Memorial Reading


Below is the Reading by Rev. Karen Hardy, delivered at our Memorial Service after the School tour.


Just at the moment someone says "She is gone"
Others take up the glad shout
"Here She comes!"

Death is nothing at all. It does not count. I have only skipped away into the next room. Nothing has happened. Everything remains exactly as it was. I am I, and you are you, and the old life that we lived so fondly together is untouched, unchanged. Whatever we were to each other, that we are still. Call me by the old familiar name. Speak of me in the easy way which you always used to. Put no difference into your tone. Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow. Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes that we enjoyed together. Play, smile, think of me, and pray for me. Let my name be ever the household word that it always was. Let it be spoken without an effort, without the ghost of a shadow upon it. Life means all that it ever meant. It is the same as it ever was. There is absolute and unbroken continuity. What is this death but a negligible accident? Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight? I am but waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near, just round the corner. All is well.

I love this quote and have used it many times.  The loss of a loved one is probably the most difficult time in life.  The Bible doesn’t say not to grieve….  I can only speak to Christianity and it says that if one dies, we don’t grieve as those who have no hope.  We have hope today knowing 2 things – that these friends are in heaven right now, and we can see them again.

Today we celebrate the lives of those teachers and classmates who were an integral part of our journey into adulthood.  A time when we were trying to figure out who we were and where we were going in life.  One minute we wanted to be that child with few responsibilities.  No worries of shelter, food, clothes or medical care.  No bills to pay.  The next, we wanted to be that adult – doing what we wanted, in control of our lives, making our own decisions.  And there were always the pressures – do I fit in, do people like me, am I wearing the right clothes, and of course making good grades and deciding who we wanted to be as a grown-up – what college should I attend.  These people traveled that road with us.  Sometimes we have great memories, sometimes those memories fade.  But we do know that these classmates and teachers died way too soon.  10% of our class is gone.  We feel sad, scared that we might be next, helpless.  Sometimes in loss we either turn to God or away from God.

People often wonder what it is like to die…  A wise mother explained it like this…Her son developed a fatal disease.  The disease progressed rapidly.  At first he was unable to go to school.  Then unable to go outside to play and finally confined to his bed.  One day the question his mother dreaded most came.  “Mommy, what’s it like to die?”  Though she had prepared herself for that moment, she couldn’t handle it when it came.  She left the room, and there in the bathroom she prayed for strength and wisdom.  When she came back into the room she said, “Honey, remember when you were little and you would fall asleep in the car?  The next morning when you woke up you would be in your own bed.  Do you know how you got there?  Your father came and lifted you up and gently carried you to your own room.  That is what it’s like to die.

And so, our friends, these classmates and teachers, were gently lifted to be with a loving God.  And, I believe we will see them again one day.  And so today, let’s remember them, think about how they influenced us on our journey.  Celebrate the gifts they shared with us.  Give thanks for their lives and being a part of ours.

And now, let us pray …..

Oh God of grace and glory, we remember before you this day our brothers and sisters.  We thank you for giving them to us, their friends, to know and to love as companions on our earthly pilgrimage.  In your compassion console our loss.  Give us faith to see in death the gate to eternal life, so that in quiet confidence we can continue our course on earth, until we are reunited.

Rev. Karen Hardy