Life’s Circle — Ceremonies for All Occasions — Story is Everything

Life’s Circle — Ceremonies for All Occasions

Story is Everything

I was honored to tell the story of my friend’s life at a funeral chapel. Lorne wasn’t a religious man; no religious symbols, or pictures in the funeral home’s chapel, just plain, as he would have wanted it. I spoke about love, peace, and during the service, quoted poetry and scripture readings familiar to all gathered. Outlining snippets of Lorne’s life included a brief chronology of his personality, and other interesting facts woven intricately to create a quilt of his life, all within a twenty-minute period.

The fabric of Lorne’s life, with its multifaceted colors and textures, comforted us like a warm blanket on a cold damp evening. We shed tears, laughed together, and healed. Lorne’s death brought us together at a time when we were most real and open to facing our own mortality. In those moments we were loving and most humble. We could relate to the incidents and events of Lorne’s life, and his story reminded us of our life, our loves, and the things that are deeply important to us.

We were not subjected at this tender time to the dictates of dogma. Nor were we reminded that we were insignificant or lowly in comparison to our Creator. Also, we were spared from the grim reminder that we are all sinners who should be on bended knee hoping to make it to the Promised Land.

Nor were we subjected to a stock liturgy, rattled off according to some pre-determined template that most anyone could recite, where the presenter simply inserts the person’s name. The other day I attended a service where the presenter forgot the deceased name half an hour into the service. You would have thought by then he would have known the name of the person he was commending to God!

In comparison, Lorne’s story eloquently captured the essence and themes of his life that we could all relate to. His family provided the swathes of fabric, but as the weaver, I spun a tapestry of meaning that captivated our interest because it was life-centered, personal, and paid unique tribute to Lorne. The very act of recalling his life was extremely healing for his family.  Great stories we always remember. Pre-packaged rituals we forget because they dull our senses, lack significant meaning, and do little to heal grief. Healing in a meaningful way is essential. I agree with anthropologists who suggest that the way a culture deals with its dead is a reflection of its soul. We can do more than dispose of our loved ones. Instead, we can celebrate and pay our respect by harnessing the healing power of the story. By telling our loved one’s story, we retain the oral traditions that strengthen the very fibers of our existence, our culture, and most importantly, our families.

Call me, and together we can co-create a wonderful memorial tribute that captures the true essence of your loved one through the power of their story!