A Quarterly Journal of Contemporary English Language Haibun
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December 2006, vol 2 no 4

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Lynne Rees

Peace Box

his father's death
only music draws out
the tears

When Tony's dad died, apart from choosing our own songs for the service, we didn't think we had any option but to go along with what the crematorium offered: an officiating preacher in long robes, the 'chapel' decorated with Christian artefacts. I remember his mum, Lillian, standing in the garden of remembrance saying, 'Lynne, get me out of this place.' Neither she nor Jack had been religious, and the morbidity of the cremation service did nothing to console her.

When Lillian died twelve years later, we knew better. We ordered a bio-degradable cardboard coffin from Peace Box, and Tony painted portraits of his mum and dad at either end, and fields of flowers along each side. We were less prepared for the bullying tactics of one funeral director, and how hard we had to insist for the removal of the crosses from the room at the crematorium and that no-one in clerical dress should be present. But we were determined this would be Lil's day.

white lilies
great-grandchildren play
around her coffin