Last month, a good friend of mine, Ed Judd, passed away. Today, his family and friends gathered for his memorial. His daughter read from a sermon, which was a lovely sentiment, and very fitting. It basically said (but in a much more poetic way than I am) I'm not really gone, I'm just out of sight, what we've done together still exists, what we've meant to each other won't change. I liked it a lot.
Then, anyone who wanted to say something had a chance to share a remembrance about Ed. Of course there were tears, but there was also camaraderie, and love, and caring. I hope that his family were held up a little by how Ed's friends cared and felt about him, and how much we will miss him too.
As a rule, I understand how valuable our rituals and ceremonies are to us as people. I respect them, and the role they serve, even when they sometimes seem too much planning, too much frufrau, and too much trouble. Memorial services never seem that to me. They are sad and emotional, which I - like many others - aren't always comfortable with, but they are always a way to say goodbye to someone you have cared about, and to share that loss with others who feel it, too. Being able to share that loss with others, even for a short while, somehow makes the long term grieving a little more bearable.
Be well, Ed, in whatever it is that comes after this life. We will miss you because we can't see you, and because the things - both tangible and intangible - you left behind remind us of you.