Hawina’s memories of Pipers passing and funeral
Here are three of my favorite moments in Piper’s passing and our funeral/memorial service:
-I got to see Piper’s body when she came back onto the farm and was already lying in her coffin. She was wearing her purple glittery party dress, which she last had on at the Halloween party, when we danced together. She looked very peaceful, her face had a slight smile, she seemed both very much like herself and very different at the same time. The body really does not look the same when the spirit/soul is no longer in it.
Then I noticed that Piper still had her hearing aids in. Back in the late spring when I first got involved in conversations with Piper and others about her maybe dying soon, I was told that her hearing aids had been very expensive and were meant to be re-fitted and used again by other members after her. So I knew I shouldn’t let them go into the grave with her. It felt a little scary to be touching her ears and trying to pull them out, she was so cold from having been kept on ice at the funeral home for 2 days. The hearing aids didn’t give or budge at all when I gave them a light tug, and I worried about how frozen or stiff Piper might be on the inside.
But I had known Piper for many years as a frugal and thrifty person, who was always saving coupons to get good deals, and I was convinced that she would want these hearing aids to not go to waste. So I spoke to her and said: ”Can you help me out here, Piper?”. After that, they both slid out easily and comfortably with just the slightest pull. With this feat accomplished, I slipped some pennies into her sleeve, so she’d be able to pay the ferryman. And ex-member HLH (who worked with Piper on Reading Windows for many years) put a Flashcard with Reading Words into her hand.
-I got to share my story about Piper’s plans for after her death when we were all gathered around the grave-site. Back in the late spring she and I were speaking about what happens after you die.
Piper said: “I’ve always thought that when there is no proof or evidence telling you what the truth is, you are free to believe whatever you like. Don’t you think so? So I choose to believe in reincarnation. Being born again sounds good to me, I have more things I want to do here but this body is too old and failing me. I’m ready to come back in a different body and do more things. I think that for my next life I would like to come back as a black child. I would like to be someone who takes on racism, and accomplishes a lot in breaking the stereotypes and false beliefs that so many people hold about race. I’d like to really make a difference there. So I plan to come back as a little black child.”
I look forward to that, Piper. Goddess knows we can use someone with your persistence and determination tackling that important issue. And I hope I get to be around again and have some of my work overlap with yours.
-After having come down the hill from the graveyard, I went to the memorial dance at ZK. It felt good to be celebrating Piper’s life by dancing in her honor. I had loved Donné’s story about how Piper helped her get her dancing shoes back. Donné, mother of one of our members, was newly guesting at Twin Oaks 6 years or so ago and feeling a little awkward sitting at the side during a dance, yet feeling hesitant to join in. When she saw Piper walking in she thought: “O, great, an older person, who will sit with me”. Yeah, right….
But my favorite part of the dance at ZK was the large pot of hot cocoa standing off to the side. One of the very last things Piper let herself enjoy on this earth and here it was, in huge abundance made available to us all. Thank you, party prep people, for this sweet and meaningful detail!