Sunday Service in My Head – 3/23/14
Live your life so the preacher won’t have to tell lies at your funeral.
~~ lots of people said it.
The wave gains its momentum, born of the energy of Mother Ocean, and surges toward the shore. It races to leave its frothy mark, mixing up shells and changing landscapes, exposing sand crabs and washing the feet of gulls and pipers watching to see what gifts are being offered this round. The legacy of those who built on the evolving shore lines in the form of words and structure is slowly washed away, until all that remains, possibly, is the memory of those who created them.
Born of the Mother, our days are like waves upon the shores. We all rise from Her, and eventually we will return to Her. We are all witnesses to the tides of life and death. This weekend one friend said good-bye to her daughter, and another said hello to her son.
I remember that when my son was born, I was sure I looked different. I knew I had been changed and thought that everyone must know they were looking at someone who had seemingly been revamped! When my mom crossed, I remember thinking how no one knows you are grieving. There was something very raw in my experiences with people for those couple of days. I felt so ripped open after both events, and there was something “just not connected” in my dealings with others.
The birth of my son (so long ago now, yet I can visit there so easily) was joy filled. I knew LOVE like I had never known existed. Understood totally and completely that elusive “unconditional love” I had heard so much about and thought I had periodically practiced.
With the crossing of my mom, it wasn’t so cozy. It was sad. All of the things I had stuffed in the closet and refused to acknowledge came tumbling out. I strove to keep my grief in check, so I could be strong. I remember my friends Louise and Debbie driving almost two hours to come to the viewing, and me collapsing in waves of sobbing in their arms when I saw them. I had been ordained in 1998 and my mom crossed in 2000. I wanted to do the service, but my brother, understandably, felt it would be too much for me. He had not come to see how Source had become my partner and my strength. He still saw me as his whacky sister, with my slips and falls and crazy thinking. We hired a Catholic priest who didn’t know my mother. I went home and prepared something. It made me feel better. My words connected to me to the places where my mother and I had healed and bonded. We shared a common friend in St. Francis and I had found a card I had given her, with his prayer, in the drawer next to her bed. (It is framed and hangs on our wall still today). The priest did his bit, but you knew he didn’t know diddly about Marge/Margaret Mary, and hadn’t made the effort to before showing up for the gig. Then he said, “and Marge is probably in heaven”. Screeching record STOP in my brain, WHAT!!!????? I turned to my husband and I said “I am going in!”, and my brother made no attempt to stop me. I told my mother’s story, and I shared her prayer. People first watched me to see if I would crash, but then saw I was all in, and it was going to be alright. And beautiful. Because I knew that my mother loved the words I had offered for her. I also knew she would have been more concerned about my brother and I than what the priest had to say, so I just flooded the room with Light, and let my words flow.
As a non-denominational minister, I have done weddings, funerals and baby blessings. I don’t advertise. What comes to me is what I am perfect for. For funerals, I have learned that I get “called in” when it’s important that the life of the person who crossed, and the grieving of those who remain, need my unique voice. When my husband’s best friend crossed in 2009, I was grateful that I was able to do the service. Leonard’s story deserved to be told, and the man I love so deeply was in so such pain. We made it beautiful and special. It was just two weeks before Christmas and Leonard looooveed Christmas. He was a waving Santa for a place where trees were sold. We got everyone a Santa ornaments from the place he worked at and passed them out at the service. Leonard used to give everyone a nickname, and we joked about the nicknames he was trying on for size for God. We all remembered the reasons why Leonard would be missed so much. That is what you need to do when you grieve – allow yourself to feel all of the good that this person has given you. Make it okay to laugh while the tears are like waves lapping at your pain.
“The Sun will rise and set regardless. What we choose to do with the light while it’s here is up to us. Journey wisely.”
~~ Alexandra Elle
Every week I could sit and do a SSIMH share about someone coming, or someone going. It is a never ending cycle. We have read about the “Dash” and for most of us by the time we reach 30, there is an understanding that life is a series of fluid moments. The 50’s make it LOUD. We know the days are moving swifter, and the idea of living life more fully and honestly grows like a crazy weed, pushing out the ideas that “you’ve got time”. Delaware Gramps Walters Bruhl Jr. wrote his own obituary, and when his grandson shared it, it went viral. It urged me to think about my own obit/ dash/ memorial service.
Here is what I received for myself, as the platform essential to setting a foundation for what I would want said when I cross:
- Live Dharmically
- Live Authentcally
- Forgive when possible.
- Love always, even if from a distance.
- Leave no opportunity for kindness undone.
- Retain a sense of humor.
- Do all you can for the four legged’s, feathered, and finned.
- More on the be kind part.
- Let others know you see the Light in them.
- Always hold a baby when you get a chance.
- Listen to what children had to say.
- Always look into the eyes of old people.
- Leave the judging to the courts.
- More LOVE.
What if you got to write a flashy headline for your own Obit? What would you say?
Please take a moment to enjoy this beautiful version of the Prayer of St. Francis. This would be the back ground music to the critical choice making scene in the movie of my life.