A moment to mark

To remember

Gratitude shown

For hands extended

And love sown

In yester year.

A memorial service provides us  with a  sacred moment to acknowledge and mark the loss of our loved ones, at a small or sometimes, quite long time, after their loss.

Naomi Shihab Nye writes
“Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
You must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.”

It is so often in these moments of deep sorrow when family and community gather, that kindness is extended and reaches into our souls, bringing warmth and love and light. In acknowledging another’s grief we are so often calling up threads of our own griefs and healing and love mingle.

I tenderly remember one such occasion. On a late spring morning in 2018, I gathered with family and friends in my cousin’s beautiful lawn and garden to remember and give thanks for my two cousins whom I had grown up with. Both had died suddenly and unexpectedly – one in Australia, in the previous 12 months. Grief had been raw and painful and this small service some time on provided a place and a moment for tears, laughter, love and memories to be shared. A place to give thanks and say goodbye.
I had the privilege of preparing and leading this special service.

Remembering our story and the stories of those we love provides a context – a place of belonging, as do photos.

Over the days leading up to the event we  laughed at dress ups and family photos, cousins holidaying together, exploring the irrigation ditches, eating together around the farm table, family picnics in the local domain, 60’s, 70’s and 80s hairdos and side burns – all now coming back into fashion and a gorgeous photo of my mother in her 20’s, holding my cousin at her christening with my toddling brother playing alongside. Tears mingled with the wonderful family memories and links to the past.

Delicious food and hospitality, both so key and central to our memories and upbringing, were yet again shared. More photos were taken, relationships renewed, connections made with the new generations and stories preserved and shared for the generations yet to come.

As we paused in this precious moment and gratefully marked our two family members lives, we were given the chance to continue healing and in so doing to reframe and make a little more sense of what happened, weaving those memories afresh into the fabric of our lives and future stories.