The first anniversary of a death might start with a slow, dull awareness that the weather is similar to the weather of a year ago. And the grieving person might sink a little deeper into grief again -- just when they thought thing might be easing. But this is the beginning of the next beginning. You'll find readings here for both a PHYSICAL GATHERING or a VIRTUAL GATHERING. Find ceremony templates here.
We trust that beyond absence there is a presence.
That beyond the pain there can be healing.
That beyond the brokenness there can be wholeness.
That beyond the anger there may be peace.
That beyond the hurting there may be forgiveness.
That beyond the silence there may be the word.
That beyond the word there may be understanding.
That through understanding there is love.
The sentinels of trees this morning.
I sat in the garden and contemplated.
The serenity and beauty
Of my feelings and surroundings
Completely captivated me.
I thought of you.
I discovered you tucked away
In the shadows of the trees.
Then, rediscovered you
In the smiles of the flowers
As the sun penetrated their petals
In the rhythm of the leaves
Falling in the garden
In the freedom of the birds
As they fly searching as you do.
I’m very happy to have found you,
Now you will never leave me
For I will always find you in the beauty of life.
Before the sublime mystery of life and spirit,
the mystery of infinite space
and endless time, we stand in reverent awe . . .
This much we know:
we are at least one phase of the immortality of life.
The mighty stream of life flows on, and, in this mighty stream,
we too flow on . . .
not lost . . . but each eternally significant.
For this I feel: The spirit never betrays the person
who trusts it.
Physical life may be defeated but life goes on;
goodness lives and love is immortal.
They who stand with breaking hearts around this [little] grave, need have no fear. The larger and the nobler faith in all that is, and is to be, tells us that death, even at its worst, is only perfect rest. We know that through the common wants of life—the needs and duties of each hour—their grief will lessen day by day, until at last this grave will be to them a place of rest and peace—almost of joy. There is for them this consolation: The dead do not suffer. If they live again, their lives will surely be as good as ours. We have no fear. We are all children of the same mother, and the same fate awaits us all. We, too, have our religion [belief], and it is this: Help for the living—Hope for the dead.
We are not sure of sorrow,
And joy was never sure;
To-day will die to-morrow;
Time stoops to no man’s lure;
And love, grown faint and fretful,
With lips but half regretful
Sighs, and with eyes forgetful
Weeps that no loves endure.
From too much love of living,
From hope and fear set free,
We thank with brief thanksgiving
Whatever gods may be
That no life lives for ever;
That dead men rise up never;
That even the weariest river
Winds somewhere safe to sea.
Then star nor sun shall waken,
Nor any change of light:
Nor sound of waters shaken,
Nor any sound or sight:
Nor wintry leaves nor vernal,
Nor days nor things diurnal;
Only the sleep eternal
In an eternal night.
--by Algernon Charles Swinburne