to celebrate a life
especially an untimely one, highlights the many things that we have
appreciated in others and left unsaid. It is the regret for things not
yet said or done, which makes poignant the loss of a loved one or friend
and many struggle to remain steady in the ensuing storm of emotions.
funeral is the event that brings together all of these emotions, the
grief, the pain and also love and provides an opportunity for release
and for healing. Traditionally a sombre event, most memories of funerals
are of grief-stricken and pained people trying to come to terms with
their loss and with the re-adjustment of their life with the hole where
a person used to live.
I recently had an opportunity to experience something else, which filled
me with warmth and hope and healing love. Although words are hardly
adequate to express what I felt, I will try and share with you the joy
of that moment.
occasion was the funeral of Randolph, a friend of short duration but
of intense affinity. An association of like minds, like spirit, like
friends came together to celebrate his life and to acknowledge him and
his contribution in their own lives. Throughout the church service,
each person was welcomed and respected regardless of whether they were
mormon, ba'hai, muslim, christian, atheist, agnostic. They each shared
in a common bond and the warmth of expressed love for the man being
buried that day.
eulogy and prayers were spoken by his friends and as each person in
turn spoke their part, the love for the man washed out from them in
waves, touching each person and resonating that love. Although missing
him in a physical way, and grieving for their own personal loss, each
person still had connection with his love and radiated this to everyone
present. This transcended specific beliefs and religious allegiances
and went straight to the core of human value.
glow of love was tangible, it grew by being shared and it surrounded
everyone in a cloak of warmth, radiating outwards in all of it's magnificence.
Randolph had a great gift for bringing people together
and in his last act on earth he facilitated a real communion between
people, irrespective of their nationality or religious beliefs.
this was just the beginning, there was more yet to come.
the funeral continued to the graveside, the gathering was more relaxed
and many took the opportunity to share how Randolph had touched their
lives or what he had meant to them personally. There was no formal ceremony
in this but a free and open expression of feelings. A last chance to
express unspoken feelings and appreciation and let go of regrets.
I stood, watching, listening and feeling the expressed joy and love
of each person's remembrances, the warmth radiated out again and grew.
though clouds were darkening and the wind gusted and blew chilly against
us, I still felt a cocoon of loving energy spread out and wrap around
all of us. I felt as if I was immune to the cold wind as it's icy fingers
flapped at my open coat and tried in vain to find a chink to cool my
I looked toward a space between the bishop and the funeral director,
I saw an area that seemed lighter and brighter than anywhere else. There
was no sun shining at that time, the approaching rainclouds creating
a tumultuous background that blanketed it from view. The patch of lightness
still remained, right in the position you might stand if you wanted
the best view of all of your friends!
impeccably timed crescendo from the howling wind accompanied the final
lowering of the coffin into the grave and then the patch of lightness
was gone. A signal for the release of Randolph and any emotions that
might keep him from moving on with his next journey. As each person
scattered a handful of dried flowers into his grave and farewelled him,
the healing release was tangible.
I could not feel sad after that moment but I felt uplifted
and warm and loved.
(J Hargreaves - 8th August 2003)
When people come together to celebrate a life - Hark.net.au