There are at least two reasons for memorial services. One is to grieve the loss and celebrate the life of a friend or loved one. The other is a ritual line in the sand of grief to say that it is now time to move on. Yesterday’s service for Lloyd did both of those things. The church was filled to capacity with standing room only. It was a testimony to how many different segments of society that this man touched. But we left the church knowing that it was time to move on with our lives, but carrying with us the memories and gifts Lloyd left with us.
When I started the fire out in the shop this morning to take the chill off for the puppies Connie is fostering, Lloyd was there. To lay the fire in the stove I sat on the stool that he made—a stool equally useful for support while throwing clay on the wheel as well as for sitting in front of the stove. The fire seemed reluctant and so I tried the first of a sack of kerosene sticks that Lloyd made for just such purposes. As the stick quickly ignited and encouraged the struggling fire around it, I was once again thankful for this good friend, who though dead was present with his fire stick to help me get a warm fire going.
Even when the fire sticks are gone, all of the things he made or repaired around here—so well made that they will doubtless outlast me—will continue to ignite memories of this good man.
But now it is time to move on. While death and grieving are a part of life, preoccupation with them is sickness. We can’t do anything about what has passed and do not know what tomorrow will bring. All we have is the present; that’s why it is called a “gift.” I’ll try to treasure that gift, as I know Lloyd did, and celebrate the time I have with friends and loved ones.