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#77855 - 08/27/05 02:08 PM Prayer needed for Memorial Service
browser57 Offline
Member

Registered: 06/07/05
Posts: 242
Loc: Michigan
I am putting together a small memorial service for the final scattering of ashes of my brother, mother and father. It was their wish to be scattered together - at a location that was very special to all of them.

There has never been a family 'religion' preference. Mother was an advid student of New Thought/Unity (which is also my belief system) but had not attended church for many years. They would not want any type of formal service; pastor involvement, etc.

I'm looking for something that is not too heavy - because they just wouldn't want that. There is one that I am drawn to "Another Dawn" by James Dillet Freeman.

I'm open to any ideas - this is not an easy task.

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#77856 - 08/27/05 02:36 PM Re: Prayer needed for Memorial Service
smilinize Offline
Member

Registered: 11/08/03
Posts: 3512
Loc: outer space
If you haven't already included it, maybe music would be the most appropriate. Music seems to be a part of all religions and it can certainly touch the hearts of those present. It would also inspire memories of your loved ones if it was some of their favorite songs. If the site is remote, perhaps a guitar, recorded music or an acapella singer could most easily be arranged.

Perhaps just music and some reading from "Another Dawn" would be all you need. I also love those memorials where everyone gets to speak about their memories of the loved one. The memorial can be such a comfort.

I am so sorry for you profound loss and I will pray for you this moment.
smile

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#77857 - 08/27/05 06:49 PM Re: Prayer needed for Memorial Service
Eagle Heart Offline
Member

Registered: 03/22/05
Posts: 4871
Loc: Canada
My father's side of the family are all Mennonites, which is an orthodox Christian sect. One of the things that they do at all family get-togethers (including funerals) that could be transferrable to any other family's gatherings is story-telling. Everyone gets up and tells a favourite family story about the person(s) being celebrated/remembered.

At our wedding, the guests were a challenging diverse mixture of people...French Catholic, English Protestant, Mennonite and fervant atheists...but we managed to put together a ceremony that touched and included everyone there.

At the reception, since 3/4 of the guests couldn't participate in a dance, we had "story-telling" instead. We were worried that non-family members would get bored, but they all got into the spirit of the story-telling as well. It ended up being a lot of fun and very warm and intimate...people often tell us that it remains one of their favourite weddings they've ever attended.

We ended up doing the "story-telling" thing when my Mom died. And Mom/Dad stories are still the heart and center of our family reunions. The more stories we hear, the more stories we crave to hear.

I don't know if "story-telling" would fit within your own family culture, but it's another idea to consider.

[ August 27, 2005, 03:51 PM: Message edited by: Eagle Heart ]

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#77858 - 08/27/05 09:30 PM Re: Prayer needed for Memorial Service
smilinize Offline
Member

Registered: 11/08/03
Posts: 3512
Loc: outer space
Story telling... What a wonderful idea Eagle. That's what we did at my Daddy's funeral and it was such a comfort. He and I were very close and the loss was deep, but somehow the funeral began the healing for all of us. We laughed and cried and said good bye.

As we were leaving the church, one of Daddy's old farmer friends said, "Too bad Hank wasn't here. He would have loved this."

Another of his friends wiped his eyes and said, "Hell Hank was here."

And he was. Daddy's presence was as strong in that church on the day of his funeral as when I was little and he held me on his lap to comb my hair or the week before when I took him junkin.' And it was because of the memories we shared in the stories we told about him.

I'm afraid I am always telling stories on this site and elsewhere. It's probably boring, but that's what writers do. We are the story tellers. We pass along the stories from generation to generation by writing our memories down for all to share.

Thanks for reminding me of that.
smile

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#77859 - 08/27/05 09:38 PM Re: Prayer needed for Memorial Service
Pam Kimmell Offline
Member

Registered: 01/27/04
Posts: 1423
Loc: Warrenton, Virginia
Story-telling was the heart and soul of my Mom's memorial service. She not only didn't want a minister presiding, but she wanted ONLY her immediate family (only three of us) to be there. We did sing one song because it was her favorite, but then we just sat there and told stories - I also had written a poem which I read. It was a very intimate gathering and intensely personal.

My Dad's service as a very large full military-honors type funeral service. It was absolutely wonderful and certainly he deserved it after being a career Air Force officer.....but it's my Mom's tiny little memorial service that was more "real" I think....and it's because of the story-telling/personal touch.

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#77860 - 08/27/05 10:01 PM Re: Prayer needed for Memorial Service
Eagle Heart Offline
Member

Registered: 03/22/05
Posts: 4871
Loc: Canada
Smile, I have yet to be bored by even one word that you write...in fact, I always look forward with joy and profound interest to your insights and stories. So, please, keep being the wise story-teller that you are...I for one enjoy the way you wrap your words in stories.

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#77861 - 08/27/05 10:10 PM Re: Prayer needed for Memorial Service
Eagle Heart Offline
Member

Registered: 03/22/05
Posts: 4871
Loc: Canada
Pam, your sharing of the difference between the two services reminds me of something (seemingly off-track, but somewhat related) that I only just discovered this past week.

My two teenage nieces were here for the week. They've been coming 3-4 times a year for 7-10 days at a time for many years. I had long thought that the main attraction for my 16-year-old niece were the culinary adventures she and I get into. She loves trying new foods, and so we've always had fun trying out new recipes.

But after much late-night sharing with her this last visit, I discovered that as fun as the cooking adventures are, it's the "being together" and the "family table fellowship" that means so very much to her. She too profoundly loves the family stories. With her parents still in the midst of a bitter separation (and still not talking with each other after splitting over two years ago), this sweet, gentle niece has not had too many family meals lately, and in fact has been doing most of the cooking for herself and her 13-year-old sister. Very sad.

So it's the whole family sitting around the table telling stories that she craves and drinks into her deepest being while here. The food has always just been a way to get to that table.

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#77862 - 08/28/05 02:13 AM Re: Prayer needed for Memorial Service
Sandpiper Offline
Member

Registered: 06/19/05
Posts: 1158
Loc: Kissimmee, Florida
Browser,

Several years ago a friend of ours passed away. He didn't have any special church and hadn't attended one for years. His children were 18 and 20 or so. He was divorced and alone.

His son and daughter were with him when he passed at home. It fell to me to plan a memorial service for him as there was no money to do anything else. The children had to borrow the money to cremate him.

So, I played some nice music and everyone just got up and took turns telling stories about Dave and how he affected their lives. The most amazing thing about this service was the people attending were mostly in their late teens or early twenties.

His children seemed to be much better after we had the service because it gave them closure. I never thought in my wildest dreams I would ever plan and do a memorial/funeral service. So, my best to you and I believe that just telling how you loved and felt about your loved one is the best to do. It frees the sadness and helps you remember the good times.
Best to you!
Sandpiper

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#77863 - 08/28/05 02:43 AM Re: Prayer needed for Memorial Service
Dotsie Offline
Founder

Registered: 07/09/08
Posts: 23647
Loc: Maryland
Browser, I am sorry to hear of the loss of three family members. How tragic. Do you have other living family members?

As usual, you have gotten some excellent advice. Another thought might be to find a poem about death online. There are lots of beautiful ones out there. I bet you could find one that would give you and your guests peace.

Since experiencing the sudden death of my mother-in-law two eeks ago, I can assure you that there will be a trememdous feeling of releif and closure once this service is behind you. I just prayed for a lovely service that you feel will honor your loved ones. I can tell it's important to you.

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#77864 - 08/28/05 03:06 AM Re: Prayer needed for Memorial Service
browser57 Offline
Member

Registered: 06/07/05
Posts: 242
Loc: Michigan
Thanks for all the inspiration. I had not considered music - since this event will be aboard a boat. It will be a small family affair. My son has offered to burn a CD of songs - now I just have to ask for suggestions from everyone. I know my Dad loved "Fly Me To the Moon" and Mother was a Vince Gill fan (she always thought Vince looked like my Dad in his 'hunky' days.)

My brother passed away 15 years ago, but it was my parents wish to all be scattered together. Dad passed on Easter Sunday, and Mother passed last Sunday. Today would have been their 68th anniversary. They had quite a love affair - in fact, their story is exactly the same - swans and all - as The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks. From opposite sides of the tracks - but their love overcame it all. Mother surcommed to Alzheiemer's disease about 6 years ago, loosing touch with everyone except Dad. She never knew he had passed away - we would say that he was napping and the next minute she would be calling for her mother. A terrible disease - but actually a blessing - she would have died of a broken heart if she had known he was gone.

They loved to tell the story of how they met. Dad on his Harley - Mother cruising in her Dad's Cadillac. They courted for 7 years before her Dad would approve of the marriage. Then - to spite them all - they eloped to Indiana.

I like the notion of telling stories. I will meet with my brother's kids tomorrow and ask them if they'd like to contribute. They were quite young when their Dad died and they were estranged from the family for a few years. I'm sure they would love to hear more about their family, too.

You've given me a lot to work with. Thanks again.

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