Monday, October 11, 2010

Read Any Good Books Lately?

A Final Eulogy

It's been nearly four months since my mum died and this weekend the family got together to scatter her ashes. I was thinking about what would be appropriate to say on this occasion that was not so applicable at her funeral. I gave the eulogy at her funeral and in deciding what to say I went through a few ideas including the concept of the circle of life. While living appears to be linear if you join the two ends you have a continuous line with no true beginning or end. However as this is conceptual rather than illustrative it doesn't really lend itself to a eulogy. Pondering on this about an hour before scattering the ashes the illustration of a library came into my mind (though I can't quite remember how it came about) and as I thought about it the idea of borrowing a book worked quite well and the following is, in essence, what I said.

When an author writes a book it first takes shape as a manuscript which goes to a publisher and eventually is printed in several copies, some of which find their way onto a library shelf. These books are merely clones of the original manuscript and being created or destroyed do not affect the existence of the story itself. The original is like a blueprint which defines the copy and even if the copy is burned the blueprint remains. The Bible says that from the dust we come and to dust we will return which is like a library book that we can only keep for a while. Once we have read it must be returned to the shelf in the library where it came from.

We said our farewells nearly four months ago - we waved goodbye as she took her final journey. Today we honoured her memory as her ashes fell on the same ground that received those of my dad 11 years ago. We also acknowledged our mortality and gratefulness as we honoured the stamp of the great librarian and returned what was never ours to own or keep.

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