Piper’s Funeral

I sort of planned to get photos of this one when I heard they were decorating one of the farm trucks with greenery.  But I didn’t.  I wish you could have seen it.

I don’t know the details of how she died.  The story, though, is that they found her in a chair in the Nashoba addition, chocolate and hot cocoa at her side.  She was enjoying herself when she went.  No lengthy decline in health.  [Edit: She was 89.]  Partied her ass off at the Halloween party last week.  We’re all pretty sure she is/would be thrilled that this is the way it happened.  Knowing her.

Thursday night there was a sharing circle.  I didn’t attend.

Today we gathered at Nashoba.  Current members clustered together, and ex-members and friends were plenty.  Red made the coffin, simple pine boards I’m told, but with an accent of darker wood running lengthwise, produced hammock-stretcher style.  How Twin Oaks.  Piper was dressed in the glittery, glamorous gown she wore on Halloween.  The rest of us were mostly dressed in whatever.  It was cold outside, so some had dark coats and pants, while others wore their winter usual.  When it was time to process, volunteers lifted the coffin into the truck.  Carrol drove, and people, kids, and dogs followed along to the graveyard, shuffling through the thick dry leaves that lined the forest road.  They placed her atop her grave, and we all gathered around to share what we would.  Many spoke of her influence teaching children to read.  Others had stories about her sassiness, or about how difficult she could be sometimes, or about how she dreamed big and went after what she wanted.  Some shared poetry and music.  We cried, but mostly we laughed.  The day was gorgeous.

Hawina tucked a flower inside the coffin, and they lowered her down.  I tossed in a sprig of holly I’d pinched off on the way up, to add to the bouquet of ivy and other greenery.  Dawn threw in herbs.  Those who wanted threw in handfuls of dirt.  Others took turns with the shovels, as final gestures of kindness.  I particularly remember Mushroom, in her dress, shoveling.  She didn’t seem happy or sad, just focused.

I wandered back to the community at that point.  The ZK dining room was set up as a reception and dance space.  There was coffee, cake, fruit, chips, wine.  And hot cocoa, because we think she would have liked that.  With Sabine as DJ, we grooved in Piper’s honor.  Mid-afternoon dance party, yeah.  I had some serious fun.  To top it off, the planners made labor credits available so people could attend the funeral without worrying about hours.  Cool.

It was all so different from that dreary Hollywood stereotype with mourners with black coats and umbrellas.  So nice.  So sweet.  I think I saw a little holly planted nearby.  I heard someone’s making a headstone with an owl (her favorite) on it.  I wonder if we could plant some berry bushes too?  Heh.