Saturday, November 11, 2017

Saint Martin

A wonderful man died last Wednesday night.  The father of a dear friend. 

Yesterday my husband and I went out to the wake.  I have never been to a wake.  I was a little nervous, but honoured to be invited all the same. 

When we arrived it was a glorious autumn day.  The sun was shining, the fall leaves scattered under our feet. 

As I entered the room where he lay I was struck by the beauty and serenity of his face.  The room was lit with candles, chairs had been placed around where he lay, and he was covered in a beautiful pale yellow cloth, his hands enfolded around a pale pink blossom.

His wife and I sat together, in that  room, with that wonderful man.  I swear I could see him move - as if he were still breathing and at any moment he would open his eyes and they would twinkle, and he would smile. 

At our school he would dress as Saint Nicholas, once a year, with his wife playing the part of his naughty page  Peter, and they would enter each classroom with cookies and oranges.  She would play tricks on the children and he would pronounce naughty and nice deeds from the golden book. 

He also played King Balthazar in the school's Three Kings Play - about the magi visiting the newborn baby Jesus.  King Balthazar was the older, wiser king who brought the frankencense.

To me he will always be Saint Nicholas and King Balthazar.  He was a great man.  A saint and a king. 

Later in the day some other friends joined us in the room, and one played the lyre and we sang Martinmas songs for him. 

Then his daughter brought some music she wanted her friends to learned for the funeral and we practiced our harmonies and I am certain he approved of our efforts. 

I have just returned home from his funeral.  There was some laughter, and there was music and I know he is at peace leaving us all the better for having known him. 

The next days and weeks and months and years will not be easy for his wife and children and grandchildren - but I know that these past three days were so peaceful and ensouled and those words, and songs, and companionship will carry them through the difficult days ahead. 

Rest in Peace, Dear Martin.  Rest in Peace. 


  1. I am sorry for your loss ♥ What a wonderful tribute. He sounds like a he was a wonderful man!

  2. Dear May-Anne,

    I am sorry to read of your loss. What a privilege to be able to celebrate a good man's life and to support his family in the sharing of grief.

    Your story about St Nicholas was interesting. I was unaware that Canadians have the page Peter as part of their celebrations. I hadn't heard of that outside the Dutch tradition of Sint Niklaas and Zwarte Piet.

    It sounds like the wake was beautiful and full of happy memories. So sad to lose a loved one. xx


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