Tag Archives: mourning

Death Becomes Her —Proper Mourning

Death Becomes Her —Proper Mourning

Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  02 Dec 1905, Sat,  Page 15

Did you know the material most prized to show grief was lignite, also known as jet, a fossilized form of coal. Jet is deep, dark and somber. In the first phase of mourning, jet jewelry was the only ornamentation women were allowed to wear.

The middle classes in particular, wishing to follow and accept the higher canons of decency of the upper classes, thus they emulated every example she set.  They liked to use black edged stationery, envelopes, notepaper and visiting cards.


s-l1600 (22).jpg

Prayer books and bibles had to be bound in Black morocco leather and handkerchiefs edged in black. The list was endless, but all touches were intended to convey to the onlooker through a series of signs and symbols visual messages that the deepest feelings of sadness were felt at the loss. They tied little black or purple ribbons around dressing table bottles and added similar purple or black ribbons even to the clothing of infants.


Related image


While women were only supposed to wear jet for the first stage, during the second stage of mourning one could wear a piece of jewellery if it contained, or was made of, hair. That would be human hair. That would be human hair taken from the deceased love one. Brooches, bracelets, rings, chains and buckles were all made of hair; sometimes there was just a bit enclosed in a hollow band or brooch, other times, the hair was crafted into a piece of its own.


Image result for hair mourning jewellry



Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  26 Jan 1901, Sat,  Page 1

A widow was to wear a bonnet of heavy crepe and a veil to cover the face for the first three months. At the end of three months the veil was to be worn from the back of the bonnet for another nine months. Altogether, restrictive mourning dress, known as widow’s weeds, was to be worn for a minimum of two years, although many widows chose to shun colour forever. The duration of wearing these clothes depended on how well the wearer knew the recently departed. A new widow would be expected to mourn her husband (and wear the full attire) for two years, unless the woman was deemed old, in which case she was expected to mourn until her own passing.



The Ottawa Journal Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Wed, Sep 27, 1916 – Page 10


Everybody else was presumed to be easier to lose. Mourning a parent would be expected to take one year, whereas grandparents and siblings would be mourned for six months.With such low-age life expectancy and large families, Victorians were in mourning more often than not throughout their lives. Holding on to your mourning wear was considered bad luck and would bring untimely death to the family, so most would discard their outfits after wearing them.

This meant that once another family member died, more clothing would need to be made and paid for. This often gave the dressmakers – ironically – customers for life.In 1865 Henry Mayhew the social historian remarked that  “Women had to put aside all their ordinary clothes and wear nothing but black, in the appropriate materials and with particular accessories, for the first stages of mourning”. The fashion for heavy mourning was drastically reduced during the Edwardian era and even more so after the Great War.  So many individuals died that just about everyone was in mourning for someone.  By 1918 a whole new attitude had developed and this was hastened even further by the Second World War.



Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  03 Apr 1915, Sat,  Page 15


Once a member of the house died, all of the mirrors in the house were to be covered. If a mirror in the house fell and broke, it was thought that someone in the home would die soon. When someone died in the house, the clock was to be stopped at the hour of death or bad luck would ensue. When a body was removed from the house, it had to be taken head-first so that it could not beckon others to follow.



Drawing of a design for a 'safety coffin'

Not really a mourning tradition, but a good sign of the times: Coffin alarms. The fear of being buried alive was so severe that a device known as a coffin alarm was invented. The contraption was simply a bell attached to the headstone with a chain that connected to a ring placed on the finger of the corpse. (Gives the term “dead ringer” a whole new meaning.) There were outbreaks of many diseases at the time that would leave the body in a comatose state. It could take nothing more than a careless physician or an underlying disease to pronounce the sufferer as deceased, and for the funeral preparations to begin almost instantly.


Clipped from Manitoba Free Press,  02 Jun 1915, Wed,  Page 9



Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun andScreamin’ Mamas (USA)

Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read. Also check out The Tales of Carleton Place.




The Ashton Funeral to end all Funerals

What was one of the Largest Funerals in Lanark County?

Ed Fleming — The First Funeral Parlour in Carleton Place

The Funeral Train That Went Through Carleton Place — Our Haunted Heritage

Old Wives Tales of Death — Our Haunted Heritage

Funerals With Dignity in Carleton Place – Just a Surrey with a Fringe on Top —- Our Haunted Heritage

Death by Corset? Bring Out Your Dead and Other Notions! Our Haunted Heritage

Things You Just Don’t say at a Funeral— Even if you Are a Professional Mourner






unnamed (1)

Is Heaven Like Living in Church?



Partially written in 2016– finished it today January 7, 2017

Last night the dog was acting funny. He kept going into my late husband’s bedroom any chance he could get. I blamed it on his old age and noted to self both of us act funny each day and to pay no mind.

During the night in what felt like a dream I walked into his bedroom and saw him laying under the covers in bed. I screamed his name and hugged him hard. We had a brief conversation and I asked him what the “after life” was like. He told me quite matter of factually that it was like living in church-whatever that means. Since he never went to church I thought his answer was quite amusing. The next question on my mind was if he had seen his two sweet granddaughters, and the biggest smile appeared on his face. He laughed and said:


Tenley and Sophia 

“Lin, can you believe they are both girls?”

One only has to know there has not been one single female member on my late husband’s side of the family for a 100 years to know what he meant in this statement. I laughed and went to hug him but he was gone. Immediately I woke up and the dog was standing next to the bed looking at me intently. I patted him and we both went back to sleep. Had we both had the same dream? Had we both seen him?

They say after death communication is common after the loss of a loved one.  But why?  What exactly is it that our loved ones want us to know?  Is it just like a long-lost friend who calls up out of the blue just to say Hi?  Maybe they miss you, or are curious about what we’ve been up to. Maybe, the departed just want to send a sign to say,

 “Hi there, I’m still with you, and I love you!”


Shelley Boomhower Slater from People From The Eastern Townships in QuebecMy Dad made a frustrated entrance into my room shortly after his death. Each night I would question him on Whether there was a God. Being a teenager I was persisting to hear an answer when I felt this force like a tornado enter my bedroom and his voice loudly proclaiming “There is a God”!! This ended my doubting….although I did ask for a sign one night and to my horror the entire town went black for a few seconds. We often hear his song “I did it my way” playing in the most unlikely places. One night it woke me up and was playing on the computer in the middle of the night. My son was downloading a technical program!! He could not explain it. I believe like a radio wave to be heard, you need both the transmitter and the receiver so if you are open then you may connect with your loved ones.


Chantal Boulé from the People From The Eastern Townships in QuebecThank you…this happened to one of my biological sister 2 nights ago…
I’m adopted and found my bio family over 20 years ago..our mom passed 2 years ago…

Donald Badger- I have had no experience myself. My grandmother Fleming during WW1 was awaken by tapping on her bedroom window in 1917. She look and there was her brother,who was fighting in France. He waved to her and was gone. He died of leg wounds Aug of 1917. THEN there was my niece’s little girl in a bouncy castle and they strong wind blew the castle across the park , over a fence and stopped by a house. Weeks later playing with her mother told her to stop huging her. Asking why she told her mother, that is what the man did. Her mother what man? She said the man that pulled her back into the castle. She was alone in the castle and she point to a picture and said grandpa Kitty, her great grandfather. She was a very small baby and would not have remembered him. Never believed but how can one discount what happened.


An After-Death Communication, or ADC, is a spiritual experience that occurs when someone is contacted directly and spontaneously by a family member or friend who has died. An ADC is a direct experience because no psychics, mediums, therapists, rituals, or devices are involved. And an ADC is a spontaneous event because our deceased loved ones always choose when, where, and how they will contact us.
These are much more vivid, intense, colourful, and real than ordinary dreams. They are extremely common. Both one-way and two-way communications are typical. You usually feel your loved one is with you in person and that you’re having an actual visit together. These may happen in a familiar place or one that is foreign to you. Sleep-State ADCs are not jumbled, filled with symbols, or fragmented the way dreams usually are. There are endless possibilities of what may occur during this type of contact. These are also called “visitation dreams.”

Related Reading

The Spirits Are Alive and Well

The Ghost Lovers of Springside Hall – A True Love Story

Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read.

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in Hometown News and now in The Townships Sun

Things You Just Don’t say at a Funeral— Even if you Are a Professional Mourner



Professional mourners have played a part in funeral ceremonies for thousands of years. In many countries, tradition dictates that the family of the dead, especially children and grandchildren, must express their grief in a very outward manner. Not crying enough or at sufficient decibel levels would be seen as a lack of filial piety so people started hiring professional mourners to ensure a noisy and very passionate farewell.

Victorian times, professional mourners called mutes were hired and walked behind the hearse. They wore black and deployed a suitably miserable expression despite the fact that they had never even met the deceased or the family. In those days funerals were very elaborate affairs and there was a very strict etiquette in place that gave rules for everything from the colors of mourning dress to mourning timelines that had to be observed. Victorian mourning practices spread throughout Europe and professional mourners began to band together, even going on strike for higher wages. As motorized hearses were introduced into the funeral procession, professional mourners began to be phased out of the ceremony.


While professional mourners have gone out of style in western countries, professional rejoicers might be a suitable replacement to think about for the future. Paying someone to initiate a hearty chuckle at a viewing would be well worth the money because laughter is much more encouraging than tears and helps just as much in the grieving process.


Sometimes you just have to laugh to help get you through it ..

1-An elderly friend was cremated and I went to the services to pay my respects. As I inched my way up to the wooden box that held the departed ashes I heard an elderly man say as he glanced at the wooden box.
“You know looking at her now she was a lot smaller than I remembered”.

2-I don’t want anyone asking at my funeral where the fire extinguisher is. I’ve often asked to be buried with one to fight off the hell fires.

3-“He died doing what he loved to do” said one minster of the the deceased who died of a drug overdose. My jaw dropped to the floor.

4-“Why is Grampy in a box?” I once asked. Someone said,“We are packing him up and mailing him to heaven. This is his good bye party”.

5-I went to a funeral for a coworker a couple of years back. As the service progressed the minister said we would hear a song, I swear “I found my Thrill on Blueberry Hill” began to play. I had to bend over to get myself under control. The final hymn was Elvis singing: “I’ll have a Blue Christmas Without You.” On that note I had to get up and leave I was giggling so hard.

Our Haunted Heritage Event Page- but tickets soon! October 15th

St James Cemtery Ghost Walk Event Page- October 28th


Outside Looking in at The Eccentric Family of Henry Stafford — Our Haunted Heritage

The Funeral Train That Went Through Carleton Place — Our Haunted Heritage

Stairway to Heaven in a Cemetery? Our Haunted Heritage

Old Wives Tales of Death — Our Haunted Heritage

Funerals With Dignity in Carleton Place – Just a Surrey with a Fringe on Top —- Our Haunted Heritage

Death by Corset? Bring Out Your Dead and Other Notions! Our Haunted Heritage