Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Signs of Our Faith: A Program about Being UU Every Day for Grades 2-3

Taking It Home: Memorial Rituals

I would like to believe when I die that I have given myself away like a tree that sows seed every spring and never counts the loss, because it is not loss, it is adding to the future life. It is the tree's way of being. Strongly rooted perhaps, but spilling out its treasure on the wind. — May Sarton, American poet and novelist, in Recovering; A Journal

IN TODAY'S SESSION... children learned that our reverence for life shapes the rituals we, as Unitarian Universalists, use to honor people who die. We talked about memorial rituals and enacted one. The children heard a story of the death of Jesus and what happened afterward, adapted from a story by the late UU religious educator, Reverend Sophia Lyon Fahs. The story emphasized that by remembering those we love who die, we ensure that their spirit lives on although they are physically gone. The group learned about memorial rituals in different faith traditions and explored some ways Unitarian Universalists have memorials.

EXPLORE THE TOPIC TOGETHER. Talk about... the congregational contributions of deceased members. Did a departed member plant a garden? Were some late members involved in the Civil Rights movement or another justice cause? Did a member who has died begin a tradition the congregation continues today? Help keep their memories alive by sharing stories with the next generation.

Family Discovery. How has your family memorialized loved ones who have died? Discuss a memorial service or funeral the family attended, and talk about the ways that engaging in the ritual with others was a source of comfort. Or, did someone in the family feel they wanted to be alone to remember and mourn in their own way? Talk about making space for all kinds of memorials.

Family Ritual. Has your family owned pets that have died? If you can, visit a beloved pets burial place or gather around a container that holds its ashes, and sharing stories about the pet. Do you have new pets? Point out that we can honor the pets we have loved in the past by taking good care of the pets we have now. Passing along the love you learned from the past pets is a good way to honor their lives.