A lovely memorial service for Will was held on Saturday, May 5, 2012 at the Mt. Toby Meeting of Friends, 194 Long Plain Road (Route 63), Leverett, MA.
We had a modified Quaker style service where we started with silent meditation, allowed others to speak if they choose, then had a few planned readings and music.
A Daughter’s Words for her Father, by Virginia Louise Weeks
I’d like to start by quoting an anonymous writer on a website called “Hello Grief:”
- “Grieving isn’t about forgetting. It’s about dividing up one’s feelings.
- Portions to mourn and release and portions to re-claim and build again.
- It is architecture and construction – creative, tedious and unpredictable.”
How fortunate for me that my life partner, Kyle, is an Architect who understands this process of construction, reclaiming and building again.
When a parent dies, it can feel like a part of your past is gone forever and you are left with just the memories. In some ways I lost my dad years ago due to his declining health, limited mobility and inability to visit with us. You don’t realize, until your parent is gone, how much comfort they gave you just by “being” there – just by being a phone call away.
The dad I grew up with was my super hero. A man who could wake up before dawn, make a hardy breakfast, tie some flies, go fishing, shoot some geese, scout some deer, chop down a few trees, build a pond, stock it with fish, build a raft, plant a garden, water the garden, take care of his patients, cook a gourmet dinner, play a game of hearts (shooting the moon, of course) and gather the family for a slide show of his photos - all of this before drawing himself a relaxing hot bath at the end of ONE VERY LONG DAY.
My grief is an on-going journey. I have come to the conclusion that although death ended my dad’s life, it did not end our relationship. After all, I carry his DNA and he very much shaped who I am today. My dad will always be with me in all that I do.
At an early age, he taught me the love of dogs, the beauty of nature and the joy of the outdoors, finding a good swimming hole, building huge bon fires, toasting perfect s’mores, camping, sharing stories, how to stump others in charades, how to ski, and so much more. He gave me an adventuresome streak that propelled me to explore the world, lose my front tooth white water rafting and go sky-diving - not once, but twice - and I’m not done yet. He also taught me to be creative, enjoy theatre and the arts, challenge myself, think of others before myself, the importance of a good education, building strong relationships and keeping a strong work ethic. Bottom line - he believed in me - he invested in me and my future.
Dad, I will always remember you as an intelligent teacher, a creative inventor, social director, caring doctor, a strong, vibrant, driven, energetic, and complex man who desperately wanted to be liked and loved. You will always be my father and I will always be your “little girl.” I will never again underestimate the power of holding your hand, no matter how old I was. I'm so glad that I got to hold your hand before you left us. I continue to hold you close, love you and miss you Dad.
Spoken by Daniel E. Weeks
Hi, I'm Dan Weeks, Will's only son, and I would like to thank you, family and friends, for coming here to comfort one another in our loss and to remember my father and to celebrate his life and what he has given each of us.
First, I'd like to read a brief poem I wrote in April 1988 about my Dad:
In a cloud of steam
bare backed over the sink
you filter melted fruit
handpicked wild cherries
grown in sun and wind
Now mashed, mixed, boiled
become poignant jelly
the proud creation
of my father
Dad, we did indeed deeply love you and we are grateful for all that you gave us.
Thank you, Dad, for telling us Super Dan and Super Gin stories in which we had the strength and power to keep ourselves safe from all perils.
Thank you, Dad, for providing for us in our youth, for creating that special cabin in the woods so fun that we named it 'Funland'.
Thank you, Dad, for teaching us to ski, down-hill and cross-country, and toboggan, and for giving us a love of the woods and outdoors.
Thank you, Dad, for teaching us to sail and canoe and skate and fish and hunt.
Thank you, Dad, for filling our home with loving Labrador retrievers.
Thank you, Dad, for teaching me the fine art of fly fishing, how to get the line arching gracefully overhead.
Thank you, Dad, for teaching me to play chess and Hearts and Ghost and charades (couldn't you have let me win at least once?!).
Thank you, Dad, for making us home-made maple syrup over snow.
Thank you, Dad, for bringing us together for incredible Thanksgiving dinners, with all of the food harvested by you.
Thank you, Dad, for being the driving force that got us out the door, actively doing things outdoors, no matter how dire the weather.
Thank you, Dad, for teaching us to how to use a light meter and to love photography.
Thank you, Dad, for the amazing hunting breakfasts you'd make with wonderful hash browns.
Thank you, Dad, for lifting us high to ride on your shoulders, where we could reach the sky while being held safely and proudly by you.
O God of grace and glory, we remember before you this day our brother Will. We thank you for giving him to us, his family and friends, to know and to love as a companion on our earthly pilgrimage. In your boundless compassion, console us who mourn.
Give rest, O Christ, to thy servant with thy saints, where sorrow and pain are no more, neither sighing, but life everlasting.
Thou only art immortal, the creator and maker of mankind; and we are mortal, formed of the earth, and unto earth shall we return. For so thou didst ordain when thou createdst me, saying, “Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” All we go down to the dust; yet even at the grave we make our song: Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
Into thy hands, O merciful Savior, we commend thy servant Will. Acknowledge, we humbly beseech thee, a sheep of thine own fold, a lamb of thine own flock, a sinner of thine own redeeming. Receive him into the arms of thy mercy, into the blessed rest of everlasting peace, and into the glorious company of the saints in light. Amen.
Rest eternal grant to him, O Lord: And let light perpetual shine upon him.
May his soul, and the souls of all the departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.
Forget me not seed packet
At the reception, seed packets containing forget me not seeds were handed out in a packet with the following poem:
Plant these seeds in
loving memory of
Willard T. Weeks
There's a very special garden
Where the trees of memory grow
Nurtured by the kindness
And concern that good friends show.
The roots are cherished memories
Of good times in the past
The branches tender promises
That souls endure and last.
It's a place of peace and beauty
Where bright new hopes can start
It's memory's lovely garden
That soothes the hurting heart.