As we journey further into the 21st century, we’ve become more reliant on technology than ever. From the phones that we can’t tear our eyes away from, to the entertainment sites we love to stream, technology has embedded itself so deeply in our everyday lives, that we don’t know how to live without it. This is true for mortuaries as well.
So much of our process has been streamlined through tech. We don’t really recognize how much of a crutch it truly is, until we have to work without it.
The day Martin was scheduled to be buried was the day of one of the biggest storms Los Angeles had ever seen. The service was going beautifully, and the video tribute was just about to begin when the entire chapel went dark.
One of Martin’s daughters scrambled to the back of the chapel and asked me “What are you going to do about this?”
What could I do? I couldn’t control the weather and magically make the power come back on. Then, I remembered the emergency candles.
I called my coworker over to help me and we gathered as many candles as we could find, placed them all over the chapel, and lit them. I then frantically googled a short poem related to “stormy weather” and came across a piece by Lisa Wagner called “The Storms of Life”. I walked to the front and clapped three times to draw the attention of the room and informed the crowd that the storm was getting pretty bad outside, but it reminded me of a poem that might be fitting. I then read the poem and once I was done, invited each person to share when Martin had helped them through one of the personal storms in their lives.
About 3/4 of the way through the shared memories, the lights came back on, and I was able to breathe a sigh of relief. We played the memorial tribute video and concluded the service without any additional issues.
In the moment, my heart was pounding, and I was so nervous, but it worked out.
I weathered the storm. We all did.
"The Storms of Life”
When rain clouds gather before an approaching storm,
darkening even the brightest sky…
it seems as if the sun decides that to shine at that moment
isn’t even worth a try.
And when life follows an overcast path,
bringing clouds of sadness and pain-
Keep in mind that the flowers needs both the warmth of the sun
and those gentle drops of rain.
So stretch your hands wide and lift your head up
to see the determined blue sky creeping through…
and remember that by patiently waiting for the storms of life to subside
the sun will once again shine its light over you.