FROM THE PULPIT: Memorial service set for All Souls Day
I have often heard people express that one of their greatest fears is they will die alone, with no one to know what had happened or that they had left this earth.
I have heard this deep regret expressed. “I feel horrible that I wasn’t there when he/she passed away. I wanted to give a final goodbye.”
And when someone was able to be present at the time a friend or loved one breathed their last, there is a sense of relief. They say, “I’m glad I was there at the time she/he died. They didn’t want to die alone.”
An unfortunate fact of life is there are those who do pass away alone. Whether because of estrangement from family and friends, or mental health issues, or any number of other considerations, some people pass away not having anyone to take notice, or to give thanks for their life and contributions, or to mourn their passing.
Since this time last year in Okaloosa County, nearly 50 individuals passed away in such circumstances. When this happens, it falls to the county to care for the remains of such persons.
But rather than simply ignore the worth of a person’s life, County Commission Carolyn Ketchel, with the assistance of religious leaders throughout Okaloosa County, has provided memorial services so no one is forgotten.
For the past several years, religious leaders have planned and carried out an ecumenical and interfaith memorial service at Beal Memorial Cemetery in Fort Walton Beach. People have gathered from near and far to offer prayers, hear scripture read, and sing hymns.
This year will provide the same opportunity as nearly 50 deceased persons will be memorialized as they enter their final resting place.
At 10 a.m. on All Souls Day, Monday, Nov. 2, there will be a memorial service for those whose cremains will be interred at Beal Memorial Cemetery. Their lives will be celebrated, their memories honored, and they will not be forgotten. Their names will be read and then entered into a Book of Life kept at the cemetery office.
No one should die alone. No one should leave this earth being seen as unworthy of a meaningful burial. No one should leave this earth without being remembered and celebrated.
You are cordially invited to attend this memorial service. I lovingly encourage you to attend to help us remember these children of God and commend them to the loving care of God.
The Rev. Mark Broadhead is pastor at Laurel Hill Presbyterian Church and First Presbyterian Church of Crestview.