Friday, May 10, 2013

The Visitation Centerpiece

My father chose cremation, so tonight, at the visitation before his funeral we arranged a centerpiece that contained elements that reminded us of him. We arranged those items on a table where a casket would have stood so that we had visual reminders of Dad for our family and those who came to greet us.

I accepted the responsibility of planning his funeral and have been guided in the process of selecting special reminders by my wise siblings, a caring funeral director, and my sweet husband, Ed.

Today Ed and I went out to the farm where my mother and dad lived for over 30 years and collected some of Dad's things. There were knitted vests, scarves, socks and a hat that my sisters and my niece had knit for Dad who was always cold. I sent him a cactus pup from Arizona and he enjoyed watching that agave grow. We put it on the table. I cut fresh tulips from the farm and arranged them in a Fostoria glass like my mother used for flowers. There was a copy of Dad's poetry book that he used. His Pastoral Record book which he kept since 1947 was there, as was a record album from the pastor's quartet that he sang in for many years.

All of these items were displayed on a cat quilt that my sister designed and made. Dad loved animals, especially cats and dogs, so the quilt, too, held meaning. As a backdrop to the collection there was a lovely portrait of the family taken in 1994 during the weekend celebration of Mom and Dad's 50th wedding anniversary.

We had lots of things to talk about as we remembered Dad tonight. The centerpiece gave us a starting point for thinking about the life of a remarkable man, my Dad.

Copyright 2013
Wanda Hayes Eichler


  1. What cherished memories of your father!! I wish I could have met him!! You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers!! Is it possible for you to put one of his quartet's songs on fb for us to hear? With love, Brenda

  2. that album looks oddly familiar!!!! Stan the man! this was a lovely idea, Wanda :)
    i did something similar when my dad passed away. I laid down a white sheet, then his red Nebraska Cornhuskers shirt on it, which was sort of like his 'body'. then laid on it all sorts of items that represented his many hobbies. Then took a still photo of it. it is so hard to feel that loss, but we know our Daddies are with our Heavenly Father now, which is our greatest comfort. praying for you all.