I’m an avid reader of obituaries—a habit that keeps me grounded and grateful. Through the past months, I’ve noticed that, “due to COVID-19 complications,” most memorial services for loved ones are being delayed until unknown future times. Sooner or later, a multitude of these events could fill our calendars. A good thing!
I can envision these soon-to-come memorials as distinctly different from those that previously occurred soon after a loved one’s death. Grief and sadness will still be there—those emotions don’t dissipate quickly. But because of the widespread relief and joy we’ll all feel when the pandemic is put back into its bottle, we’ll be ready to celebrate.
What we used to call “funerals”—with all their associated somber contexts—could turn into uniquely uplifting commemorations of the life of these dearly beloved relatives, friends, colleagues or neighbors. I can imagine some families deciding to plan more than pro-forma rituals, thinking instead of creative—maybe even festive?—ways to remember the life of their departed loved one.
Those of us attending these events—some of them deeply spiritual, others turning out to be extensions of simple, satisfying conversations—would find wonderful opportunities to be together again with those not-yet-departed-but-still-fiercely-loved. If these were true celebrations—think of what that word conjures up—each festival of remembrance would be an encouragement for our spirits, our hopes, our insistences to live our remaining years purposefully, lovingly, joyfully.
Do I have ideas about how these celebrations could play out? You bet! And I have the strong sense that, with so many of these events occurring over and over again, a good share of our daily schedules could revolve around these special observances of God’s providence and blessing.
Over and over again, we will remember with joy!