With a fair amount of sadness, I am preparing to attend the memorial service of my dear friend who passed away, suddenly, earlier this month. In the first several days after his death, I checked his facebook page (and that of his mother's) several times a day. Seeing the messages of condolence trickle in made me feel better that others were grieving the loss of our friend. Some folks posted memories, others posted pictures. Probably one of the best things about our electronic world is how memorials can be created for all to see and share.
One aspect of our early days, my friend and I, was our exposure to the Friends (or Quakers) as a religion. His was much more formal than mine, but there was enough to set us apart from our peers and bind us together. He returned to the practice as an adult. My local Friends meeting is more oriented towards anti-war activism, a cause I believe in but isn't really what I need for spiritual retreat. His memorial will be in the style of the Friends.
Everyone will have their opportunity to share a memory, words of calm and peace, poetry, music, or what moves them in the moment. I expect it will be an afternoon both laughter and tears.
I've made a hotel reservation so I can spend the night. I don't want to be rushed as I grieve and say good bye. But, I've also let my friend's mother know I have an extra bed if someone else needs a place to stay in order to attend. I'm pretty sure my friend would approve. And, selfishly, I really want as many people as possible to take the time to attend. I want his mother, his wife, his children to know that we share their grief, that he won't be forgotten, and that we are a community for them.