As one calendar year passes away, and we embark upon what we choose to consider a “new” one, I am reminded of a life that suddenly ended this time of year, not long ago. The following was written on the death of someone I barely knew, but who was deeply loved by someone I love. I send it to you in remembrance of all the lives that began and ended in the past year, and appreciation for all that will begin and end in the days to come. Many of those lives we never know, and never will, but, like all of our lives, they inevitably carry their portions of grief and joy. They are all sacred. May yours be filled with the richness and deep mystery of life.

“We are grateful for your loving presence here, to honor the life of a singular man. We have come together to reflect on a life about which each of us knew only a part. Many of you never knew him at all – but only knew of him, through your friendship with his family. His long separation from his family was his choice, and he worked hard at it. We may never know why he made that decision, but it was his. And, now, the Universe has brought us all here together to remember him.
What we do know is that he was a son, part of a family, a brother, a co-worker, and a friend, and – beyond that – maybe even much more. Only one person knew the whole story of his life: The child, the boy, and the man, who lived it. The entirety of his life belonged to him alone…
We do not honor him because his life was perfect, or close to perfect, and we need not even try to pretend that it was. None of our lives are. But his was, by any sacred measure, a real and valuable LIFE!
As we all try to do, he did the best he could with what he was given, one day at a time. He had brains and charm, secrets and shame, a will to survive, great courage, and many challenges. His deepest struggles, and his greatest victories, he took on, and accepted, alone, for many years. I like to think that he often found strength in what we have learned that he loved: His belief in magic, in mystery, in things that none of us really “understand,” but things that could be possible – life in the stars, worlds beyond our own, heroes and heroines and mythical creatures able to conquer all obstacles, in any circumstances…
And a belief that all problems may surely, somehow, some day, be resolved, if we are diligent, determined, hard-working, and hopeful.
I am sure he was all those things, even when his life may have sometimes have been unspeakably difficult, and lonely, and full of anguish.
It has been this man’s great gift to remind me, yet again, that each of our lives inevitably holds within it the possibility of both excruciating pain and of exquisite joy; that every life is truly sacred; that the Universe is full of magic; and that each and every one of us is a blessed part of it all. I am grateful for what I have learned of his life, with all its flaws, all its struggles, all its dreams and accomplishments, all its failures, all its hope, and all of its humanity… What I have learned of his life is enough, for it has given me strength, and courage, and hope.
If we grieve, perhaps it is for the realization that none of us may, now, ever know more about this very unique individual. He guarded himself carefully, and gave to each of us what he was able to share. His gifts, we have learned, were many.
When we look for comfort, let it be in our remembering that every life – however long or brief – is a great, and sacred, and joyous mystery, and that every life, including our own, merits our most profound love, our thoughtful attention, our deepest gratitude, and our greatest honor.”

Leave a comment


  1. Camp

     /  January 1, 2013

    Terrific thoughts and feelings.

  2. betseyc

     /  January 1, 2013

    What a beautiful way to enter a new year of our ongoing mysteries.

  3. Iris

     /  January 1, 2013

    What an incredible send off. Here’s to the magical, unending cycle of death and birth.
    Happy New Year, gato.

  4. Several weeks ago, I attended a wake for a beautiful young woman. There was great sadness in the room, but I could not help but feel joy as well. There were hundreds of people celebrating her life that day, hundreds of photos on display and hundreds of flowers in her honor, all bearing witness to her joy and her laughter, her love and her LIFE. It gave me pause – as did this post. Thank you for another reminder to make the most of this (right here) moment.

  5. dcg

     /  January 3, 2013


    A little hard for me to accept that final para: “When we look for comfort, let it be in our remembering that every life – however long or brief – is a great, and sacred, and joyous mystery, and that every life, including our own, merits our most profound love, our thoughtful attention, our deepest gratitude, and our greatest honor.”

    How do the HItlers, Stalins, Maos, and Adam Lanzas of the world fit here?

    I think I shall stop repeating myself about your fine writing. It reminds me of when we lived in Jamaica and for the first six months remarked each morning about what a nice day it was. Finally we realized it was always a nice day and need no further comment.

    One word on your website. It is clear, clean, easy to operate in. Would that many others we like that.


    Share this:

    • Hey, dcg… Always a delight to hear from you – and lovely to be compared to a fine, sunny day in Jamaica, especially this time of year in our necks of the woods…

      As for the Hitlers and Adam Lanzas… That’s where things can get tricky. But I think we need to look at ourselves as a species, in all our facets. If horrendous actions by one of “us” leads us to ponder even the remote possibility of the same sort of behavior in ourselves, to whatever degree, perhaps that is where they “fit in.” The longer I’m on the planet, the more I realize how little I actually “know” about the Big Picture, the Great Plan, or whatever we may choose to call it. I can only look at things that actually happen, understand that they do, and take it from there – which is far from saying everything is “just fine,” BTW. In fact, it is the “not fine” things that are often the most revealing, painful as they are. I prefer to look toward the Buddhas and the Mozarts, of course, rather than to the Hitlers and Hannibal Lecters. always remembering, though, that any of us most likely contains the potential to go either way, given the “right” circumstances… Which is why we need to pay plenty of attention to what we do, and believe, and say, as much of the time as we can.

      Best to you and the lovely L-B!


  6. vcprezofan2

     /  January 4, 2013

    I don’t think I have ever heard a eulogy quite like this one. The ones in my experience have all usually been so flowery, so focused on the person’s ‘goodness’, presenting a one-dimensional picture in a way. It’s not the normal sentiment expressed re a eulogy, but thank you for sharing this. I see tiny bits of me in it.

  7. A guy I know disappeared off the planet most unexpectedly in September. He’d only been here a few years but he made a difference for the better in everyone’s life he touched — he was one of those gifted souls who brings other souls together. I feel I know him better now than I did when he was alive, thanks to all the stories his friends and kin and casual acquaintances have been telling.

  8. lori

     /  January 21, 2013



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