I thought I’d share a beautiful experience I had yesterday. My husband asked me to go with him to help out a business associate — a funeral director who was hosting an annual memorial service. The service was for all the people the funeral home has served in this past year, and family members can come and light a candle in memory of their loved one. I decided at the last minute to grab my camera, not really knowing what to expect.
The candles were made by one of the people who works at the funeral home, each bearing a photo and words to commemorate the loved one.
As the people came in, they picked up their candle, and sat down to wait for the service to begin.
Beautiful music was playing softly, and as I wandered around, it struck me how people were holding the candles, cherishing the moment with their hands around it, thinking of the person they’d lost. Grief is such a universal emotion. Kindness took over the room, as people smiled at one another, moved over to make room, chatted quietly about why they were there.
The service began with some readings, and as the name and date of death of each loved one was read, a person with their candle came forward, lit it, and lined it up in the front of the chapel. One candle for each month of the past year was also lit.
When all were lit, the lights were dimmed, and the group sang “Silent Night” in the glow of these amazing candles.
Even though I didn’t personally know any of these people, I think this will be one of the most meaningful experiences I have this holiday season.
Here’s hoping acknowledgement of memories will
create community for you in unexpected ways, too.