Excerpt from Ceremonies of Remembrance and Farewell
For centuries philosophers, anthropologists, historians, writers and poets have tried to distinguish what there is about human beings that sets us apart from the thousands of other species on earth. The answer is really quite simple.
We love each other.
And though the daily news seems filled with evidence to the contrary, human beings alone love and care for each other far above the simple devotion of a mother for her children or a husband for his wife. Indeed, that special gift that makes us human is not what we do with our minds, but what we do for each other with our hearts.
Our ability to love, and our need to be loved, engenders uniquely human emotions--compassion, jealousy, forgiveness, joy. And sorrow. We alone know that earthly life must end, and we alone experience the pain of loss when that end comes for one we have known, one we have loved. For us, love endures beyond life. That is our blessing, but also our curse.
"When my brother Jack died, I did what I think he would have wanted, but I did what I wanted too, which helped me deal with the sudden end of more than fifty years of friendship. I guess what they say is true; funerals are for the living. But for me, that's Jack too. His spirit is living, living in me, and it always will."