Saturday, 18 December 2010

A Rite of Passage ...

DAY 38

One year ago today, my Dad was cremated.

Preparing for the funeral was ritualistic - I ironed my clothes, steamed my face, and slowly and carefully removed the stubble. I remembered how Dad taught me how to hold a razor, as I took my first awkward steps to becoming a man.

Lastly, I placed his gold wedding ring on my finger and stared deeply at my reflection in the mirror .

'I am my Fathers Son'

There was something  deeply moving about carrying Dads body into the church. This was a rite of passage - gently cradling the wise one  in the same way he supported and cradled me as a child .

When it was my turn to speak at the service of Thanksgiving for the life of  Jim Atkinson,  I took a deep breath and prayed for guidance.  Then, I looked up at the people, and witnessed family and friends, who had travelled in the snow to pay their last respects to this gentle-man. My heart melted like a snowflake

I shared the story of a man who believed he was robbed of a childhood - cast aside by his Father  like a tatty old sweater. A young boy who took solace  in reading books on DIY and astrology. I mentioned his adventurous spirit - cycling, walking, family camping holidays, and the epic bike ride on Salter Fell. I talked freely about the profound healing that took place between us - a fiery love,  that cleared  the way for us to become friends.

The journey to Dads final resting place was exquisite - a journey through a winter wonderland, to a place called home.

This morning during meditation, I  read the following quotation, visualized the image and offered my blessings ...

The Image

' A ship sails and I stand watching until she fades on the horizon and someone at my side says , 'She is gone.' Gone where? Gone from my side , that is all; she is just as large as when I saw her. The diminished size, and total loss of sight , are in me, not in her. And just at the moment when someone at my side says .'She is gone,' there are others who are watching her coming , and the other voices take up the glad shout.'There she comes!' And that is dying.' - Victor Hugo- Toilers of the Sea.

The Blessing

The death of a loved one is a time to offer him or her blessings for their journey, and an invocation of joy as they sail  over our horizon toward the beyond. By holding on , we subtly hold back: so let go. Offer your joyful blessing and imagine it attended by the affirming cry of  seabirds and the soothing rhythm of the waves.'

New Adventures ...


  1. Intimate and powerful offering. I am touched by so much of it, and I especially like this part of that poem:

    "And just at the moment when someone at my side says .'She is gone,' there are others who are watching her coming , and the other voices take up the glad shout.'There she comes!' And that is dying."

  2. When you spoke at Jim's funeral, the room stilled, all hearts becoming one. You spoke about Jim the man who believed he'd been robbed of a childhood, and I breathed in a huge sigh, eyes and heart wide open at the depth of your honesty. The room heard you, Nige, heard you speak about the vulnerability, the tenderness of his wound.

    When you spoke about carrying your bikes on your backs as you rode Salter Fell, I sensed chuckles and delight at the image of father and son taking an epic journey side by side.

    What you did that day was truly honouring, not only of your dad but also of all fathers. It was such a beautiful gift that you gave to the room, to every son in there, to every father, and indeed to every woman, every daughter.

    Thank you Nige for simply being you. Who you are is enough. Who you are blesses the world, honours your dad, and is an *absolute* blessing in my life.


  3. This post is so beautiful, Nige. You are carving out a beautiful path for dealing with loss. I find what you are sharing so centered in the heart and with so much light. You are including so many powerful images and experiences of you and your father, as to get to know both of you from the inside out. Thank you for sharing this journey.

    Elloa, I was so touched by your comment. You are truly a gift. Having your comments is like an angle seconding the beauty Nige is creating, and vice versa.

  4. This is so deeply touching, Nige. You, my friend, are one beautiful soul.

    With Love,