Memorials as a Celebration of Life

When my great aunt died, her memorial service was officiated by someone no one in my family knew. He did not meet with us. He did not respond to my request for a conversation as a colleague in the ministry. So it was no great surprise when the service did not speak to her life or her relationships. He used the occasion to proselytize his Christianity in a way that might have made some of his colleagues proud. It made most of my family extremely uncomfortable. My brother considered feigning a bloody nose to be able to leave the room. I sat and stewed in my rage. This was my beloved great aunt who had been a central elder in my childhood and my constant conversation partner in college. She was an artist, an educator, and a devoted Christian. She had lived a life that would have been easy to celebrate in her passing, had the minister taken time to learn more about her. We didn’t need to have his Christianity shoved down our throats in our time of grief. We needed to mark the passing of a dearly beloved member of our family, to remember her life and all that she stood for, to grieve and to be together. I am grateful to be part of the Unitarian Universalist ministry because my colleagues are people who can honor the plurality of religious expression in which many families live. They can listen to the real stories of people’s lives and speak the truth of the complexity of a life during a memorial service.

One thought on “Memorials as a Celebration of Life

  1. Hello Pastor Mary,I am interested in a beach wendidg sometime in August this year. I would love to do it sooner but my fiance9 is in the military and I want to wait closer to the time I’m moving away. I would love to discuss the tropical package with you more. It’s always been a dream of mine to get married on the beach and have my mom walk me down the aisle but unfortunately my mom just passed. I want her to know I still went through with the wendidg her and I discussed because she’ll be watching from the heavenly skies. I want this to be memorable.

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