Thursday, April 24, 2008


Today I went to Ruth's Memorial at the nursing home. They have one every month to remember those that passed on in the previous month. I thought there would be 2 or 3 maybe. There were 13. Friends and family gathered in the chapel, a woman sang some beautiful songs and a minister prayed, read scripture and spoke "words of comfort." There was a time to share memories of your loved one, and I took that opportunity to remember Ruth, and to thank the caregivers that had helped make her final year so wonderful. Several of them told me how much Ruth had meant to them as well. Afterwards there were refreshments someone had taken the time to make, and we all visited. I met some of Ruth's friends from "the lunch bunch." I was very impressed once again by the staff. They obviously consider their job a ministry. Actually quite a few them are volunteers. What they do is such a blessing. Every time I've ever been there, they are invariably cheerful, efficient, kind and compassionate, and professional all at the same time. It would be nice to be so well cared for, and then remembered, by such a group when it is my turn to be old!

In getting ready for the memorial, I sorted through Ruth's pictures so I could take some of her for the memory table. Of course, I walked right out and forgot them on my own table! But the process made me thoughtful. It is really weird going through someone else's memories. Some of the pictures were of our mutual family, but many were of people I didn't know, but who were important enough for Ruth to keep their photos all these years. It would be nice to know who they were. One thing I have begun doing as a result is to organize my own photos and label them clearly. The other thing is sorting through everything I own, deciding what is really important enough to keep. After all, some day it will all belong to someone else. Do I really want to dust it until then? And there was one last result of all of this. As the minister said today, how do I want to be remembered? After listening to what people had to say about their beloved departed, it seems we write our own eulogy through lots of small, thoughtful things that we do day by day more often than by one monumental achievement. The one characteristic most people seemed to admire about their loved one was some variation on the theme of, "She was old and sick and blind and alone, but she never complained!" Something tells me that takes a lifetime of practice through smaller hardships, don't you think?

1 comment:

Sew Anyway said...

Yes, absolutely - it does take a lifetime of practice. I guess I would have to say that statement "she never complained" could not be said of me. But since reading your blog, I have been both challenged and inspired. This post caused me to be more careful in what I said and more intentional about planning happy memories for my family instead of just hoping for them.

Thank you for sharing such a touching moment in remembering Ruth.

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