On Monday I attended a Memorial Service for a friend. She was a vibrant teacher and non-profit organizer and was very well loved throughout her life. The service was held at Umlauf Sculpture Garden near Zilker Park in Austin, and which is a perfect spot for a memorial.
The service, from a personal view, was moving, heartfelt and clearing. I felt I had closure with her death, even though I continue to be naturally sad. Grief takes it’s own time, and I allow it’s journey.
From a ceremonial standpoint, the whole thing was just lovely. There was a string quartet that played for seating, and then played a short selection between each speaker, making the entire service feel like one poignant symphony. Her friends read poetry they had written for her, and there were several personal stories related. Creating a tone is one of the most important parts of ceremony creation, and they got it just right – it was lyrical and poetic and flowed with the love of her friends and family. It included humor, seriousness, and grief.
The setting was beautiful – an arching pergola in an open area surrounded by lush growth and tall trees: Charles Umlauf’s sculptures scattered throughout the property, on hills and in nooks, and a stream sweetly meanders through it, birds bathing and trilling in happiness.
One of the most unique things I’ve ever experienced with a funeral happened the next day. Her partner sent an email to everyone, with her “response” to the ceremony. It was touching, funny, and very connecting. I felt his deep love for her, and her voice spoke through him. ”She” talked about the poetry and the people that attended, and had comebacks to some jokes that were told. I think it was a very loving thing for him to do, and will remember it always.