At Broadway UMC, we celebrate All Saint’s Day (November 1) by remembering friends and family who died during the prior year. We have a collection of candles and candelabras at the front of the sanctuary that members light in memory of someone. It’s a beautiful way to keep their stories alive – to keep their memories with us. In doing so, they continue to be a part of our lives. For me, it also brings to a close that first year of mourning. While the loss and hole in our hearts never fully heal, I’m finding it’s a lot easier to move on after the “year of firsts.”
Two years ago, we included my mom and grandmother in our All Saint’s Day celebration. This year, we remembered by friend Graham Karwath.
Graham was a loyal friend – to me and many others in his life. He always “had my back,” and helped me through some tough times by listening, caring and telling my story. In turn, the trust we built over the years allowed him to open up about some of the life struggles he faced.
Graham was full of life. He loved music, loved to dance and loved to goof off. He was a hard worker, which was recognized by his co-workers and boss. He was always willing to take an extra shift or work late to help out the team. He was confident, but vulnerable; strong, but like many of us, hurt; full of joy, but knew his time here was limited. Despite his fatal heart condition, he didn’t dwell on his health but chose instead to live in the moment and enjoy life to the fullest.
Another part of our All Saint’s Day service is to list those we remember in the bulletin. The choir then takes those names and weaves them into a hymn of celebration and remembrance. Here is an audio clip of this year’s song. You’re not forgotten, Graham… (Graham is mentioned at 1:25 in this song of prayer)
(I previously wrote a short version of this post on SoundCloud, but recently realized I hadn’t finished my thoughts…so here is the updated version via by blog…)