Many thanks to guitarist Fred Anderson for sharing his performances of:
"Birch Drive" by Fred Anderson
"Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" by J.S. Bach
"Little Wing" by Jimi Hendrix
"Little Martha" by Duane Allman
Reading #1: My Sorrowing Heart by Steve Wilson
Hush, my heart. There is still the light
through the windows, fields that remember
you. Past the yellow church beside the forest,
hush. I’ve had to learn the ease of waiting.
Somewhere, in autumns, the songs grow surer
with waiting. You cannot hurry through
hurt. Quiet. Still. Slow, like those swallows
along the rooftops. Color upon a shawl.
World, loving its long evening in silence.
Reading #2: The Dream of Now by William Stafford
When you wake to the dream of now
from night and its other dream
you carry day out of the dark
like a flame.
When spring comes north and flowers
unfold from earth and its even sleep,
you lift summer on with your breath
lest it be lost ever so deep.
Your life you live by the light you find
and follow it on as well as you can,
carrying through the darkness wherever you go
your one little fire that will start again.
Love be in your head, and in your understanding.
Love be in your eyes, and in your looking.
Love be in your mouth, and in your speaking.
Love be in your heart, and in your thinking.
Love be at our end, and at our departing.
Love be with us, now and always.
-adapted from Sarum Liturgy, England, 13th century
I have learned through training and experience that there is no such thing as a “normal” or “typical” grief. Of course, it is often encouraging to know that some experiences of grief are not unusual. But each person, each loss also has its own unique shape and form of expression. All that being said, it sure seems like it has been difficult to grieve in any kind of normal way this year. So many of the practices and rituals we use to help us through a loss have been taken away, or at least changed nearly beyond recognition. I think about people who couldn’t be physically present with a loved one in their final moments, or who haven’t been able to hold a funeral or memorial. Even those small moments of grace – a hug from a friend at the grocery store, a brief remembrance shared during an unexpected encounter at a concert or football game – have been much harder to come by. And yet – there is something about human beings that refuses to give up our reaching out in times of trouble. It turns out that we can be physically distanced, but remain hopefully, mysteriously, stubbornly connected. And so we tweet our condolences, post our photos, email our stories, Zoom our ceremonies. Each of us tonight is sitting in a different place, peering into our individual computer screen or listening through our own phone, but as we gather tonight in our grief, we are not alone. As we listen to one another with gentleness and respect, as we regard one another with tenderness and compassion, we are a community. And as a community, I believe that tonight, in this common space, we will both give and receive the uncommon gifts of grace and hope.
Donations Can Still be Made
Celebrate the life of loved ones and support end of life care.
Help light Care Partners’ tree in front of the Johnson Heritage Post!
Each $5 donation lights one bulb in memory of one person.
Click here to download a printable donation form that can be mailed to Care Partners.