The events of two weekends ago were very notable compared to most of my weekends and contained many moments related to our journey through life. I attended a memorial service and funeral for my paternal Grandparents outside of Baltimore on that Saturday. My Grandparents both passed away on the other side of the country but requested to be buried in Maryland where they grew up. The service was held in the very same church that they were married in over sixty years ago. Though this detail had been planned by them before they passed away, the feeling of their lives coming full circle and returning to where they began their journey together gave the proceedings a definite air of finality, conclusion, and reminded me of the journey we all take in life. We all ultimately go through a cyclical journey in life where our physical forms come from nothing and then returning to nothing (though many of the details around that vary depending on your beliefs).
Since the last time I saw them was several months ago, the real impact of their deaths did not register with me until I saw both of their urns at the front of the church. I of course will greatly miss them in my life, but often memorial services and funerals are about remembering the joyous contributions those individuals brought to the world, and this service was dedicated to that tradition and idea. We were all there to gather together as friends and family to fondly remember their lives. So, with that thought in mind, when I think about them I will try to remember what they brought to the world, rather than the sadness of their passing. So, the beginning of my weekend was about saying good-bye to family and the end of life’s journey for two lives.
I should mention that the quaint, small town they grew up in has changed since they lived there. The main street of the town may have some similar personality to the place that use to be there sixty years ago, and many sections of town are still quite charming, but now the town sits right next to what I am told is one of the worst sections of Baltimore. For those not familiar with Baltimore, it’s not Detroit, but it will not be winning any nicest city of the year awards any time soon. So even though my grandparents were coming back home, that home has changed since they lived there. Though certainly, most places will drastically change in sixty years.
Then on that Sunday I attended a gender reveal party for the first child of two of my good friends who also live outside of Baltimore. I doubt that I would ever have a gender reveal party, though possibly a goofy video or e-mail might happen, but the two of them are very excited about the birth of their first child, so I was happy to be a part of their celebration regardless of how I feel. They also kept the whole event very classy and tasteful, which is appreciated since apparently some people’s gender reveal parties involve some odd activities such as cutting in to a cake of a women’s stomach to reveal the baby’s gender. So Sunday was a gathering dedicated to a new life coming in to the world, which at first appeared to stand in stark juxtaposition to the events from Saturday. But in a way both were celebrations of lives, those leaving us and those who have not even met us yet, those who have already accomplished so much and those that are full of potential. As two journeys come to a close and those travelers leave this world, new lives will soon enter this world to begin a journey of their own.
These are just some thoughts that crossed my mind as I think back on the events of that weekend. One of the messages people kept reiterating at the memorial service was that my Grandparents would have wanted us all to make the most of our lives, just as they had made the most of their own. I believe those words are fairly common at memorial services, but they are still good words to live by. Thanks for reading and please leave any comments you may have below.