Unfettered

She wants a green funeral
laid to rest at the roots
of her Christian upbringing
where monks roam
the Monastery of the Holy Spirit
and peace has inherited these acres.

A plain pine box will
encase her remains and
simply, shallowly placed
beneath the oaks, where
their leaves have quietly
drifted and come to rest.

Her spirit will be set
free as it lifts from her
form effortlessly, casting
off the shell that no longer
is of use. Once more her
essence will be unbound
by earthly attachments
and joy and wholeness
will be hers.

Unfettered she merges with
her God Source and the
love that surrounds her
permeates her soul.
Any pain or discomfort
is no more. She is in a state
of endless, divine worship.
All is Good and we will
rejoice in her freedom
while at the same time
mourning the loss of our
Dearly Beloved Sister.

I wrote this after speaking with the sister of my childhood friend, Patsy, and learning that her time with us was very limited.  She passed away on April 15, 2017 after living seven years with cancer.  Before their mother passed away, the three of them would visit this beautiful monastery in Conyers, GA and enjoy the peaceful grounds.  They offer “green” burials and Patsy decided that she wanted to be laid to rest on the acreage that is set aside for this purpose.  You can read about the monastery here.

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82 Comments

  1. Gayle, I’m very sorry for your loss. Your poem is beautiful and inspiring.

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  2. Love this. Triumphant over death

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  3. How beautiful to have a green funeral in a monastery. I’m so sorry for the loss of your friend but I’m sure her unfettered soul roams free in such wonderful surroundings,

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  4. So sorry for your loss…as you say so well…rejoice in her freedom while mourning her loss…

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  5. You speak of death beautifully here, as believers are wont to do: detached from their bodies and meditating on the eternal union of God and their souls. Still, I know how their earthly presence can be missed and how it can hurt the heart.

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    • Thank you. I think that maybe I do have a different view of death than most but you’re so right though, their presence is missed and we grieve just the same.

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  6. So sorry for your loss Gayle and I do love the idea of ‘green’ burials – a close friend had her son buried in this way and a tree now grows there in his memory in a very peaceful place.

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  7. Glenn Buttkus

     /  June 1, 2017

    Green funerals do sound joyful–part Zen, part ecology. What I appreciate the most about your poem s the positive spin, the celebration of transition. Death too closely to many of us today, and it is good to approach it clear-eyed.

    Liked by 1 person

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    • I like that, Glenn…part Zen, part ecology. How can we not celebrate something that allows us to leave our suffering behind? Although, granted, a lot of people view death as a finality and you’re done. Death is certainly closer by as we age and we see friends and family make their transitions.

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  8. Sorry for your loss Gayle ~ This is a beautiful tribute of love and freedom of casting away that shell and rejoicing in that endless and divine worship ~ Thanks for hosting ~

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  9. Such a loving and beautiful tribute, Gayle. It reminded me of Kathryn Wyndham, an American storyteller, who had her carpenter neighbor fashion a pine coffin for her, and left instructions that, upon her demise, she was to be wrapped in a favorite quilt, placed in the pine coffin in the back of her neighbor’s pick-up truck, and taken to the little rural church cemetery where her ancestors were buried. Kathryn passed a couple of years ago and her wishes were honored. Thank you for sharing your story.

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    • I’m glad you liked my homage to my friend, Beverly. I love Kathryn’s story too, thanks for sharing that. My friend had someone make her pine box too. I really like this more simple and less expensive way of burial.

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  10. The thought of a green funeral sounds almost like giving a gift to the earth… so sorry for your loss… but the monastery sounds like a solace.

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    • It does doesn’t it, Bjorn? I’m happy that my friend is at peace now and certainly her final resting place brought her that.

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  11. Sorry about your loss, Gayle. May you take heart from your last stanza and be glad of the hope above.

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  12. Love to you and sorry for your loss. I like the sentiments and how our cultures and ubringings still hold us even when we have freed our spirits.

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  13. I love “laid to rest at the roots of her Christian upbringing.” It is wonderful that she got the green burial she wanted, but I’m so sorry for your loss.

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    • Thanks for your kind compliment. I’m glad she got what she wanted too…she could be a headstrong woman!

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  14. So very sorry for your loss, Gayle. Your poem is a beautiful, touching and meaningful tribute to your dear friend and the cycle of life. Your sentiments on death are so gently and eloquently expressed. I felt the peace and release fill my soul.

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    • Oh, thank you very much…so kind of you. I’m glad you felt what I was trying to convey. Perhaps death isn’t to be as feared as we have been led to believe.

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  15. sanaarizvi

     /  June 1, 2017

    I am so sorry for your loss, Gayle.. this is a touching tribute.

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  16. So much love in this, Gayle. A beautiful, heartfelt tribute.

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  17. O

     /  June 1, 2017

    I especially like the opening.

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  18. Your poetic tribute takes the fear out of death, the end of all human suffering and the beginning of eternal peace. Heartfelt condolences.

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    • That’s my belief these days. That death is not to be feared. It’s the beginning of a new chapter…so to speak. Thank you, Alwi.

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  19. “…peace has inherited these acres…”. Beautiful!

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  20. A moving and meaningful poem. Losing a friend and a long struggle with cancer are not easy.

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  21. This was like balm.

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  22. I’m so sorry about her! But it sounds so peaceful, green burial, I hope she rests in peace and surrounded by love like you said. The poem was a fitting tribute to her, it calms my mind.

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    • Yes, it’s sad that anyone has to go through such a disease. She was happy with her burial choice and I feel her soul is at rest. I’m especially happy to hear that your mind was calmed by my poem, Jeren.

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  23. Serene…she is free…and the green funeral sounds so heavenly! Beautiful poem!

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  24. So sorry to hear about the loss of your friend – this is a very gentle, soothing, beautiful hymn to her (and, to be honest, the kind of funeral I would wish for myself)

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    • Thank you, Marina. I would like the same when it’s my time to go…just lay me gently to rest somewhere.

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  25. Oh, such a lovely piece, delicately judged.

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  26. Gayle, what a beautiful tribute you’ve written here. I especially loved the last stanza. I did click on the link and explored the site. What a beautiful place and what a beautiful choice she made.

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    • Thanks very much, Lillian. I explored the site when my friend told me about it and what her sister wanted. I had heard of green burials many years prior and they make perfect sense to me.

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  27. Beautiful thoughts on a subject that can be so very hard to express

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  28. scotthastiepoet

     /  June 2, 2017

    So sorry, unexpected visitors last night have made me rather late in responding to your piece -but this is truly a beautiful evocation of the spirit of your friend Gayle

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  29. This is filled with wonder and serenity. Lovely.

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  30. Gayle,As usual, I love this poem, it is certainly one of love. You haven’t invited editing but—– and please feel free to stop reading here!After so much discussion about editing lately, I see some things you might want to change. In verse 2, you might take out “just”, in verse 3 you might take out “but”. In verse 4 you changed tense from  her now to a future, post death. “She will live with love surrounding–, pain and —will be no more–, she will be in a state of—, all will be good.” Perhaps an overuse of the word “will” but it does make a strong emphasis of a positive event which I like very much.  It emphasizes faith and hope for a better existence. Get back to me on this.Barbara

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    • Hi Barbara, I welcome your comments! I totally agree with you about editing those words out…they aren’t necessary. I know I do have a problem with tenses but sometimes I think it works with what you’re writing…will ponder this some more. Yes, there are many “wills” in there…what to use as substitute? Thank you…you were a big help!

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      • P.S. Barbara…also, I put italics in that last stanza to show that it was in a different tense (present). I see so many “rules” broken that I think rules are to be broken but good editing is always a good thing…thank you, again!

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  31. My sympathy to you, Gayle. This peaceful, restful poem pays respect.

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  32. Ω

     /  June 2, 2017

    “She wants a green funeral
    laid to rest at the roots”

    I just love that!

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  33. Sorry for you loss. You’ve penned a lovely tribute.

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  34. Certainly speaks of great courage for someone to be mentally prepared to face the AlMighty. Speaks of great support by her loved ones to make things easier! Very moving episode, Gayle!

    Hank

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    • Yes, I agree, great courage, Hank. She had much support and love from her family and friends and exhibited grace during a very difficult last few years. Thank you for your kind words.

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  35. The lack of punctuation at the end of lines gives this poem a very free feeling. I like it!

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  36. How many times in my life have I wished to be so free and now your poem has made me realize that kind of freedom is only found in death and letting go completely. Sorry to hear about your friend.

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  37. A wonderful write about your friend. Sorry to hear of your loss. Hope you are doing well.

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  1. Underground – Mother Wintermoon

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