Paper pennants, decorations for the wedding in June, were still flying, a little faded, some missing -- a poignant reminder of the joy that had filled us all on that day.
Yesterday morning friends and family gathered for the burial. Teo's friends had dug a grave on a gentle knoll with long views across peaceful pastures to the mountains beyond, The coffin, handmade by Teo's father and father-in-law, rested on the table where the wedding feast had been spread. The plaintive tones of a Cherokee flute sounded as people approached the coffin, laying gentle hands on the new wood and saying goodbye. Teo's family sang a beautiful hymn and his mother read a poem. Then the pallbearers -- Teo's friends and Teo's sister -- carried him, shoulder high, up to the knoll.
Baskets containing significant objects -- among them, deer antlers, a worn baseball cap, a tissue wet with the bride-widow's tears -- were lowered into the grave after the coffin, as were Teo's logging boots. Words were said and finally friends and family took turns adding handfuls or shovelfuls of dirt to the grave.
And once again, all gathered at the table for another meal.
Tears and hugs were plentiful , , , all present so very aware of the preciousness of life and love.
And as the day wore on, there were some smiles . . . and even laughter.
May his memory be a blessing.