Monday, February 9, 2009
Tears were shed, stories were shared, hands were held, chuckles were stifled, ashes were scattered. Thursday, February 5, 2009 at 3:30 pm in Big Bear, our immediate and extended family and friends cast Bryan David Klungreseter's dust, all that is left of my great big, cuddly brother's earthly vessel, into the wind (and snow!). That final and painful task is completed.
As if the circumstances for our gathering weren't enough for a story, we encountered quite a few setbacks to make it more to Bryan's tastes--ludicrous, incongruous, morbid, lugubrious. Big words for: kinda funny if it wasn't so sad.
We got lost, we couldn't contact the owner of the cabin, when we finally found it, the alarm sounded while we scurried to get the disarm code, it began to snow, people slipped, i brought a script but didn't stick to my plan, it snowed harder, we prayed and listened to Johnny Nash's "I Can See Clearly Now" and told a few of our favorite stories. ( I liked yours best Gary--so like Bryan to pass the buck :) and then we each shared a private moment before spreading his ashes over the mountainside. It was good. It was bad. Can something be both?
Holding his ashes in my hands and tossing them into the air wasn't as hard as I thought it would be (I had read online about how it is done--downwind is the key). The handful of dust in my palms was not really my brother. The REAL Bryan, the best part of him, his soul, lives on and I hope to meet him again when my days here are completed. I do not grieve as the world grieves because I have Hope. So that part was not as macabre and mournful as I anticipated.
But going on, being there in Big Bear, sitting around the fire, eating french toast, playing games, laughing, snacking, telling stories, playing in the snow, all WITHOUT him is what was really hard for me. I tried not to think about it too much. But then a thought would pop into my mind, or I would remember a glimpse of the past, or I would look around and notice his absence, and it hurt. I guess that is what the future will be like, just moving forward, pushing past the pain and the "firsts" of life without him here and choosing to savor the sweetness of the past and clinging to my Hope for the future.
I rejoiced for my brother, thinking about him in Heaven with my Grandma Birthday. I gave her that name (her real name was Bertha Pauline Klungreseter) when I was a little girl. My other cousins called her other loving names but Bryan and I always called her Grandma Birthday. She was the life of the party in my eyes. For our childhood birthdays, Grandma Birthday brought the cake, the best presents, her huge smile. I made the jump from Bertha to Birthday quite naturally.
Bryan celebrated his 37th birthday (yes, I made him a year older in the last post!) with Grandma Birthday and Jesus and the others in our family who have gone home to Heaven. He got the better end of the deal, celebrating his life with no more tears or pain or shame while the rest of us got wet and cold and even a bit ashy while we remembered his birth 37 years ago. I can only imagine what kind of farcical and uproarious story he would have told about the service. I could just picture him cluthcing his chest and laughing hard while we stood there in the snow. I will wait with hope to hear his loud laugh and bask in his huge grin and feel his strong arms embrace me again. Until then, I am so glad you were born, Bryan.
PS Thanks for joining us dear family, Uncle John and Aunt Barbara, David and Jenn, Mathew, Marc, and Wyatt, Pete and Beckey, Tabitha, Paige and Brittany, and friends, Gary and Carrie, Justin and Mary Beth. I am so grateful to you all for sharing in our celebration of Bryan's birth and life.
PPS I will post pictures of the service when I get them from Mary Beth or David or Beckey--hint, hint :)
Posted by Reilly Fitzpatrick at 2:53 PM