The excerpt below is from Dylan's Song. While Vicki and Dylan are in Ireland, his grandmother--the woman he called "Mam"--passed away. The following is an Irish tradition to allow the spirit of the deceased to leave the casket through the nearest window or door.
There was a two-foot path cleared from the casket to the window and all who stood nearest the empty floor were hushed, their eyes wide. In a brief but poignant ceremony, Mrs. Rowan raised the shade and opened the window, immediately stepping to the side so as not to block it.
All stood back. Vicki's eyes roamed the gathering as the bodies pressed away from the makeshift path. Their eyes were wide as they stared at the casket, as though they expected to see Bonnie's soul rise from her body and glide through the window.
It was totally silent for several moments. Vicki thought she was going to swoon from the clustered bodies and stale air as her eyes moved from one to another: the stooped old man with his cap held tightly in his hands, the women fighting back tears, the overweight man with the bulbous nose and pockmarked cheeks...
Her eyes landed on a tiny woman whose smile reached from one side of her frail but beaming face to the other. Her hair was long and white and though the air was perfectly still, her locks seemed to rise up around her as though caught by the wind. She wore a white gown with lace at the neck and delicate wrists. And as Vicki stared at her, she winked one sharp blue eye.
And then she vanished.