See below for information on the Bubble Remembrance Ceremony
Not Quite Yet …
But those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up on wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31
Still waiting for that day when I get to mount up on wings like an eagle! Living in the world of a pandemic is challenging. Some of us have lost loved ones. Others live in communities barely impacted so the pandemic seems like an earthquake that’s hit somewhere else in the world. Trying to stay compassionate towards those who have experienced the pandemic differently than oneself is draining.
For weeks, one of my biggest concerns has been for those who have lost a loved one and then not been able to have a memorial service or funeral. Since March, I have lost an aunt, an uncle and one of my father’s cousins. They were all in their 90s and died of natural causes. Still, there have been no funerals. Funerals and weddings are usually a time for big family gatherings and catching up with relatives I have not seen for awhile. Those gatherings will have to wait. Maybe this summer.
The problem is our emotions do not like to wait. It’s not so easy to put our emotions on the shelf and expect them to wait for the funeral to happen. So while you are waiting for the big family gathering, it is okay to allow yourself to experience your emotions. Go ahead and unpack them. In my earlier posts I suggested a couple of journal writing exercises that can be helpful. Using shapes and colors to draw those emotions is also helpful. I hope you find these earlier posts provide creative ideas for expressing emotions in healthy ways. May you find your strength renewed as you allow yourself to release your emotions.
I would like to make another suggestion. A way for us to collectively say goodbye. A way for us to honor all the lives lost to COVID-19. For me, the thought of leaving this world as simply a statistic, one of the lives lost in the pandemic of 2020, is horrifying. That’s my emotion.
On February 15, 2004, my father died. My mother, sister, brother and I along with a few relatives gathered around his hospital bed and sang our favorite traditional hymns as he drew his last breath. In my imagination, I like to picture Angels waiting for my father on the other side, singing songs to welcome him. For my father, the concert never ended.
As the family met with the pastor to plan my father’s funeral, the pastor quoted Psalm 116:15. “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His faithful ones.” I found comfort in those words. God noticed. God was ready to welcome my father home. God was aware of our pain as well.
Given that there are already more than 200,000 deaths worldwide related to COVID-19, can you imagine the huge choir of Angels that must be gathered to welcome each of them in Heaven? Can’t you just hear the combination of new praise songs and traditional hymns along with the ancient songs whose melodies haven’t been heard for generations? To the God who counts every hair on our heads (Matthew 10:29-31), each life lost is far more than just a number. God is aware of every “homecoming.” God knows our pain.
So my suggestion is that we let those who have left us know that their lives meant something to us. It is May already. Memorial Day is May 25. At noon on Monday, May 25, let’s all go outdoors and blow bubbles. As we watch the bubbles rise, we can say, “We love you. We miss you. You matter to us.” Whether you lost someone personally due to COVID-19, or, like me, you lost loved ones and you are having to wait to say goodbye. Or maybe you simply want to honor the astounding number of people who lost their lives to this disease. Please join me on May 25th at noon. Let’s fill the sky with bubbles.
Please do not hoard the bubbles like we did toilet paper! Share with friends, neighbors, coworkers and family. Invite others to join you as we collectively say Farewell.
With each breath, may we release our sadness.
To those who left us in the spring of 2020, you matter!