Jim Henson Memorial- Frank Oz
Sometimes you leap into something because you think you know something and then you quickly find out you don’t know that much at all.
In the last few weeks I have been thinking about the value and/or purpose of funerals; do they matter or not? I often meet people who say, ” Just cremate me and scatter my ashes. Be done with it. Don’t waste the money. ”
I happen to know a family that did just that; No memorial, no flowers, no nothing. I don’t judge, it was their choice and they seem very content with the decision. On the flip, there are funerals as large as the one just held in South Africa for Nelson Mandela. So, it seems, like people, funerals come in all shapes and sizes.
As I thought about the advantages of having a funeral, I thought about the eulogy. Recently I asked a friend to write me a poem about Love, she’s not dying or anything, just something I asked her to do. She has been trying to learn more about love in ways she hasn’t done before in her life. I admire her willingness to try to learn more about love, she is almost 90.
When she read her poem to me, about love, it was simple. The whole thing didn’t seem like a big deal. I smiled, I didn’t have much to say, she was disappointed. I just didn’t see anything too extraordinary at the time. However, I video taped her and after I reviewed the recording, I started to see her heart. How did I miss it when she read it to me? Her heart seemed so obvious on the recording. I was feeling sort of blind. I started to realize how subtle some of the most powerful moments in life can be. Ugh!!! Love is sneaky! THAT seems SO UNFAIR. So often we think of love as this huge, obvious, earth moving moment. What if the majority of the love we receive in this life is almost invisible and very close to being silent? What if it’s often very hard to see? Why is that?
So what’s this got to do with eulogies? I watched a number of eulogies online and they all seemed to have something in common, small little moments like the one I’d just lived with my friend and her poem about love. They all seemed to recall small little moments that seemed insignificant at the time but seemed to mean so much once the person was gone forever. Eulogies remind us, we don’t’ always see love, but we feel it for a lifetime. Eulogies remind those of us who continue on, we too have the ability to share love in ways we don’t always imagine or realize.
Do funerals matter? Do memorials matter? I think they do. Why? Because they are a lovely human ritual we do to remind ourselves, and others, we care about being human, we care about those around us, and that love matters. Funerals or memorials, they are a time we dedicate to honor love even when it’s obvious and hard to say out loud. We brave up to stand and say, love was important. How often do we do that? Not often enough.
I thank the muppet family for sharing this eulogy. They had every right to keep this eulogy private. I hope the love in this video finds a way to touch anyone who sees it.