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The Bittersweet Heart

“To let go in the deepest recesses of the heart, to release all struggle and wanting; leads us to that knowing which is timeless.” ~ Jack Kornfield

This past Memorial Day weekend was a bittersweet journey of the heart. Although we are never prepared to say goodbye to our loved ones, there was a big contrast between my grieving for my parents and what military families face. My parents had a happy 70 year marriage and lived to the ripe old ages of 89 and 92 years. Celebrating a life cut short is terribly difficult. Men and women killed in service to our country are often just getting started in their careers and marriages.

The Chaplain Memorial Church (1889-2014) in Dorchester County Maryland (stomping grounds of Harriet Tubman) opened it’s doors for our Celebration of Life event for my parents. Reverend Robert Kirkley, author of I Saw My Mother and Father in Heaven shared meaningful words about how one’s spirit lives on after leaving an earthly life.

We were also very blessed by the presence of 89 year old Reverend Luther Cornish. What a pleasure to have the pews in the little country church filled. The sanctuary came alive with his spiritual songs filled with heart and soul and deep conviction of his faith. He sang of how far he’d come. It was so very special and we felt honored by his presence.

Most of my parents peers have gone to be with their Creator yet their children, whom my siblings and I grew up with had an overdue reunion. During the gathering we shared decades old memories of Mom and Dad. Many of the stories were rather colorful, as my parents were real characters and lived life on their own terms. As my youngest niece said  “We will all never even come close to being the cool kind of people they were and living the kind of life they had!” They truly lived life til the end based on their own terms of what brought them happiness and personal fulfillment.

We felt love and sympathy from a distance from so many who knew my parents. We are grateful for each card, letter and phone call. And for those who helped us celebrate our parents over the Memorial Day weekend we were glad to share the sentimental day with you.

I’d like to end this writing by saying Happy Fathers Day to my Dad. He and Mom entered into the kingdom of heaven within a few weeks of one another. I have great faith Mom and Dad’s spirits continue on together. For those of us who knew and loved them, the beautiful memories and their strong character and values will always standout.

Chaplain Memorial United Methodist Church

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