Page 33 - How we Buried Our Dead
ISSUE : Issue 18
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1977/12/1
and she was only buried on the third day. And it was in August and she was as • I of? ten thought if she was dead. She was, yes, she was so pretty. She went so long, for an old person. A young person it wouldn't be so • I mean, she's young and she's like a flower, a rose, a young person, but an old person like that, she was 85, and she was so pretty, I hated to part with her. But I remember long ago • lately they didn't do this • when a person was very, very thin • it was almost frightening for some • me, now, I didn't mind, but some did • so they used to put a piece of cloth like a large hand? kerchief on their face. And whoever wanted to see them used to lift the handkerchief. And people would come to visit. Oh yes. A full house, every night. We used to stay up night and day. You wouldn't leave the body alone. Like if you were 5 or 6 in a house, 2 or 3 would go to bed one night and the other night the others. And sometimes there was always some neighbours who would come. And they would sit with the body, they would sit some in the kitchen. It was the style then. Never to leave the corpse alone. I guess it would be done now if we didn't have any funeral parlour. I guess if there would have been a funeral parlour 20 years ago they would have had to allow the people to stay all night because they would never put their dead in the funeral home if they couldn't stay with them. But now they're accustomed. In those days, all night, the people were talking. Before midnight, there was always a lot of people. So we'd set a lunch by 11 o'clock for everybody. And then whoever would stay • and some would come • and by 2 o'clock in the morning another lunch • 2 or 3, maybe 4 lunches during the night. They had to drink some tea or coffee, and plenty to eat. They'd stay all night. And they'd talk of everything. Except the family, they wouldn't talk much. After midnight maybe a dozen would stay. 7 or 8, maybe more. Oh, yes. And they would laugh too. Yes, yes, yes. I mean, some people used to like to go to a wake. In the last years there would not be singing, but before they used to sing hymns. All church hymns, through the night. Not all the time. And they would say the prayer, always used to say the prayer before midnight. If somebody is drowned and they can't find the body, they don't have a wake. But the mass is said for them, for all dead. They hold a service in the church for him the very same as if he was there. There was a woman, she was living not very far from me • not in my time but in my fa? ther-in-law's time • her husband was fishing and he used to come home, I think it was in a big boat, he used to come home every 15 days • one morning she saw him pass right by the window. So she was waiting for him to open the door and come in. She called his name and she said, "He is coming, he's home from fishing." So he wasn't coming in and he wa'sn't coming in. Well, where did he go? So they went outside. Nobody. One said some? thing to her. She said, "No, I saw him pass by the window and turning aroxind to come in the door." She wasn't telling lies. She wasn't worrying about him or anything. But, in the afternoon someone came and told her they were drowned. Things like that often happen. They say if your right ear rings, it's bad news. Left is good news. It's just like your eye, if your eye's jumping. The right eye is bad news and the left eye is good news. It's only superstition. Me, I don't believe in superstition like that. Now, C & G MadEOD LIMITED Books on Canada and Caoe Breton The Education of Everett Richardson (The Nova Scotia Fishermen's Strike 1970-71) by Silver Donald Cameron 4. The Corvette Navy by James B. Lamb 10.95 One Canada: Vol.3. "The Tumultuous Years 1962-" by Rt. Honourable John G. Diefenbaker 15-95 The Dionne Years by Pierre Berton 12.50 Prince Edward Island, photos by Barrett & Robinson 9.95 Views of Louisbourg (A Colouring Book) 1.95 and The Second Collectors' Edition of Cape Breton's Magazine 4.50 Mail Orders 361 Charlotte Street - P. O. Box 658 SYDNEY, NOVA SCOTIA CANADA A Specialty
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