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Other Rites: Home Farewell
Home Farewell ...  a sample ceremony
Back garden   

We have gathered here today to say our farewells to the family home.  We come with sorrow and grief in our hearts. We have come to acknowledge the void that the hub, the centre, the heart of this family has come to an end of an era.

We acknowledge that your lives will never be quite the same again without this centre but we can part from this home with love and thanksgiving for all the good memories it has left us. Loving memories that can encourage, support, sustain and comfort us in the days ahead.

Saying good‑bye through ritual can affirm relationships on a heartfelt level by honouring the people who have meant the most to you. It can create room to release the emotions that may be take time to adjust, grieve, and let go. The rite helps to integrate changes with more ease. It gives you an opportunity to release and mitigate some of the stress, mourning the past and embracing the future.

Look at the land around this home. Not just the garden but its surroundings. Share now with us a memory, a story that will set the context of this home.

With an imaginary spiral, circle into the house from outside.

Starting with the front door we are going to go from room to room and let you tell a story about something you remember from each place.

We shall light a candle as we enter and on
the tender, love filled moments,
the times we have shared eating meals,
doing homework,
watching television
the hard times,
times making up and playing, fun times
pretend times, real times, hurting times
peaceful times, comforting times
a quiet corner in which to read
the garden in which to imagine
bedrooms in which to dream
living room in which to eat and grow
bathroom in which to become whole and clean
a home full of laughter, music and joy.

And as you leave you will take with you your love and the millions of memories of all that we have shared.

Fear not nor grieve at our departure, you whom have loved this place so much, for our roots and yours are forever intertwined. 

[adapted from Edward Hays]

Multi-Coloured Balloons

In the garden the balloons will be attached to the trees tie on messages then release them whilst the music plays:

Balloon release

to the song Fly sung by Celine Dion

leaving place a flower on the windowsill.

Use the silences to say your own prayers of thanksgiving for each room.

In each room a candle is lit:

We live in many darknesses. We are often uncertain. We are sometimes afraid. In the darkness, we light a candle of hope.

A candle is lit

We all have sorrows. We have known pain. Each of us carries special regrets. In our pain we light a candle of forgiveness.

A candle is lit

We are sometimes lonely and the world seems cold and hard.
In our loneliness, we light a candle of warmth.

A candle is lit

As a family we had good days and bad days, but we have learnt to love each other through these times. We light a candle of love.

A candle is lit

We have our joys, our times of happiness. Each of us receives gifts material and spiritual. We light a candle of thanks.

A candle is lit

We have known fun and anger, laughter and tears, but most of all love. In our wonder we light a candle of praise to the enduring spirit of love.

A candle is lit

We bring together many uncertainties, many sorrows, many joys, much wonder. We bring together many candles, many lights. May the separate lights burning in each room become one flame, that together we may be nourished by the glow of our memories.

By the back door:

And so it is that this home will never entirely leave you because the memories within it form the very fabric of your own lives which from time to time you will notice in your own actions and words which in turn you too will pass onto your children and they in turn to theirs. As in these words:

Generation to Generation
In a house which becomes a home,
one hands down and another takes up
the heritage of mind and heart,
laughter and tears, musings and deeds.
Love, like a carefully loaded ship,
Crosses the gulf between the generations.
Therefore, we do not neglect the ceremonies of our passage:
When we wed, when we die,
And when we are blessed with a child;
When we depart and when we return;
When we plant and when we harvest.

Let us pass onto our own children and our children’s children.
for it is not the place of some official to hand them their heritage.
If others impart to our children our knowledge and ideals
they will lose all of us that is wordless and full of wonder.
Let us build memories in our children,
lest they allow the treasures to be lost
and it is us who must give them the keys
For we hold them in our hearts.
We live, not by things, but by the meanings of things.
heart,  laughter and tears, musings and deeds.
so let us pass on those things of love 
from generation to generation. 

(adapted from Antoine de St. Exupery)

It is our love, freely given and freely received, which is the most real and the most beautiful of all the realities we know. It is the richest gift we have. It is our most treasured legacy; it will not rust, decay or devalue. Whatever the length of time may be to have known of this love here in this home, through these people, is to have experienced something that can never be taken from you. For this home was a haven for the physical and emotional nourishment of family, extended family and friends.

The very fibre of this home is woven like golden threads into the tapestry of your own lives and together your memories form many happy pictures taken from many different angles.

And if this family home, full of the spirits of all those who have lived and had their being in this place, could speak to us perhaps they would say:

We leave our thoughts, our ways, our cares
to you whom we have treasured
beyond gold and precious gems
We give you what no thief can steal,
the memories of our times together.
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Croning and Crowning
Healing Hurts
Unresolved Grief
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