Celebrating the life that is completed.
When a life on this earth has ended, most of us need to gather and share the memories. From the Tibetan Book of the Dead to sitting Shivah and attending wakes, there is a worldwide need to express what is in our hearts at each watershed even of life: birth, death, and marriage. The need for closure for those who grieve is there regardless of one’s religious beliefs or lack of them.
Memorial services are held in the usual places and the unusual. One friend asked that we all gather at her favorite park, another wanted us to share and console each other at the hospital where she worked and eventually died. There is no right way to speak of another’s journey through life, except truthfully.
While we tend to idealize the departed, no one actually becomes a better person because they are no longer with us. If they were stubborn, funny, silly, sweet, kind, angry, argumentative, talkative, and so on, that is what they still are to us. The memories are all good for they are about someone we love.
Here is an example of a piece written for a woman who devoted herself to helping others:
Today I feel a stronger knowledge of the strength and beauty of her soul through the legacy of memories in the minds and hearts of you, her family and friends.
As I share your sorrow, I also share with you the joy of her continued presence in our hearts and memories. Please close your eyes for a moment of reflective meditation. While we speak of memories, for that is what will carry each of us through these times, bringing tears of sweet recall and smiles from cherished moments, now is the time to let all our minds and hearts truly be as one, acknowledging the universal oneness.
As we do, our hearts and minds are attuned to the spirit of Charon as she is gathered up for her next journey to a land we only dream of. Now that we are all as one, I believe that she can hear our thoughts and feelings, and perhaps can feel her presence.
As we are one, whether you came forward to speak of your love for her and her family, or simply keep these thoughts present, she is aware and knows. In so receiving our need to continue the bond established on this earth, we will walk with her on this journey a little bit further than if we think of her as only a body.
Charon’s body may no longer be useful to her spirit, but her spirit is still of very much use to God, and very much present.