I have never planned a Memorial Service before. I have done, weddings, banquets, teas, luncheons, showers, and pretty much any other event. This is my first Memorial Service, but I have found it is similar planning-wise, to other occasions I have coordinated. The main thing…the good thing, is that it gives purpose to my pain. Grief is not easy. No matter how prepared you are. No matter how far ahead you had to get ready, I am finding I am not ready. So rather than sit, I plan. It fits me so well. It is my comfort zone and as I look around, I find all of us are in our comfort zones in the midst of a most uncomfortable place.
We are like the pieces of a puzzle coming together to create a beautiful finished product. Gail is nursing her mother. Standing guard, watching and waiting. I am planning the service. Pulling scriptures, songs and people together to celebrate Louise. Bill’s aunt is gathering and compiling photos for the slide show. Technology isn’t really my strong suit, but it is hers. Down the line, each person has a place and a role. It is all flowing together so smoothly, and that it is comforting in and of itself. To know that we all share in the peaceful passing is such a blessing. None of us could do it without the others. But all of us can do it together. I made the comment that “it takes a village” referring to the number of different people involved. My wise friend Jessica said, “No. It takes a family.” She is so right. Today I am ever so grateful for the family, both blood related and those who are family by choice. I feel the strength of walking beside, instead of alone.
The greatest pain is still to come, any hour, they say…or maybe any minute. I feel my insides bracing themselves. My tears are close to the surface, and have begun to spill over from time to time. I continue to plan, wondering do you practice for a Memorial Service? Who directs it? I have never seen a Memorial Service director in the back of the church telling everyone where to stand like in a wedding. Oh how I feel compelled to get it right, and to make it a wonderful celebration of life. I want it to be everything that she would love, and sometimes I think I will just ask her who should do what…but we are beyond that now. Now I have to know that she will love it, because we are all doing it together. It is my offering…my goodbye gift.