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Watch Clip-  People will forget them EB

See the entire interview with Echo Bodine “what happens when people die” on Youtube


At the 87th annual Academy Awards on February 22nd, 2015- Meryl Streep gave the In Memoriam address. Of course it was beautifully written, but her delivery was transcendent. She spoke with such poise, compassion, depth of feeling and eloquence. If only we could each have her attend our funerals and have her grace send us on our way.

“In her memoir, Joan Didion said this about grief- A single person is missing for you and the whole world is empty…

As we reflect tonight on the loss of so many talented people this year it’s hard not to feel that emptiness because in the time they had they filled our lives with so much.

Whatever role they played in movie making, the films that they were part of made us laugh and think and cry and consider life with fresh eyes.

They tickled us, raised our spirits when we needed it, challenged our minds and shocked our complacencies.

Through their work they shared a piece of their soul and so we will miss them with the same sadness that we miss an old friend. But their work will stand and remind us how lucky we were to have them with us for a while.

There will never be anyone like them, each and every one.” © The Academy of Motion Pictures.

Day of the Dead (Spanish: Día de Muertos) is a Mexican holiday observed throughout Mexico and around the world. Originating with the Aztecs, the holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died. It is believed that during these few days of the year (Oct 31-Nov 2) the dead can visit and partake once again in their favorite worldly pleasures, especially food and drink. Shrines are created for each dead person including many of their favorite foods, drinks, hobbies, passions etc. After families clean off and decorate the graves of their loved ones, some stay up all night telling funny stories about  the deceased and socializing with one another. They may even hire musicians to entertain them throughout the night. Blankets and pillows are placed on graves to warm and allow rest for the dead once they return from their long journey. It is a festive celebration where the dead are “alive” again with those who love them.

Joan Rivers died on September 4th, 2014 at the age of 81.

A comic legend, her send-off was exactly what she would have wanted. Howard Stern remembered her with touching references, but more importantly, with some very dirty jokes. Offensive enough that at first the attendees were struck silent – until they remembered who they were honoring, and burst into laughter.  Closing with a song by Hugh Jackman, the service concluded with a standing ovation.  She was honored just as she wanted, with her star shining, laughter and applause.

(Image From CBS Evening News) In her 2012 book, I Hate Everyone … Starting With Me, Joan Rivers wrote the above passage regarding her funeral, to her daughter Melissa.


The story behind one of the most amazing architectural works in the history of mankind is a love story, and a death story. In 1628- Shah Jahan became the Emperor of India. As a child he and Mumtaz Mahal were married in an arranged ceremony. Though he had other wives, she was by far his favorite. Tragically, Mumtaz Mahal died while giving birth to their 14th child.

In memory of his beloved Mumtaz Mahal, Shah Jahan began building what he envisioned would be the most beautiful and elegant mausoleum the world would ever know.  It took 22 years and the labor of 22,000 people and 1,000 elephants to build. The level of detail in every inch of the interior and exterior is hard to fathom, with ornate carvings or gemstone and marble inlay on every possible surface. It is surrounded by expansive gardens and smaller structures.

Upon his death in 1666, the Shah Jahan had his body placed with Mumtaz Mahal in the tomb.

The Taj Majal is a tomb. A Mausoleum. In the most simplistic terms- a grave.  A grave that is still considered to be one of the most amazing works of architecture ever conceived and is listed as one of seven ancient wonders of the world.

Fast forward to 2014– where people don’t want any fuss, bother or expense. They want to be scattered or don’t want a marker of any kind. They want to quickly move past a death and not feel or delve into the pain of a loss.

Is this indicative of our instant gratification, quick and easy, electronically detached, don’t stop to feel- culture? Do we no longer believe we are worth being remembered?

If one life inspired the Taj Majal, isn’t every life worthy of an engraved piece of stone and a day of reflection?

I sure hope so.

Tumilson was killed in Afghanistan August 6, 2011, along with 21 other Navy Seals when their chinook helicopter was shot down by Afghan insurgents. At the funeral on Aug 11, 2011 in his hometown of Rockford, Iowa – Hawkeye, Jon’s Chocolate Lab, led the family as they walked down the aisle toward the front of the church. The family had always referred lovingly to the dog as “Jon’s son”. The family sat but Hawkeye continued to the front and flopped down below Tumlison’s casket with heart-wrenching sigh. He layed there in front of the 1,500 in attendance until he was finally coaxed to stand and leave. The photo displayed behind the casket is that of Jon and Hawkeye together on the beach in San Diego.

Hawkeye was taken in by Tumilson’s great friend, Scott Nicholas.

One day, hopefully many many years from now, when Hawkeye passes away, his collar or dog tags should live on in Jon’s Memory Keeper.

YOUTUBE LINK-  10 Year Old Boy Celebrates Grandfather


An unexpected speaker stands up at his grandfather’s funeral service and gives an incredible celebrant speech.

He even ends his speech with uplifting thoughts of all the ways his grandfather will live on. Awesome.


  adamlane85 (Adam Lane) – DeviantArt

February 2014, O’Connor Mortuary in Laguna Hills CA, was gracious enough to invite me to attend their Celebrant Training with Doug Manning and Glenda Stansbury. What an amazing experience! Thank you so much Jeff Turner and Neil O’Connor for extending me this honor. Thank you Doug and Glenda for the pleasure of getting to meet you and learn from you. Once back in Colorado, Horan & McConaty gave me the opportunity to perform my first celebrant service on behalf of one of their wonderful families. The path of the In Loving Memory Box has been an interesting and incredibly fulfilling one that has unfolded in front of me. I have never been more sure of the need for it than I am now- through the eyes of a certified celebrant.

A celebrant service was recently conducted for the tragic loss of a baby boy. The family requested that people attending bring a 1st birthday card to the service. They requested that people write a birthday wish. When people arrived without a card, they had extra cards on hand that they so they could collect birthday wishes from EVERYONE who attended. These were all placed in the decorated Memory Box. What a wonderful idea and amazing remembrance of this baby boy. At The Copa by Betsoft

This family did an amazing job of customizing their Memory Keeper to represent their Mother.

“We loved working on the box; It tells her story.”

“We are happy to share it, if it helps another family, that is good”

What an inspirational way to start 2014!