Remembering, Peace

It was such a beautiful day yesterday. Wildly, out-of-season-ly beautiful. And oh, it looks like it might be the same sort of day today. hurrah.

So, yesterday and today, in terms of their beauty, are days to remember — and to be enjoyed.

Yesterday was also a day to remember a friend whom we buried. I’m mostly called on to do memorials and interment of ashes. I rarely do a casket funeral. But this is what my friend wanted. (and before we get too far off topic, they’re now saying that perhaps it’s better to bury than to cremate due to the immense amount of fuel and the release of particulate matter.)

People always say to me, you must hate doing funerals. In fact, I don’t. I am so honored to do them. Weddings are fun and baby blessings are a joy. But funerals, to work to get the memories right, to help people remember their loved one… oh, that is such a privilege.

I have people I work with at church, musicians, poets, kitchen magicians who deepen the experience. Will you do this, I ask, and they say yes. And then it all gets better. It was even richer because his friend, who doesn’t speak in public, opened his heart and spoke for his friend. We use who we are and what we know and make space for family and friends to be comforted in their loss and maybe even inspired to live more fully by this person they knew so well.

It’s silly, but wonderful to be so glad that my wedding table cloths and those little salt and pepper shakers are useful in lifting a family’s heart in the gathering afterwards.

Funerals, just like every other experience in life, should engage as many senses as possible. This one did. The service helped us remember. The day was so beautiful, so that standing at the graveside for this man whose struggles had ended, everything seemed joyous and right. Poetry and song wove ties around us.

And then back to the church for another opportunity for building memories.

Thank you my friends. For that day, in that group, Peace was in that place.

And then there’s the totally absurd fact that having done two funerals in one week in what must be county cemeteries, I’m on a winking and grinning basis with the gravediggers. It’s a weird world.

There’s birth and death and a whole lot of life in between. But at the end to be laid to rest with gentle words and reinforcing bonds, this is good.

FrostyMoonLunacyNov5

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