Dear Abby on Living Memorial Services

Oct 27, 2010 | 0 comments

Today’s Dear Abby column addresses the idea of living memorial services or life celebrations while a terminally ill family member is still alive.

Rabbi Albert Slomovitz wrote in that he had been asked by a funeral director to talk with the family of a terminally ill woman. He was impressed by her bravery and sensitivity in confronting her disease.

The family move up their celebrations of all holidays, secular and religious, plus birthdays and anniversaries, up on their calendars so that they could celebrate them all while Mom was still with them. This included decorating, serving food appropriate to each occasion, and even dressing up for Halloween.

Plus, the woman had invited members of her family to come visit, to give them quilts she had made over a lifetime and to say goodbye in person. She described these visits as a “living wake.”

Rabbi Slomovitz said, “Let loved ones know today how important they are to you. If there is a way of resolving a family disagreement, do it as soon as possible. Life is too short for many of these disagreements. Finally, appreciate and enjoy the time we have with family, relatives and friends. It is truly irreplaceable.”

Dear Abby replied that the rabbi’s letter had touched her deeply, and she shared a poem that was a favorite of her mother’s. Anyone know if there’s a name to credit for the unknown author of this poem?

Author Unknown

If you are ever going to love me,
Love me now, while I can know
The sweet and tender feelings
Which from true affection flow.
Love me now
While I am living.
Do not wait until I’m gone
And then have it chiseled in marble,
Sweet words on ice-cold stone.
If you have tender thoughts of me,
Please tell me now.
If you wait until I am sleeping,
Never to awaken,
There will be death between us
And I won’t hear you then.
So, if you love me, even a little bit,
Let me know it while I am living
So I can treasure it.

A Good Goodbye