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Holy, Earthly, Family

March 18, 2016

Nods, smiles, and wiping away tears.

Wheelchairs, walkers, and the front door alarm.

The nursing home Memorial Service was coming to a close.

Pictures of residents who had died that year were on display in the front of the room, and brief stories were told about each one.

I hadn’t realized until this week what a significant gathering this was. It met a need many of us take for granted. We go to a visitation or a funeral or both, and maybe even the committal service at the graveside. And we might even have time to go back to the church for a meal and one more chance to tell stories and reminisce.

When a nursing home resident dies, most of the other residents are unable to attend any of those. Instead, they’re left looking at an empty place at the table where their friend used to sit. The deceased’s roommate wonders who’ll be put in that other bed and what the family will be like.

The nursing home Memorial Service gave residents and staff members, a chance to grieve. To acknowledge their loss. To celebrate a life.

It was a holy time, in a final earthly home.

And a reminder that Family can happen anywhere people care.

See you back here tomorrow.




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