2020 - June - Gazette - #BePresentWithKoch
Presence is important in so many ways. I’ve heard countless stories of loved ones waiting for a particular someone to be present with them before they died. I’ve also heard stories of loved ones waiting to be alone – in the presence of only themselves – before passing. I’ve had families tell me how touched they were by the presence of friends at their loved ones’ services and grieving people tell me how meaningful it was when others were simply present with them.
When we talk about being present, you may think of being mindful or mindfulness. I like what author and Benedictine Monk, David Steindl-Rast, said, “I think ‘wholeheartedness’ is the English word that expresses better what mindfulness as a technical term means; that you respond to every situation from your center, from your heart – that you listen with your heart to every situation, and your heart elicits the response.”
Being present in the moment is about listening to your heart. And listening to your heart takes courage. The root of the word courage is “cor” which in Latin means heart. It’s about listening to your heart and what it tells you about you, as well as what it tells you about those in your presence. It’s about recognizing that the most important people in the world are those who are before you at any given moment.
During the pandemic, our options of being present have changed. For health and safety reasons, sometimes we can’t be in the close physical presence of our loved ones so we try to find other ways to connect.
Thankfully, at Koch Funeral Home, the options of being present continue to grow. Since Centre County is now in the Green Phase of reopening, we are able to have public visitations and services. To follow the recommended health guidelines, we are limiting these public gatherings to 50 percent of our capacity, or 60 people, to accommodate social distancing. In addition, we are requiring mask wearing. Families who have participated in this new format have been very appreciative of the friends whose hearts said yes and were able to be present.
But maybe being physically present isn’t something you’re comfortable doing. If your heart says no, you have options as well. With remote viewing, virtual, drive-through and drive-up choices, you can be present in other ways. I’ve spoken with people who’ve remotely attended funerals and were pleasantly surprised by their experiences. They were grateful to have the opportunity to be present online knowing they wouldn’t have been there in person. In addition, they were taken by how drawn in they were to the service – to them it felt much like being physically there. To see detailed descriptions of the many ways to be present, please visit the Because Love Can’t Wait page under Funeral Planning on www.kochfuneralhome.com.
Whether you choose public, private, virtual, remote, drive-up or drive-through, remember to be present to your heart and those of people in your presence. Because we believe so strongly in the power of presence, we’re starting a video series entitled, #BePresentWithKoch. In each video, we’ll talk about a different topic. For example, in July, F. Glenn Fleming, supervisor and funeral director at Koch, will be with me to discuss being present at rituals and why they are important. For more information, visit the Blog page on the website.
In addition to watching our videos, you are invited to be present at one of our upcoming gatherings:
- Monday’s Moments Virtual Gathering – “Why Are Rituals Important?” on Monday, June 6 from 12:00 to 1:30 p.m. online. Please RSVP by July 2.
- Virtual Death Café, Monday, July 20 from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. online.
Additional information can be found by visiting the Bereavement Gatherings and Events page on the website. To RSVP and receive the online link invitation, email Jackie Hook by using the cotact form below, call 814-404-0546 or visit the Koch Funeral Home Facebook page
With a practice of presence, we hope you find what poet, David Whyte, said, “Beauty is the harvest of presence.”
Jackie Naginey 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.