea is that between Halloween, All Hallow's Eve and the Wiccan New Year - throw a party celebrating those that have gone before you. Probably not a booze fest with top 40, but a mini-party where the guests are you and the memories of those you love.

I thought this was a great idea.  I mean, I think often of those who have passed away but I never actually sit down and take a moment to really celebrate what part they played in my life.

Planning my wedding makes me really miss them all. I think they would have really loved the Engineer.  And I wish they could all be at our wedding.

I have therefore been inspired (thank you Martha) to do tiny things at our wedding to make sure they are a part of the party.

I plan on making many of the personal touches at our wedding myself. I realize that sometimes it's just easier to buy whatever it is you want, like a facsinator or ribbon wands, but there is something so nice about doing it yourself.  It may take a lot of time, but crafting is relaxing and makes me feel proud of my accomplishments.  My dad's mother taught me that.

I used to sit for hours with her in her farmhouse kitchen making all sorts of crafts: mop dolls, Christmas angels, monster masks.  She even had a drawer full of crafty treasures like pipecleaners and lace - all just waiting to be turned into something magical with my hands.  My cousin has that kitchen table now and every time I sit at it I think of those wonderful afternoons with her.  I know if she was here she would teach me how to make ribbon wands and probably take over when I got bored and started to eat her popcorn balls and butter tarts instead.  So I am going to make things for my wedding.  They may not look as nice as professionally bought items but they are made with love.  And it's my way of having her there.

My mother's father taught me how to make the perfect cup of tea.  He was so proper and, well, British.  He always wore full pajamas and a robe.  I used to walk down at the harbour with him and look at all the boats.  Or play crib.  He taught me how to find those sets of 15 and probably let me win more often than not.  But he was a tough old bugger so he wouldn't let me win all the time.  Tom would have loved the Engineer because the Engineer is quiet and likes math and science. I am providing vintage hankies for our guests before we walk down the aisle. My grandfather always had a hankie in his pocket.  Proper right?  Maybe full of germs but very yesteryear.  Anyways, these handkerchiefs are an ode to him.

Sadly my other two grandparents died when I was much younger and had barely formed lasting memories.

I thought about my dad's dad.  He was a typical tough farmer.  A man of few words, strong and always wearing suspenders.  Like my dad, he was a bit of a curmudgeon with a big soft spot for us grandkids.  I thought about his naps on the small chesterfield and how I used to take his socks off.  I can just hear that rattly voice threatening to throw me in the snow bank.  With a sparkle in his eye.  I haven't quite figured out how to put his memory in beyond serving dark chocolate and oysters.  But I am working on it -  maybe I can get the Engineer to wear suspenders!   Or I could have some sheaths of wheat at the tables?

Lastly my mother's mother, who was taken even earlier with alzheimer's so many of my memories are based in an old-folks home.  I know she was gentle and kind. And I can remember the smell of her.  Strange isn't it?  You can remember a smell even though I will never smell that again.  When I would hug her she smelled of wool and cream.  Her skin was super soft and smooth - like my mum's.  And she had a fake tooth that she would pop out to make me laugh.  I think she would really have enjoyed  our wedding.  She liked to have fun and I believe she would dance around with me, so I can only imagine she would have danced at our wedding.  I am decorating our wedding with tea cups, soft flowers and serving British candy like Pontefract cakes and Licorice Allsorts (one of my favourites!) - all for Stella's memory.

I like these details because I know that they are there.  Well, and now you because I told you.  But it is so neat to have pieces of your family and ancestors around a celebration, like a quilt. 

There are a few more tricks up my sleeves that will ensure our past is present for our future. But you have to wait until June 28th to find out what they are . . .

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