Annually, a service of love and remembrance is held for those grieving the loss of a loved one for whom Boulger Funeral Home, Fargo has provided services in the past year. This year members of the Sacred Heart Community attended as they grieved the loss of three of their members: Sisters Irene Schuster, Consilia Duggan, and Geraldine Steinbach. Boulger Funeral Home has been providing services for the Presentation Sisters for many, many years.
Those attending had the opportunity to name their loved ones and viewing a picture on a video screen. During that time a box with symbols of stars and snowflakes was passed around and everyone could take their choice.
Below is a copy of the reflection from the Prayer Service and is offered for your personal reflection. Boulger Funeral Home has generously given permission to share it with you.
Snowflakes have been plentiful in this part of the country these past weeks. They certainly can be beautiful, as they sparkle in the sunlight or moonlight. And these snowflakes certainly can be frustrating and overwhelming whenthey pile up, get in the way of life, and alter our plans.
So too is living with loss of our loved ones. There can be precious, treasured memories and moments. As well asoverwhelming feelings of sadness, anxiety and as if one is caught in a snowstorm, numb and lost.
A snowflake is a fragile item. It can be easily altered by the forces of nature and human interactions. We toocan feel incredibly fragile as we grieve. Delicate and easily impacted by the forces of nature and humaninteractions.
For many of you this is “The Year of Firsts” without your loved one. Your beloved died in the past calendaryear. This is a new time, new situation, one with many unknowns. You have not walked this path before. The holidays may have been a difficult time. Wishes of “Merry” and “Happy” repeated over and over, when youmay have been feeling anything but Merry and Happy…Even the best moments, are punctuated with anawareness that someone is missing.
We gather tonight to make space for acknowledging our loved one and acknowledge our grief. We gather to remember and reflect. We gather to name them and look at their picture. When we do, we can feel and think a mixture of emotions and thoughts. Sad and grateful and mad all at the same time. Grief is that way, an unpredictable mixture of reactions, of thoughts and feelings.
A snowflake is a mixture too. Snowflakes form when a water droplet freezes onto a dust particle in the sky. Thiscreates an ice crystal. It begins to fall, and more water freezes onto the primary crystal, building new crystals. Something unique and beautiful comes from the mixture of dirt and water.
The unique and beautiful snowflake can remind us of our unique and beautiful loved one, and our relationship with him or her. But we also know they weren’t perfect, neither were nor are we. We are a mixture of dirt and water. Our culture easily and quickly whitewashes the hard, things in life, such as the deaths of our loved ones or other difficulties… into pretty snowflakes.
They want us to see only the good and move on to a happy place as soon as we can. But the invitation of grief is to be honest. It is to slow down. It is to acknowledge that much of life and death is both/and. Not either/or. Not good or bad. But a mixture. Both/and. It’s made of dirt and water. Our memories are painful and precious. Our relationships are sweet and sour. There are histories of mistakes and mending.
Snowflakes are made of the same substance yet each one is unique; each one is different. So too is our grief. Thesubstance of our grief is love and loss. Because we have loved and been loved, we grieve the loss of our loved one. Buteach love and each loss are unique. We can share some things in common with our losses, yet there is uniquenessand distinctiveness.
We can easily be judged or judge ourselves whether we are grieving the right way. The right way to grieve – isour unique way. Everybody processes grief differently. Everybody deals with the anxiety and the uncertainty around grief and loss in different ways. So, it is usually not helpful for us to compare or be told what we should feel or do. We are all unique, like snowflakes. So too is our grief.
The path forward with our grief is unknown. There is no clear path or predictable points to reach or encounter. Yet asone author writes … the thing to do with our grief is to grieve…and give ourselves into the love that will never cease to find us.