EULOGY on the DEMISE of VITAL SERVICES:
At my time of life, I attend increasing numbers of funerals. As a funeral facilitator, I am used to writing orders of service for Christian, Pagan, Humanist and other funerals. Over the years, I’ve delivered eulogies in homes, churches, on military bases, in monasteries, woodlands and crematoria. But the invitation I received on Facebook to attend a funeral for vital services led to my shaping a eulogy for beloved companions I’d known and worked for over a huge part of my life. The invitation read:
“In October 2010, the country learnt of the infliction of a terminal illness on its public sector. We will be gathering on the 29th of April to hold a living wake commiserating the demise of our vital services, and celebrating all that they have achieved. We would like to take this opportunity to invite you to pay your respects.
The funeral will start at 12.30 at Manchester Town hall where you are invited to share your experiences and memories of those we have loved and will lose. We will then embark on a funeral procession bearing coffins in respect for The NHS, Education, Welfare, Immigration, Children’s Services and The Arts. Please come dressed in black, flowers are welcome. We hope that you can join us in our grief and make this day memorable”Â.
Though unable to attend the funeral due to other commitments, it seemed impolite, not to mention unhealthy, to pass up the opportunity to express my personal grief in a response to the invitation to share my feeling.
Though I am unable to attend the funeral, I too am deeply affected to learn of the demise of so many good companions in the recent epidemic. Between them, these good services nurtured me through infancy; gave me an education; inspired me to hope and to dream and in due course gave me employment as nurse, social worker, teacher, gardener and enabler as I sought to offer others the benefits the honourable departed had given me. Please convey my deep empathy with all who grieve the passing of these quality of life services.
Born out of the union of hearts and minds of good people in the long ago, those we are moved to remember today have touched each one of us along our own journeys through life. There from our birth, they have nursed us in sickness; taught us to seek and enquire after learning for ourselves; opened our souls to wonder through art, music, literature and drama and opened our national life to the tastes, smells, ideas, sounds and other qualities that are found across the wonderful spectrum of human diversity.
Naturally, right now, our lives seem far less meaningful knowing they are gone. But we must move on from this state if we are to ensure that they did not live in vain. We must move through grief to a place where our having known them can blossom into happier memories as we recall how vital they were to us and inspire us to live our lives in ways that reflect the way they once held us.
Together in the sharing of grief, we must remain together as we turn that grief into renewed determination to be what we can of justice, compassion, mercy, beauty and encouragement to each other. Seeing the way they have been treated will enable us to see through the posturing and lies of those who sully their memories with false expressions of concern for the human whole. Stepping away from the lies and illusions, working together we can and we will bring about the change that will enable the days of joy, health, learning and laughter to again be part of the lives of the children of this beautiful and diverse nation. As we do, we will be playing our part in developing a concern for all the children of the world, spreading fairness, sharing, nurture, health, and respect across the spectrum of life.
Let us grieve while we must, but let us not be so overwhelmed that we fail to work together to bring about a revival of the principles that those we mourn embodied while they were among us. ?
ÃÂ© Rev. David (Punk-Monk) Gray 2011.