This past week I have been privileged to be immersed in the creation of a glorious memorial service for a dear friend of mine who passed away a couple of weeks ago. The sacred gathering honoring her unique life journey was yesterday, and it was sublime. There are clearly no words to express how touching it is to be immersed in the process of honoring a soul and a life well-lived.
Like the photograph above, I am aware of how the radiance of who we are and our actions throughout our lifetime flow outward like circles touching others in such profound and enduring ways. Over and over during the service yesterday, people shared about so many small, ordinary moments in which our beloved friend had touched and enhanced their lives. It was palpably clear to all of us present that, although we can no longer see and touch her physically, we will always carry and be moved by her loving presence and the treasured memories we were blessed to share with her.
“Oh heart, if one should say to you that the soul perishes like the body,
answer that the flower withers, but the seed remains.”
WHEN DEATH COMES
by Mary Oliver
When death comes
like a hungry bear in autumn;
when death comes and takes all
the bright coins from his purse
to buy me, and snaps the purse shut;
when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,
I want to step through the door full of
what is it going to be like,
that cottage of darkness?
And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,
and I think of each life as a flower,
as common as a field daisy, and as singular,
and each name a comfortable music in the mouth,
tending, as all music does, towards silence,
and each body a lion of courage,
and something precious to the earth.
When its over, I want to say all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom,
taking the world into my arms.
When its over, I don’t want to wonder
if I have made of my life
something particular, and real.
As a wise friend once shared with me, the reality is that we are the ancestors of our future. I’ve always found that looking at life through the lens of our eventual passing brings powerful gifts of poignancy and perspective — that tender recognition of the preciousness of ourselves, our loved ones, and the world around us.
With blessings of gratitude and aliveness your way, Gavin