This is offered in honor of Timothy Paul Kretzmann, and also as an inspiration for all those who have suffered profound loss.
I share this today because a friend in another community was crying daily over the loss of Swamiji and some other members… She needed encouragement in finding a tangible way to transcend that feeling of loss and grief.
This ceremony, below, could easily be adapted in suitable ways. It could even be done in a home with a candle, a burning bowl, a photo of the beloved, and some sacred symbol that is dear to your soul. It could be done inside, or on a deck, or in a garden.
…I wondered how to honor him this day… My beloved, my husband, Timothy… What is the best way?
I lit a votive candle at a special altar in our home and kept it lit all day. I had quiet time, and also some supportive phone talks with friends, and gently relived some memories of when we first met over 38 years ago… I also wrote out some notes on how I would try to move forward, and serve others in new ways, in the name of loving and honoring him, and in gratitude for our life together.
We had a fire and flower ceremony at the special Jesus shrine dedicated to Tim’s soul (where months ago some of his ashes were placed beneath the boulder). I had been doing these sacred fire ceremonies quite frequently at a shrine on my deck, all through this year…So it was fitting to include the family now, and it was helpful to them, and to me.
- We traveled to the site, at Ananda Meditation Retreat, and first tended the shrine, and trimmed a bush that was blocking it.
- We each wrote a letter to God and to Tim’s soul – to express our love, and also to include a special prayer for ourselves and for the family – especially for Guidance on how to best proceed in our lives in a way that honors God, and this beautiful gift of having shared life with Tim, as Husband and Father.
- After a prayer – these letters were offered into the flame, to be released to God, and to Tim’s soul. We sang a very simple chant as this was happening – “God, Christ, Guru.”
- We sent quiet blessings to each family member, and for their private prayer intentions, as they offered their letter into the flames.
- We then sprinkled the shrine with beautiful rose petals, and then closed with chanting of AUM AUM AUM and AMEN AMEN AMEN
We were choked-up during the ceremony, and my grandson Bodhi’s eyes looked very concerned. Our hearts were then touched to watch little Bodhi, age 10 months, so sincerely join in those AUMs…
After the closing, the family eventually wandered off to show Bodhi the other statues in the peaceful, forest garden, but I felt a strong urge to stay put… I sat on a bench where I could gaze at the shrine bedecked with flowers, and felt surrounded by love and gentle, comforting blessings… That love lingered for days… And I knew we had found a way meaningful to heart, mind and soul, to address this sacred-yet-sad anniversary.
May all hearts be comforted and blessed.
Mary Kretzmann, and family
PS – Please feel free to offer your experiences of sacred remembrance for loved ones in the comment field, below. They may be of help to others… Perhaps in the future I will collect them together in a special booklet.
- Lisa Powers told me that years ago she had heard that Master said it was very important to honor the one-year anniversary of a soul’s passing, so she offered a kirtan and short mediation at the Crystal Hermitage Chapel for Hassi and her family of four children, at the one year anniversary of the death of Rich Bazan