header image header image header image
Remembrance: Mending the Living

Posted On 11/6/2017 By Admin

This fall I had the privilege of facilitating a memoir writing workshop for seniors. I was inspired by the writers' courageous desire to share wisdom and offer their life experiences to the community they call home. These seniors, close to 100 men and women ranging in age from 65 to 85, were not interested in how they wanted to be remembered, which was a relief considering I'm a funeral director and prefer not to be perceived as a ghoul! Rather, workshop attendees sought to uncover the hidden meanings and common threads shaping their lives today.

When attendees looked to the past they used three lens or worldviews: who they were then, who they are now and who they still wish to become. Most people avoid examining their lives this way because the old adage holds forever true: the meaning of life is that it ends.

In a culture that is so death- and grief-avoidant, the majority of us are only encouraged to look for life's meaning as we face the long, lonely road of actively dying. Sadder still, as our life lens grows smaller and dimmer, we are often guided, and sometimes cajoled, to examine and evaluate our lives by what we have and what we will give away.

If we are not our things and our achievements then what are we? What remains after we are gone? What do we want future generations to know? Memoir writers, whether a boisterous group of seniors at a workshop or a solidary writer transforming personal memories into universal feelings, understand that life is not long. Yet as long as we remember that our lives are intertwined and interdependent we can savour the beautiful tapestry of life then, now and to come. No matter your age, your contributions, your mobility or your regrets, we really are all in this together.    

When we take moments to remember not just those who have died, but also honour and mend who we've  been in the past and what we still aspire to become, we extend a strong, loving hand into the future.         We shine a loving light into the quiet dark, and make a sacred agreement to act as a beautiful beacon: now, later and forever.