|1983 - 2016|
Kelvin and I attended the Funeral Service for Bruce and Ramona Easthope’s daughter, Pamella Branton. She is mourned by her husband, Chris and by two daughters: a sweet 10 year old who can wear long braids and a younger daughter who has that darling look of a Grade I-er who is just getting her adult teeth.
So sweet, that little family and so hard for all involved to have watched Pamella’s death unfold: a cancer bravely fought.
Kelvin and I sat toward the front of the chapel. Richard sat nearer to the back of the cultural hall. We discussed the funeral as we ate supper, both of us mentioning different parts of the service that had been meaningful to us.
Richard said that there were so many touching moments, but the one where he could no longer hold back the tears was the story of where one late night in the hospice when one of the staff was about to leave, she said to the person, “Please don’t go. I don’t want to be alone.” She may have articulated in those few words, the need all of us have for someone to be close to us when night comes on.
If there was on over-riding theme in the service to Pamella’s life, I think it was that she liked to sing. There was no apology that her favourite genre was country and western. That is not to say that she didn’t sing from her heart when she sang hymns as well as other popular music. But with the country and western music? Well, she could line dance to that as well. And find God in it. When I hear about someone who loves their music I think about the love of listening to music. But Pamela loved to sing her music which makes her a special person. Even her neighbours from her childhood did not want her to move out and into adulthood, for they would miss hearing her sing.
Her sisters, Kristy Fisk, Shanalee Carton and Kaylawn Lindsay, had prepared a biography that was filled with memories of previous childhood and teen-ager experiences they had shared. When the sisters were adults they were joined by their mother on what they called sister-trips where they travelled and shopped and enjoyed each other’s friends, a week-end away. For me, there can never be enough of these kinds of stories in the world.
Nor of the one told of her husband, taking her to this year’s Valentine’s Dance, surprising her by being dressed in a formal tux for the event and having purchased flowers for her as well.
|style! love and a big bracelet|
The clothing is carefully chosen, a metaphor about the life here-after. In Pamella’s case the accessories are indelible in my mind: an orange tiger-lily above her ear and in her hair; an amethyst crystal hanging from a chain around her neck; and a folk-bracelet, similar to the one in the picture where she has her arm around her husband. They all seemed to speak to a life well-lived.
If you knew Pamella, or would have liked to have known her, then today sing a song out loud, just break out into any song, belt it out, in honour of her joy, in fact, in honour of our combined joy of having music in the world.