Sunday, January 29, 2012


Our dear friend Marie (can't spell her Eskimo name), from the village of Gambell, passed away.These are pictures of the memorial service yesterday held at our church...the most people I have ever seen in a service here! All the ladies at the front were singing hymns in Siberian Yupik, their native language. Notice most all of them have a kuspuk on. They did some Eskimo dancing in remembrance of her. It is VERY different here when it comes to funerals. They do not embalm people (for one, there is no mortician here!).... they put the person in their favorite clothes...usually a kuspuk if it is a lady..and wrap them in a blanket...and either put their body in a casket or a wooden box or both. Since some villages have no ground to dig they just put rocks on the casket. But since it is so cold out, they don't bury people till the summer due to the frozen solid ground. So the body is either put in cold storage or put in a shed till summer time and they are able to put the body in or on top of the ground. It just blows me away how things are done in remote places like here. To me when they have the burial service in the summer all of those grieving feelings would come back all over again. They have even had an "open casket" when the person has been dead for two weeks without embalming..and the decaying process does not seem to bother people. FOR SURE being here has made me realize even more that this old body is nothing more than a vessel... a "shell". The spirit that made them "that person" is no longer there. Hard to explain. But when I saw Marie's body shortly after she died.....that sweet spirit that made her "Marie" is no longer there....only an empty shell remains. Her soul is now with the Lord! Being here has CHANGED MY PERSPECTIVE...MY WHOLE THINKING HAS CHANGED....for the better. :)

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