Monday, October 19, 2009

A Memorial . . . what it means

I went to a memorial service today. It was for a neighbor that I knew, but not really well. But I was glad to have a chance to go and show respect, show caring and support to those that mattered to her, even if I didn't know them well either. Long ago, I used to wonder about
 attending funeral, or memorial services if you weren't related, good friends, coworkers,or had known each other for long periods of time. As a nurse, I did go to many patient's services, and of friends of my parents, and older relatives when I young. And I would wonder if they cared, if it made it better or easier or more comforting to them to have me, and others like me, there.  Or would they rather not have us? But life teaches us in it's own time. It was when I had personal loss, of parents, of sibling, of close friends, that I was so very glad that I had gone all those times in the past. To let the family and friends of the deceased know that they were important to someone, they made a difference in a life, shared words, feelings, smiles and experiences. I have come to understand that we know so much more about the life of someone we thought we knew, after they have passed on. It is then, and often only then, that the personal stories come out. It is the memories, those memories that have been filed away in our minds, that are now dusted off,  and held for a moment again closely to the heart, and have been set free to live on in the universe, and touch the lives of others. Is it because we so dearly want to remember, never to forget, and to share our relationship with others that we care about.  Not wanting others to forget, and by that very sharing, they can remind us again, of a great friend, a loving parent, an adventurous sibling, people that have touched our lives, made a difference, brought a smile to our face, a tug to our heart, and memories that will thrive in our minds.  All of them had dreams, aspirations, challenges, accomplishments, love and humor beyond our knowledge. Each one of them as unique as each snowflake of winter. It doesn't matter what you do, it is that you do something. Next time, when a death occurs, and it will, either one that is unexpected and sudden, or one that has been anticipated at some point, if you ever think for even a single moment . . . should I go, should I send a note,
 send flowers, give them a call, make a visit, give a hug, share a memory? The answer should always be YES.

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