to celebrate a life
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.
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.
But, 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
was the funeral of Randolph, a friend of short duration but of intense
affinity. An association of like minds, like spirit, like values.
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.
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.
The 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.
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.
But, this was
just the beginning, there was more yet to come.
As 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.
As I stood,
watching, listening and feeling the expressed joy and love of each person's
remembrances, the warmth radiated out again and grew.
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
As 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!
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.
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