We gathered in the basement family room, a grand space with big-screen TV, family portraits, a fireplace and fully stocked bar, to remember a loved one we’d lost. Friends and family, young and old, we were having an informal service, a quiet kind of wake. Our minister was an aging hippie who spent decades as a missionary on the Amazon, and he told us stories of how the Amazonian tribes deal with death and loss.
“What we must always remember,” he said, “is that she is always with us and always will be with us, watching. And sometimes, when the stars are right, you’ll know she’s with you.”
At that moment, from upstairs, came the voice of a little old lady: “Helllllooooo?”
It was a late arrival to the service, surprised to find an empty house. But it sure lightened the mood, and everybody laughed, which is the way she would have wanted it. The way I’d want it, too. Death is a serious business, but if your legacy is laughter, you’ve done all right in life.