James' memorial service was yesterday. I wish I could capture everything about it...some of what the reverend said, and all of what family and friends said, was especially meaningful.
I want to share what we do have, though...the prayer, readings, and our own memories we shared during the candle lighting ceremony. I don't know why, but I want to put it "out there" (here). Maybe it just feels good to talk about him, or to keep thinking about him.
In any case, this is all we have that was written for James' memorial:
Memorial for James
•Prayer by Aunt Marilyn:
Dear Lord, embrace James and grant him a place where peace and only peace can live, where music fills the air, and where the sun is always bright, and warm breezes blow gently and all is love.
You have called James to you and set him free from earthly cares. May he play happily in heaven, humming his favorite tunes,
having the cool waves splash over his toes, and showing all how fast he can run!
Help him find his way to the arms of those who love him and are waiting to embrace him. Let James snuggle is the arms of his
Nana as they share his favorite books, especially A Bushel and a Peck ! And Lord, bless James, love him, and protect him always.
I am the soft stars
that shine at night
Do not think of me as gone
I am with you still
in each new dawn.
•Reading from Plato’s Dialogs (Matthew)
A reading from Plato’s dialogues:
But the soul, the invisible part, which goes away to a place that is, like itself, glorious, pure, and invisible into the presence of the good and wise God – will it, if its very nature is such as I have described, be dispersed and destroyed at the moment of its release from the body, as is the popular view? Far from it. The truth is much more like this. If at its release the soul is pure and carries with it no contamination of the body, then it departs to that place which is, like itself, invisible, divine, immortal, and wise, where, on its arrival, happiness awaits it, and release from uncertainty and folly, from fears and uncontrolled desires, and all other human evils, it spends the rest of time with God.
•Guitar piece by Chris (El Dia de Novembre)
•Reading from The Little Prince (Molly)
From The Little Prince
In one of the stars I shall be living. In one of them I shall be laughing. And so it will be as if all the stars were laughing, when you look at the sky at night. You, only you, will have stars that can laugh!
And when your sorrow is comforted (time soothes all sorrows) you will be content that you have known me. You will always be my friend. You will want to laugh with me. And you will sometimes open your window, so, for that pleasure. And your friends will be properly astonished to see you laughing as you look up at the sky!
•Open portion of the service, when people can come up at share their memories of James
•Candle Lighting Ceremony: Michael and Elisabeth
[Michael and Elisabeth will stand at the front of the chapel and read the following:]
We’ve gathered together today to remember James. When we think of him, we think of the gifts he gave us. The unique perspective he gave us as parents, family, and friends. When we light these candles, we want to remember the best about James…the gifts he gave us in his lifetime, and the gifts we will always have because of him.
The first candle represents Joy
James was a joyful little boy. He had a smile that would light up your entire day, and it’s what people remember most about him. Simple things made him so happy. Splashing in the waves, running after his brothers, singing songs together. James’ happiness was so abundant, so genuine and full. Seeing a person so purely happy is rare, and a joy itself to see. James gave us that joy over and over again in his life, and we are thankful.
The second candle represents Gentleness
If James could have spoken, he never would have said a bad word about anyone. He was kind. All he ever wanted to do was to be happy and to be happy with you. His touch was gentle, his looks were gentle, and his kisses, little nudges with his forehead, were gentle. A lot of what he loved to do was quiet and peaceful: listening to music, looking out the front windows, reading books, and cuddling. He was a gentle little soul.
The third candle represents his love of Chaos
We called James Captain Chaos. He delighted in anything unexpected, sudden, or loud, and he seemed to have a sixth sense for locating chaos. Splashing in waves at the beach was an obvious example, but there were little every day things, too. Stub your toe? Drop a fork? Curse while balancing the checkbook? Even if he was out of the room, you’d hear him giggle. He also loved fireworks, baseball games, loud birthday parties, and the happy screams of kids running around the house. His own fearlessness seemed to come from his love of chaos…no matter his physical abilities, he would run full force into the activities he loved. Tripping was funny, despite the bumps and bruises, because it assured a loud bang. His delight at being surprised, and his laughter at little exclamations and misfortunes helped us to laugh at life, too.
The fourth candle represents Strength
Looking at James, his skinny little self, you might not think of strength. But if you look at everything he accomplished in his lifetime, and what he overcame, you can’t help but recognize his strength and persistence. James learned to crawl when he was two, walk when he was three, and run when he was four. Through years of seizures and two brain surgeries, James kept working, unfazed, to become the strong, capable boy that we knew this last year. He did it all with such a willing spirit, and he never seemed discouraged, never seemed to see a limitation. Watching him carry on, without complaint, made us so proud and gave us courage to face our own challenges.
The fifth candle represents Goodness
James had something we called “the look.” He would approach you and look right into you…connect with you, deeply, for a short special moment. It gave you a feeling of being so close to him, so loved. “The look” was the essence of James; warmth, kindness, love, and pure goodness. He was a beautiful boy in so many ways. The very name “James” evokes that beauty for us. When we say it or think it, all the pride and love, all the good things about James, are expressed and felt. We feel the goodness of him and how much we love him.
As we light our candles, let’s remember the special little spirit that he was. Let’s remember how much joy he gave us, how much laughter, and how much courage. Let’s smile to have known him, to have learned from him, and to have loved him.
Elisabeth and Michael will each light a candle and light the candles of the first person in each pew. Once all the candles are lit:
•Play song: In This Heart by Sinead O’Connor
At the conclusion of the song, Reverend H will close the candle ceremony with something like:
As we release the flame from our candles, we say goodbye to someone we loved. We say goodbye to James.
•[Closing prayer/blessing by Reverend H]
End of memorial service.
RedOak ~ Momma to DS (8) , DS (4) , DD (3) , & DD 9/10 ~