Twice in the past 72 hours I have participated in memorial services. It is a holy and sacred privilege for those of us in ministry. It might sound strange, but I love memorial services. From the music to the grace to the compassion – they are a testament to groups of humans at our best. I end every memorial service or funeral I lead the same way, by saying:
I have a final request of you all before we part. You came here not just for yourself this morning, but you came here to show someone else that you love them. When you go home today, I want you to find a good old fashioned card and write that person a letter – telling them why you love them and why you believe in them. Then, seal the letter. Address it, and put a stamp on it. But don’t send it right a way. In the coming weeks or months, whenever you stop and think of that person, send it then. For it is often easier to show up in the midst of grief, and harder for us to remind those that we love that they are always in our thoughts.
**Credit to Tom O’Brien for teaching me this request during my time at Memorial Congregational Church. **
At the end of every service I do, I also write a letter. Sometimes it is to someone connected to the service; sometimes I write to someone else in my life.
Because what I wonder during every service is, “Did this person know how loved they were?”
I recently attended a living wake for a dear friend who’s husband is actively dying. It was stunningly sacred. All his beloveds gathered to share in love giving storytelling – actually naming what they loved about him, cherished memories, and for those it applied to, those that had forgiven him.
We may not all get the chance to have a living wake – but right now, we all have the chance to physically write a card to share our love for someone.