I would have never guessed so many would be there. I was shocked to see over 100 congregates filling the small auditorium to remember “Auntie Florence”.
This past weekend I attended a memorial service for one of my aunts. She had been married to my mother’s older brother. He passed away in his 40’s while I was still very young, and she remarried a few years later.
We were not close since the family connection had been somewhat broken. My mother and her sister and others in the family kept contact (even if us younger nephews didn’t) and so when she passed just before turning 92 years of age it was a given that I would take my mother to the memorial service.
As a minister I have some experience with memorial services for those who are more “seasoned citizens”. Usually those in their 80’s or above have a rather sparse turnout for their final service. most of their friends are also gone, and unless there is a large family, there just aren’t many who attend.
As I looked around the auditorium and “measured up” the crowd I wondered who all these people were. I asked Mom if they were all relatives — she also was amazed at the number of people in the service and knew only a select few.
When the minister offered the open mic for those who wished to share their memories of Florence it became evident why the room was packed.
- She always sent me a birthday card — with special personal touches and colorful stickers
- She loved to dance — we will miss her in our “couples club”
- She was always in the nursery helping with kids
- She served on the ……..fill in the blank committee …… (there were several)
- She was always so happy / had a smile / enjoyed life / etc
This when on for a while. Even the minister (who had only been at this church for a few months) had several memories of Florence and her positive impact on lives around her.
She touched a lot of people. A lot of people came to say good-bye.
Riding home I began to think about what my service would be like. What would people say if asked to remember? Should I request now that there not be an open mic?
I didn’t know Auntie Florence well — but I remember birthday cards and gifts long after she had started her new family. I hope that some day a church full of people will also laugh and share some good memories of little things I did for them….. guess I need to start looking for those whose lives I can touch every day.