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Laying to rest love, memories in Candle Lake

My family will hold forever the spirit of this place
Candle Lake goodbye
Mom's initials laid out in the sand in front of where we released ashes in the water.

Before I start this off, Dear Reader, I have to say that I wrestled with myself over whether or not to shed public light on it and bring it to your attention.  After all, there is a line that can be crossed at times and there is such a thing as sharing too much private information, especially in this crazy world we're living in right now.  But I've decided to bring this to you for two reasons.

For one, I've always prided myself on being something of an open book with our readers as it can sometimes bring the best out of me from a writing standpoint, and that attribute is something that readers have pointed out to me time and time again.  Secondly, the groundbreaking amount of love, strength and support that so, so many of you have given my family in the time since my mom Lynda passed away has not gone unnoticed.  It may have been a visit, it may have been a food dish, it may have been a card, or it may simply have been a kind word shared here and there.  It all has meant so much to my family and I, and it's a reminder that this woman made such an indelible impact on generations of people through the years.

With that said, please allow me to share this with you.  Cheers.

My brothers and I did something that turned out to be pretty darn special during the first Saturday of this month.  In the time leading up to it, I had no idea how things would turn out and how things might look or come off because I know that we all build things up in our minds, but in the end, I have to say that it all turned out to be right on the money.

Brendon and I hit the showers and got dressed before it was time to leave, but not before I went over to the piano and took hold of the tiny purple glass vase containing some of Mom's remains.  This was a day I had thought about for the last few months, and I just hoped that we would do her memory proud with what I had in mind.  We headed for Saskatoon, where we met at Perry's, and within minutes we were back on the road, headed north en route to Candle Lake.  We talked about how things are going in all our lives and about the COVID stuff that continues to permeate our existence.

But it wasn't much longer before we switched over to discussing Mom and her memories of Candle Lake, which go back to far before any one of us even existed.  Each one of us couldn't help but smile as we retold tales of her time spent up there with her family, and in doing so, I like to think it told us that what we were doing on this day was not only the right thing to do, it was something coming straight from the heart and it was even somewhat necessary.  In the time since Mom passed, there wasn't a whole lot of talk right away about what to do when it came to a celebration of life service, as we were still in the grip of the pandemic, so we elected to wait on it until the late summer.  But as far as some of her remains went, I feel that both Perry and I knew what we wanted to do with them almost right away, and on this day, we were putting my vision into place.

We arrived at Candle at around 2:30, with the sun providing the warmest and brightest part of the day, for which I was grateful.  We couldn't help but notice that the water was so incredibly calm.  I'd never seen the lake like that, but then again, that must be what Candle is like at this time of the year.  I had never been up there in the fall, only in the summertime and once in the winter, and the colours were outstanding.  The evergreen trees were partnered with those carrying shades of orange and yellow all over the place, and it made for a hell of an eye-catching environment.  I can't say I use the word 'beautiful' all that often, but that about describes what we saw on this day.  It was downright enchanting.

The beach that day at Waskateena was pretty much empty, save for a few people down a ways from where we were standing.  Evidently, early October isn't the time for swimming in Candle.  The three of us stood on the sand and simply watched the water.  I can't tell you what my brothers were thinking, but I like to believe we were all connected along the same wavelength: memories of time spent up here over the years with Mom and Dad; reflections on the times that we enjoyed this place; maybe a specific memory known only to each one of us that we've held onto over time.

We walked over to a specific part of Waskateena Beach that we had enjoyed as kids and as a family.  There once was a bench in that part of the beach that I can remember Mom and Dad using while the three of us were horsing around in the water, but it's not there anymore.  I was happy to see that the pathway is still very much there, being used by generations of kids that came after us.

We walked out onto a sandbar in order to get a little bit of distance from the shore, and that's where it was done.  Perry knelt down, opened the vase, and let a small handful of Mom's remains out and into Candle Lake.  We were all feeling the emotion of the moment, but I visibly couldn't take it and I started to let the tears flow.  Sad tears, but good tears at the same time.  I pulled a small piece of paper from my pocket and shared a few words I had written about Mom and her connection to this place.  I didn't want to ramble and I didn't want to get too sappy with it, I had only wanted to do her justice when it came to establishing what Candle had meant to her and to our family for decades.  Perry and Brendon commended me afterward for what I'd written, so I'm going to go with 'mission accomplished' on that front.  From there, I folded the paper back up and Perry buried it in the sand in front of where we could still see some of Mom's ashes.  It was as picture-perfect as any one of us could've asked for.  Right on the money, once again.

We stood on the sand for a few moments, each of us with our own trains of thought before departing.  We then cruised over to the golf course restaurant for a bite to eat before leaving Candle.  We laughed, we remembered things, and we enjoyed all of it.  It wasn't long before we were on the road, headed back to Saskatoon.  Hopefully, the memories made on this day are ones that will stay with us for quite some time.

I am so thankful for how this day turned out.  I can't say enough about my brothers, who've been nothing short of incredible.  Thanks for helping me carry out this task, guys.  Mom would be happy.

I can't say when I'll be back at Candle Lake, but I do know that I'll smile, wipe away a tear or two, and remember that a small piece of Lynda Merle Ruttle now lies within those welcoming waters.

For introducing my brothers and I to such an amazing place many years ago, I can only deem it appropriate that as Mom's story has concluded, a part of her goes back to the lake.  It's poetic, it's all things heartfelt, but above all else, it just feels right.

Once again, I smile.