Sunday, April 10, 2016

Mark's Memorial Service

Mark's memorial service was held on Monday, 21 March 2016 at the Holladay United Church of Christ, about 10 blocks from our house. We didn't attend that church, but we had both been in it once, and I liked the windows and the view of the mountains in the distance. 

Mark and I never really discussed what the service would be comprised of. He was never interested in talking about it. In the end, we ran out of time, and I put together a program of which I think he would have approved -- everything, that is, except being the center of attention; he would have hated that. 

Cynthia Shumway, who had officiated at our commitment ceremony in August 2013, agreed to conduct the service. It began with a musical number performed by my daughter Rachel (at the piano) and her friend Maddie (on the violin). It was a song that I had never heard of until introduced to it by my daughter, Hannah. A few days after Mark died, she sent me a link to the song, saying that she couldn't get it out of her mind and that it spoke of what she and the other kids felt about Mark's all-to-early departure from our lives. I'm including a link to the video below.

Members of Mark's family listening to the music

Mark's mother

Mark's brother, Tim, spoke first

Me, my daughter Hannah, her daughter Hazel, and my daughter Rachel. My oldest son, Adam, is sitting behind us.

Rachel, my son Nathan and his girlfriend, Aubrey

My son, Aaron

My eldest daughter, Sarah, and her husband, Dave


The Koepke Family

Scott Jolley, a member of Mark's ER physician group who had known and worked with Mark for 20 years, was the second speaker

Me and Hannah again

The third speaker was Erin Shadbolt, who spoke on behalf of the hospice group for whom Mark worked and who took care of Mark during the last 10 days of his life

Hannah delivered a very emotional address directed at her siblings, talking about what Mark meant to all of them and what he had taught them about love

Brandon performed the two songs that had been our musical vows to each other at our commitment ceremony: Elton John's "Love Song" (Mark's) and Scott Alan's "Always" (mine). (See below for a video of "Always")

Mark loved going to yoga during the last few years of his life until, in July of last year, he was no longer able to go. It seemed eminently fitting to end his memorial service the way most yoga classes are ended: with a meditation, a reflection upon the practice of yoga and of life, and the final salutation of "Namaste," in which the light in both the teacher and the students is acknowledged and celebrated.

To end the service, I asked my own yoga teacher, Trista Winder, to sing an ancient Sanskrit chant, to offer a final meditation and to lead us in acknowledging the "luminous presence" (to quote one special friend) Mark had been in our lives and the same light that exists in all of us.

With this introduction, below is a video that was made of the entire service.

Photographs by dav.d photography