Monday, November 26, 2012


Within the space of one week I have been to two funerals and two birthday celebrations - milestones from opposite ends of the spectrum. But it has me thinking about our rituals.

Although both funerals were held in churches, they couldn't have been more different - one was filled with music and soaring voices, expressed grief, and jubilation for a life well lived; the other was somber and restrained, consisting mainly of biblical inspired comfort and congregational hymn singing. Both, I suspect, offered the grieving families the solace they needed.

There seems to be a growing trend of people choosing not to have funeral services or commemorative services. I can think of at least three incidences in which the families did not do anything other than have the body cremated.There was no public invitation to say final goodbyes; no chance for far away family to gather to collectively remember. And the saddest part, no opportunity for the family to learn what their loved ones meant to others; to the world. I think without rituals and traditions we lose important opportunities to come together as community and family for sharing, grieving and healing.

Doesn't each and every life lived deserved to be celebrated and honoured? And so it is with our famjam birthday celebrations. Some have said that we make too big a deal out of birthdays but I couldn't disagree more. These milestones are building blocks of family memories and opportunities to celebrate, visit, feel loved and cherished... and heaven knows that in these hectic times, it is a challenge to pull everyone together.

Doesn't each and every life lived deserved to be celebrated and honoured? For one thing is for certain, in some way - big or small -  the world is changed because they walked the earth.

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