Thursday, May 7, 2009

Leif's Memorial Service at St. Petersburg Unitarian Universalist Church - April 29, 2008 - Homily, Psalm, Poem

The conclusions of our memorial "celebration of life" service for Leif included Beethovan's Moonlight Sonata, played by Ms. Byrne and then the homily delivered by Rev. Manish Mishra. We met for several hours with Rev. Mishra, telling him Leif's life story and his difficulties, depression and loneliness. He gave us a view of Leif's life which was moving and sad, and truthful, which was what we wanted. Following the homily, Ms. Byrne played Unitarian Hymn #123, "Spirit of Life."

Then Leif's sister-in-law, Darlene, read the Twenty-Third Psalm.

Then we all recited Christina Rosseti's poem, "Remember," in unison.

Remember me when I am gone away,
Gone far away into the silent land;
When you can no more hold me by the hand,
Nor I half turn to go, yet turning stay.
Remember me when no more day by day
You tell me of our future that you plann'd:
Only remember me; you understand
It will be late to counsel then or pray.
Yet if you should forget me for a while
And afterwards remember, do not grieve:
For if the darkness and corruption leave
A vestige of the thoughts that once I had,
Better by far you should forget and smile
Than that you should remember and be sad.

The Rev. Mishra gave the Benediction and Extinguished the Chalice. The last piece of music played by Ms. Byrne was, "Think of Me" from "Phantom of the Opera" by Andrew Lloyd Webber.

The photos of Leif's parents beside the memorial table, and Leif's older brother, Peter and his grandmother, Marion Kundiger with them, shows his photograph, the unlighted chalice, and the composite photo of Leif's life that Darlene made for us. On the last photo of the table, you can also see his folded memorial American flag from the military honors ceremony and the lei-draped photo of life, as well as the small infantry statue with the plaque Leif's father made to honor him when the army denied him his medals due to his asthma, and maile lei and green ti leaves from Hawaii. The beautiful leis and ti leaves were sent to us by friends in Hawaii, Bud and Barbara Kagan. The lei has dried and still hangs like that on the same portrait of Leif.

Beginning tomorrow I will post some video of parts of the service.
Thank you to those who gave permission to post their photos, and to those who took them.

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