Yesterday was the 1st anniversary of my husband’s death. Some of you know Bill Peruniak. He sang with the choir for a few terms, and sang as long as he could. he truly loved the choir and finding his singing voice. Even when he was not able to make it, Andy came to the house and lead sing-a-longs that were very uplifting for Bill and me.
On Bill’s behalf I want to thank the choir for the joy and pleasure it brought Bill. And I want to thank the choir for the joy, energy, support and friendship it has given me. I thank you for singing at his memorial last may. I’d like us to sing I’ll Fly Away as a tribute to Bill’s wonderful, adventurous spirit. But first, I want to read something that Bill wrote about life and death. I found this amongst his many writings after he died.
Voyageur Life and Death
Your death sentence was rendered at birth. On one side the document reads Birth Certificate; on the other side it reads Death Certificate.
Only the time, place and manner of dying appear unspecified — or perhaps they are written in invisible ink. Life is a one way ticket!
That is why it is so important to read the river of life – to always have River Eyes. Scan the waters. Read the currents. Nothing fancy. Superficial stuff. Surface stuff. Nothing too deep. Nothing very profound. Study what’s right there in front of you. Look at the obvious. Avoid the sweepers and the ledges. Simple stuff. Keep the canoe aligned with the current. Basic stuff. Stay focused on this river, on this stretch. Don’t let your mind go wandering. Don’t indulge in fantasies. Pay attention to what is already here.
Be a canoeist, not a rower. Face frontwards, not backwards. Cling to life, but not to old campsites; cling to hope, but not to magical thinking. Your destiny is to move forward, to flow. You cannot reverse the river of time. You cannot paddle up the waterfall.
Say the farewell, bid adieu, make your goodbyes — but don’t wallow. Don’t drift. The canoe awaits you. You have a departure to consummate and another journey to begin. You are born to travel. Your strength, your clarity, comes from movement. Be a mover. Be on your way. Take charge. Choreograph the moment.