Saturday, July 2, 2016

Pamella Branton

1983 - 2016
February 9, 1983 – June 25, 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 Visitation that precedes the service is an opportunity for a final good-bye.

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.

Arta

2 comments:

  1. You are welcome for the few words. As I said, there is much more to say. Aunt Sharon was there, Joshua, Anita, and Andrea.

    At the family dinner, I sat with Michelle Nielsen and Rosamund, Grant, Lapriel (Elmoyne’s sister) and Lapriel's daughter.

    Many in the congregation were young people, Pamella’s age. Some brave women sang the song “A Child’s Prayer”, which contains emotionally charged words and is a duet between children and parents.

    Bruce Easthope did the Gospel Message talk … eclectic and peppered with stories to give hope and answers to those who wonder “why”. Those are the answers that are hard to find.

    Jennie was there helping Grant out, and she also helped out the occasional baby or toddler who needed attention. I happened to be talking to her when one little boy sitting at the table with her was yelling across the room to his mother who was busy somewhere else. Then I saw in his mouth a half chewed peppermint. I went over to him and said spit, and he did, right into my hand, since I offered it to him. Those old mothering habits are somehow ingrained in all of us.

    He was then content. He just didn’t know how to get it out of his mouth. I knew how to get the sticky whiteness off of my hand.

    I also went to get him a little drink of water. Those are the little things that remind me that those little ones are the same everywhere. Something in their mouth and they don't quite have permission to spit it out -- especially at church.

    Re the story that Pamella had wanted someone to stay with her, Ramona had done that. I think she would go at 10 pm and stay till mid morning the next day at the end. Giving Pamella chips of ice.

    Thanks for reading, Rebecca.

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