Here I am, somehow standing in for this person
we have all gathered to honour and farewell.
I have listened to family and friends,
asked questions to elicit the fullest picture,
the roundest sense of the life at the centre of our ritual.
And here I am, holding it all,
the balance of dignity and lightness,
truth and compassion, sorrow and hopefulness.
In the face of death I am alive, fully present,
every cell seeming to take in and give out what is needed.
Who am I serving in this cherished role?
I am serving the deceased,
standing in the midst of her family,
listening on her behalf,
open to the shades and the nuances.
I am serving family members,
each different in relationship and perspective,
each creating their piece of the remembering.
I am serving friends, colleagues,
anyone who needs to mark an ending,
to say goodbye,
to use the efficacy of ceremony
to be with their regretting and their gratitude.
I am serving the professionals –
the funeral director,
crematorium and cemetery staff,
musicians and bearers
by attending to the details
so the process is orderly and timely.
I serve healing,
for a funeral that is fitting and meaningful
and invites participation
sits well in our bones,
and the journey back to wholeness can begin.
And over and around all this there dwells a larger picture,
a sense that we are held, each one of us,
in something sacred,
and far beyond our knowing.