This one’s a little personal, but maybe you’ll find it interesting anyway.
Coming away from a weekend of activities with my high school classmates, and I’m filled with gratitude for the experience. Maybe it’s the memorial service that had the most impact, occurring so soon after another memorial service that was heart wrenching, as it was for my wife of 32 years. Maybe it’s the opportunity to reflect back on how it was that I got to where I am today.
No mythology here, that high school was one big wonderful experience. Maybe true for some, but I suspect that for most it was trial and error, overcoming doubts, in my case trying to develop some level of self-confidence that I still seek to improve.
Maybe with a class the size of ours it’s not possible to know everyone, to remember everyone 45 years later, as is true in my case. Was not possible to reach out to everyone that crossed my path, that I caught out of my peripheral vision, and say Hi, How are you, how have you been. So please forgive me if we did not connect and you would have liked to have done that.
But for the one’s I did connect with, the one’s I did remember, I am grateful to have been able to have done so. I so tried to focus on you, on our connection, on what is was and what it might be now. The memorial service was also a connection, to those that have gone before us, and also a remembrance.
It was a chance to say a few words about classmates that you did care about in that intense way you care about things when you are young. To remember that night you partied until the sun came up, that first crush, first kiss, first love, and share it openly. And then for someone else to gain courage from your thoughts to share their own, perhaps even deeper than you knew.
If you weren’t able to make the memorial, please take comfort in knowing that your friend who passed, your loved one, your classmate was lovingly remembered. Because I have learned recently, as many of us have, that there is comfort to be taken from kind words, heartfelt condolences, hugs and I’m sorry’s, and memorials.
WORDS OF COMFORT FROM DOUGLAS BROOKS, PhD, PROFESSOR of RELIGION, UNIVERSITY OF ROCHESTER
“Eternity is a promise that the universe never fails to keep. And when we look fairness or consolation, we are left with human voices and the embrace of those we love. That must be enough, grace never fails to give what we truly need. How can life be so cruel to one so young and for whom there was still so much left to love? It seems impossible not to take these questions personally. But it’s not the way of karma to explain itself or to permit us to take it too personally because when we do, well, there is neither explanation nor real consolation. But my teacher used to say that life concealed death so that we could live each day more fully and more gently, without urgency, without forcing upon ourselves meaning. The real meaning was clear to you everyday in her love. We are given the privilege of forgetting about death until we must remember it and so are taught something about life’s true gift: to live every single day with a sweetness and joy especially for those we know and love and are charged to care for. Now you’ll make that same journey to love everyday in your hearts.”
(Originally offered to the family of Ann C. Moran, used with permission)
www.rajanaka.com for more about Douglas Brooks
My great love and loss from her high school days, Annie Cimorelli.