Author Topic: Reflection for a Hospice Memorial Service: June 4, 2009  (Read 5006 times)


  • Guest
Reflection for a Hospice Memorial Service: June 4, 2009
« on: June 05, 2009, 09:12:17 AM »
Hospice Memorial Service, June 4, 2009
St. Mark's-in-the-Bowery, New York, NY

   On behalf of Allison Maughn our CEO, thanks to all who have come tonight.  Could we see the hands of all the CHC staff and volunteers with us here?  Thanks to the clergy and members of this historic church.  St. Mark?s in the Bowery is Manhattan?s oldest house of worship in continual use and has a record of service to the neighborhood and the poor and also to the art, dance, poetry and jazz communities.  Thanks to the musicians who play for our memorial services, especially to the talented and inspiring Jahneen Otis, director of music.

   Tonight in this historic place, in this sacred space, we come together to reflect on who and what we have lost; we come to find ourselves in the present, to imagine the future. 

   Peter Stuyvesant, first Dutch Governor of New Amsterdam, is buried in this churchyard.  His farm ? or Bowery ? was just east ? at Tompkins Square Park.  The street around the corner outside is named for him, Stuyvesant Street, and is said to be the only street in Manhattan that runs true east-west.

   We might think every city street goes east to west, but evidently not so.  Smug New Yorkers tell tourists the way to learn the streets is remember, the odd always go west.  In fact, streets run southwest to northeast.  But not Stuyvesant Street, its path is true east-west. 

   Orientation and direction are important to keep in mind, because those of us who are grieving are probably disoriented.  If we feel lost, we may be looking for clear direction in our lives. If we feel confused, as if walking through a maze, we pine to see how and where we will emerge.

   A woman who was grieving the loss of her husband told me she kept going around in circles of denial.  ?What?s that like?? I asked.

   ?It?s like I know he is really gone but I still cannot believe it.  Kind of like when you misplace your wallet and you keep returning to the same dresser drawer because that?s where you last remember seeing it.  But it?s still not there.  It?s never going to be there, it?s somewhere else.  My husband is somewhere else, but I can?t stop looking for him here.?

   Somewhere else: one of the great philosophers of the 20th century said there is nothing in the next world that isn?t also already in the one we have.  By this I think he means that we may expect to experience completely the good things we already have at hand. 

   For me the list includes friends and family, wisdom and adventure, all the colors of creation, the dynamic of art, music, dance, design, and architecture; living creatures, great and small, and food and drink and taste and texture and scent; light, love, and the presence of God.   
   Tonight may this sacred, historic place become significant in a personal way.  May you find here a tribute to your loved one.  May you discover a hint of new possibility in your life.  May you be assured by companionship, have your strength a bit renewed, and experience some of the peace and love you so devotedly gave of yourself. 

   If any of this happens here, you will have been able to reflect, discover yourself in the present, imagine the future; and know that truth will orient your direction and accompany you on your way.

« Last Edit: June 05, 2009, 09:14:55 AM by wpurdy »


  • Guest
Music Therapy
« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2009, 12:31:52 PM »
I wanted to let people know about our hospice's music therapy program and invite Rima Starr to tell about some of the work she's doing with her intern from the New School.