2019 - Nov - Gazette - It's a Wonderful Life

By: Jackie Hook
Thursday, November 28, 2019

 

It's a Wonderful Life

One of my all-time favorite movies is It’s a Wonderful Life! When I was a child, it was shown multiple times each holiday season and every time Zuzu said, “Look, Daddy. Teacher says, ‘Every time a bell rings an angel gets his wings,’” and Harry Bailey said, “To my big brother George, the richest man in town,” I’d tear up. These days, it’s only on Christmas Eve each year so I have to make sure to catch it and get my fix.

I think everybody should have the opportunity to be George Bailey and see what the world would be like if they never existed. If you haven’t seen this film, the synopsis is George Bailey gets into financial trouble and thinks his family and the rest of the world would be better off without him. Clarence, an angel trying to earn his wings, is given the task of helping George find his love of life again. To do so, Clarence takes George into a world where George had never been born and shows him the impact he’s had on the world. As a result, George longs to return to his life, even with its financial troubles. In the end the community of people he impacted come to George’s rescue, Clarence earns his wings, and George is dubbed the richest man in town.

I have people in my life who I want to learn the lesson of how they’ve mattered; you probably do too. Why not tell them by finishing this sentence, “Because of you…?”

Recently I walked into Mount Nittany Middle School to co-facilitate the HEART – Helping Empty Arms Recover Together – Grief and Loss Support Program. Not far from the entrance, I saw a beautiful bulletin board display with the prompt, “Because of you:” and responses such as: “I regained my confidence.” “I am here today.” “I knew everything would be okay.” What a great way to let others know what they mean to you and also remind you that, as the words on the bulletin board said, “everything you say and do has an impact!”

When I work with people who have lost a loved one, they are acutely aware of the impact one person has on others. They experience the loss of that every day. With our December theme of “It’s a Wonderful Life,” we want those who are bereaved to feel the comfort of remembering how their loved one impacted them as well as realize how they themselves can continue to impact others. We also want the bereaved to feel the importance of gratitude. I often say that grief and gratitude are two sides of the same coin, although, no one says it better than Kahlil Gibran:
 

“The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain. Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter's oven? And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives? When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.
When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.”
 

We’ll talk about these topics of grief, gratitude, the impact lost loved ones had on you and the impact you have on others on our December’s Monday’s Moments blog posts on the Koch Funeral Home website and at our Monday’s Moments Complimentary Luncheon in December. Details about this luncheon and other upcoming gatherings are below:

  • Monday’s Moments Grief Education and Support Complimentary Luncheon – “It’s a Wonderful Life,” Monday, December 2 from 12:00 to 1:30 p.m. at the Courtyard by Marriott, 1730 University Drive, State College.  Email Jackie@JackieHook.com, call 814-404-0546 or sign up on the Koch Funeral Home Facebook page to RSVP by Wednesday, November 27.
     
  • Death Café, the third of Monday of the month, December 16 from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. at Webster’s Bookstore Café, 133 East Beaver Avenue, State College with complimentary desserts provided by Webster’s.
     
  • Surviving the Holidays Education and Support Session, Thursday, December 19 from 5:30 to 6:15 p.m. at the Fireside Lounge of Grace Lutheran Church, 205 Garner Street, State College. Email Brenda Oyler Kim at Brenda.Kim@junipercommunities.com by Monday, December 16.  A light dinner will be served. This will be followed by an ecumenical Blue Christmas service in the sanctuary at 6:30 p.m. for anyone feeling a little down at a time of the year when so many others seem to be celebrating. All are welcome and no RSVP is required.

For more information about these programs, please visit Koch Funeral Home website’s Bereavement Gatherings and Events section under the Local Resources tab. All of these events are open to the public and space is limited.

We hope you experience many “It’s a Wonderful Life” type moments this holiday season.

Jackie Hook, MA, is a spiritual director, celebrant and end-of-life doula.  She coordinates the Helping Grieving Hearts Heal program through Koch Funeral Home in State College.  For more information, please call 814-237-2712 or visit www.kochfuneralhome.com.

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