by Barbara Guarino Kruk
Webster's dictionary defines the word solace as: to give comfort to those in grief or misfortune; to console; to make cheerful; amuse; allay; soothe. Solace to me means to lend an open ear and a loving heart to someone in need. For some unknown reason we always equate the word "needy" with those lacking food or shelter or money. There are the "needy" who are poor of spirit; who are homeless of soul; who hunger for love or friendship. We can feed the hungry, we can give shelter to the homeless and money to the poor but it is hard to give someone your time; your patience and your love. As mother soothes her crying baby we can soothe a crying heart. Listen without judgement; send a note; spend a moment; make a phone call; say a prayer. Such little effort for so great a reward. The best gifts are those that come from the heart.
I am honored and proud to say that this past Sunday, December 12th, we hosted our annual Tree of Life holiday service. In spite of a torrential downpour it was standing room only. The holidays, especially if it is the first holiday after a death in the family is always the hardest. Every year we invite the newly bereaved to come to our holiday program. Why do we hold this event? Because we know the pain of losing beloved family members.
I applaud those courageous people who attended. It takes great strength to face your sorrow. Christmas is supposed to be a joyous time of the year, yet, for those in grief it can be a sad and lonely experience. Whenever people share their pain, their sorrow, with others they come to realize that they are not alone, much like when those suffering from a particular disease come together as a group they find comfort in knowing there are others who understand their specific pain. They are all survivors of one kind or another. Emotional pain is every bit as difficult as physical pain.
Coming together to celebrate the life, spirit and memory of their loved one gives joy and hope to those who are left behind. Every year I try to pick a theme for our program. This year the theme was hope. I believe hope is what sets us apart from other species.
All creature can experience fear, anger, hunger, exhaustion, thirst and so many other feelings both physical and mental. But hope I believe is truly human. I think that animals know love but I don't think they know hope. Hope is what drives us to go on even in the face of hopelessness. To pray for that miracle after we have been told that there is no cure. Hope is to dream of the future while we live in the present.
Without hope life would be meaningless. There would be nothing to strive to achieve; no goals; no miracles. Why? As we live in the present, we have survived the past which is now history, we know what is current. Hope is our future. By hoping for that which we can't see; touch; feel; smell or taste we can dream of what is to come. By dreaming of what is to come we find our faith and the promise of everlasting life. By believing, dreaming and hoping we can survive the ordeals of life. Hope is another word for faith. Faith in God.
This Christmas let us not forget the meaning of this blessed event. It was the birth of the Child of Hope.
Please remember those who are "needy" of spirit as well as those who are "needy" of body. Celebrate the memory of those who have gone before us... for we hope to see them in Paradise.
Roma Funeral Home
Phone: (631) 281-0800
539 William Floyd Parkway, Shirley, NY
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