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.

Leave a comment
Name*:
Email:
Comment*:
Please enter the numbers and letters you see in the image. Note that the case of the letters entered matters.

Comments

Please wait

Previous Posts

2023 - January - Gazette - Choices in the care of the deceased

Choices in the care of the deceased I received a call from the daughter of a 96-year-old woman who had died. The daughter was looking for someone to officiate at her mother’s funeral service,...

2023 - January - Town & Gown - Loss, Grief, Gratitude and Humor

Loss, Grief, Gratitude and Humor When I was invited to write a piece for the Pink Zone insert, I wondered what I could say to be helpful. I have never had breast cancer or been treated with c...

2022 - December - Gazette - Resolutions or Intensions

Resolutions or Intentions I’ve never been a person who is drawn to making New Year’s resolutions. Primarily because if I want to make a change in myself, I’ll make the change when I realize I want...

2022 - December - Gazette - 2nd Annual Luminaria Memorial Display

 2nd Annual Luminaria Memorial Display Last New Year’s Eve, I picked up my parents from their local retirement community and took them for a drive in search of a very special light show. As i...

2022 - November - Gazette - What Really Matters

What Really Matters “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” As we begin this holiday season, I invite all of us to contemplate these words from writer Annie Dillard. How do ...

2022 - November - CNN - Dogs know just when we need them most ...

We're grateful to Madeline Holcombe with CNN for including Koch Funeral Home and Monroe, our grief therapy dog, in her story about how dogs impact grief. Thank you, Madeline! Read more here. 

2022 - November - Town & Gown - Funerals Provide Support and Help Us Heal

Funerals Provide Support and Help Us Heal We shared stories about this veteran’s life, listened to his favorite music and said a prayer. After leaving the funeral home, we gathered at the gravesid...

2022 - October - Gazette - Healing Through the Holidays

  Healing Through the Holidays Growing up, my older sister had a poster of a sad clown in her bedroom with the words, “Share with me my sadness and I’ll share with you my joy.” That sentimen...

2022 - October - CDT - Active Life - Allowing Nature to Help Us Heal

Allowing Nature to Help Us Heal  “Instead of seeing natural things as merely objects to be used, we must allow nature to enchant us.” These words of writer and Franciscan priest Richard Rohr ...

2022 - September - Gazette - The Work of a Funeral Director

The Work of a Funeral Director I had the honor and privilege of traveling around Pennsylvania for two weeks this September making presentations to funeral directors at the Pennsylvania Funeral Dir...