In his poem, The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost describes a remembrance, of one moment and where this moment led:
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Each life is filled with these moments, turning points that led the person down their own unique path. Just as each path, each life is unique, so too should our remembrance be, not just in the style of casket or urn, or the words said at the service. The entire way in which we remember can be a reflection of the person, their life, their personality, the roads they chose to walk. The possibilities are many, but here are just a few ideas.
He was well-loved, well-known, and a cornerstone of the community. What better way to bring together the lives he touched than a block party. Everyone brings something to share, and stories to tell. People from different parts of his life meet for the first time and learn what he meant to the other. Meanwhile, the kids are running, playing and laughing, just as they did when he lived.
Meditation and Yoga Retreat
She was young, but had an “old soul”. Her spirituality was rooted from the inside out. Her family and close friends sign up together for a weekend retreat – yoga and meditation, quiet solace from the day-to-day. She lived for days such as these, and they learn why as they remember her this weekend.
They loved to golf together. Mom died just a few years after dad and she always said what she missed most was their days on the course. The family organizes a golf tournament at the 9-hole course the couple loved. They draw teams at random and set off to play. At the end of the day, they meet at the clubhouse for margaritas (mom’s favorite post-golfing drink) and burgers (dad’s specialty). A slideshow of memories plays in the background while everyone compares their rounds.
Historically, death was an everyday part of life, but less so as medical technology has advanced and medical care has moved out of the home. But people are circling back to thinking and talking about the reality of death before it happens. After all, we will all be there one day. As the death positive movement grows, more people are planning ahead, even to the point of having a “living funeral,” perhaps after a terminal diagnosis, or when the end is near. Family and friends gather while the person is still living, to remember a life well-lived.
As you can see, the way we remember a person’s life can be as unique as they are. The point is to honor them, to remember them, to connect with them, and to connect with each other in our grieving.