2021 - December - Gazette - Life, Love and Light
Life, Love and Light
If you’re driving on South Atherton Street in State College this New Year’s Eve, we hope you notice the luminaries on Koch Funeral Home’s lawn. Each one of these luminaries represents an individual cared for by the Koch staff in 2021.
As you view these luminaries, we encourage you to do three things. One, take a moment to honor the life of these individuals. Two, send caring wishes to the families who loved these individuals. And three, just as Thomas Campbell once said, “To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die,” recognize that the light of these individuals lives on in this world – just as it lives on in the hearts of their families as well as the Koch staff who feels privileged to have served them.
Many people wonder how it can feel like a privilege to serve families in the funeral business. They think this work is only about death, sadness and darkness. Although death, sadness and darkness are part of the work, it is more about life, love and light.
It’s about caring for and honoring a life that ended and helping the lives left behind begin their journeys in healthy and healing ways. It’s my experience that because of this work, the Koch staff has learned to really appreciate the gift life is.
This was made clear to me a few years ago when I contrasted the culture of Koch with another organization. I was in this other organization’s building searching for the office of a very longtime employee. After walking down a quiet, sterile hallway, I stopped into an office to ask for directions. The individual I asked did not welcome my inquiry and denied knowing the person I was seeking. When I eventually found my contact, the office was only two doors away from where I asked for help. I left feeling a lack of life energy in that building. My next stop was Koch Funeral Home. When I entered there and spent time with the staff, I felt an abundance of life. I see life everywhere in the funeral business.
Funeral work is about hearing, honoring and sharing many stories of love. When I create and officiate at a service, I first sit with the family and their friends to learn about the deceased person’s life. I learn about likes, dislikes, adventures, challenges, values and what mattered most. What shines through all of these stories is love – the love the deceased felt and the love the loved ones continue to feel. We grieve because we love. I see love everywhere in the funeral business.
Additionally, funeral work is about light. It’s the light of someone’s life we celebrate. It’s the extinguishing of this light we mourn. And it’s the recognition that this light lives on in the world that gives us comfort. I see light everywhere in the funeral business.
The Koch Funeral Home staff offers this luminary display to remind us of the friends and neighbors we’ve lost this last year and to remember their life, love and light. It’s life, love and light we talk about in our grief education and support events and gatherings too. You are invited to the following:
- Monday’s Moments Virtual Gathering, Mondays, January 10 and February 7 from 12:00 to 1:30 p.m.
- Virtual Grief Healing Circle, a Healing Circles Global Program, Wednesdays, January 12 and February 9 from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m.
- Monday’s Moments at Millbrook Marsh, Mondays, January 17 and February 21 from noon to 1:30 p.m. at Millbrook Marsh Nature Center. Please register by visiting www.CRPR.org.
- Death Café Virtual Gathering, Mondays, January 17 and February 21 from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.
- HEART Grief & Loss Support Program Virtual Gatherings for Parents Who’ve Experienced Pregnancy and/or Early Infant Loss, Thursdays, January 20 through February 24 from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m.
- State of the Story, Monday, February 28 at 7:00 p.m. at Webster’s Bookstore and Café, 133 E. Beaver Avenue, State College
For more information, please visit the Bereavement Gatherings and Events page on the Koch Funeral Home website. To reserve your spot and receive the invitation links, email Jackie@JackieHook.com, call 814-237-2712 or visit the Koch Funeral Home Facebook page @kochFH. If there are changes to our in-person gatherings because of COVID, we will provide updates on the website.
We wish you a 2022 full of life, love and light!
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.