Tag Archives: wake


love who god gave you

I attended another wake this afternoon.  This one was for another young woman who died too soon.  Meghan was a student from the first school I taught at.  I actually taught her brother, but the school was small, the families were close and everyone knew each other.  She was 25 and her death was sudden.

As I sit here right now, I am trying to remember what I can about her.  The Meghan I remember was a sweet little blonde girl with a huge personality!  She was a leader and had so many friends.  Her brother Teddy, who was in my class, was more quiet and reserved but you could tell that he adored his sister.  Their family was tight knit and I knew her mom well from her volunteering in the school.

I hadn’t seen the family that often since I left that school sixteen years ago, other than in occasional meetings in town or at church, yet I felt compelled to go to her wake today and offer my condolences to them.   When I got there, the line of visitors was already out the door.   Hundreds and hundreds of photos filled the funeral home and in every one of them, friends and family surrounded her.  Exactly how I had remembered her when she was a little girl and in everyone of those photos, she wore an enormous smile.  Her beauty radiated from within as she proved to be the sunshine that I remembered from elementary school.

As I greeted her mom, who was standing there like the pillar I remembered her to be, she comforted me, as much as I did her.  She offered me condolences for my mom and Francine as I offered mine to her.  She told me that my blog has helped her during this incredibly sad time.  I cannot even put into words how much that meant to me.

I greeted her brother, who has probably not seen me since he was in Kindergarten, and asked him if he remembered me.  He said, “Of course I do Mrs. Sinclair, you are the reason I am a Devils’ Fan”.   Again, nearly moving me to tears.

As teachers, we might only get these children for one year, and perhaps never see them again, but they remain in our hearts for the rest of their years, as we hope, dream and wish for them to grow into confident, happy adults.

Meghan will be missed but from the incredible show of support I saw today, she will never be forgotten.

Supporting the Living


Before the death of my mom and Francine, I had been to wakes and sat Shiva for family and friends. In most cases at these events, I was the “visitor” and not the griever. I was going to pay my respects for the person I cared about or for their family.

At both a wake and sitting Shiva, you would find a gathering of people coming together to try to cop with the death of a friend, acquaintance or relative. I realized that wakes and Shiva seem very similar in so many ways with most obvious difference being that the wake is held before the burial and Shiva is after.

I always thought about them both as a way to say goodbye. Now that I have experienced it so closely, I have come to the realization that perhaps they are not held necessarily for the deceased but for the living.

At a point that has been the most sorrowful time of my life, it has enabled us the opportunity to be with friends and family recalling good times and wonderful memories. During mom and Francine’s wakes, there was a sense of solidarity – coming together in a celebration of love for them. As each guest arrived to pay his or her respects, I found myself not only sad but also invigorated and inspired. Old friends who I had not seen in years, and new friends all came to give support to our family. There was not a lot of time to share with each of them individually, but a hug and a smile and even shared tears were enough to let us know that they were here for us and that WE are loved as much as my mom and Francine. We were able to take comfort in the company of each other as we mourned. Seeing the lines of people waiting to greet us and pay their final respects to mom and Francine, made us feel loved and supported during this incredibly sad time.

I have come to the realization, that attending a wake or sitting Shiva, is not just a time to feel sorrow and grief, but a way to acknowledge the living.

The Way She Would Have Wanted It

dont cry smile

Many people might think that if  we are mourning the death of someone, we should not be thinking about entertaining and having having a nice time.  Tonight, at mom’s wake, the mood was not somber.  Yes, it was sad.  Yes there were tears, but it was also lighthearted in some ways as well.  There were so many people who came to pay their respects to our family.  So many people that loved my mom came to show us how much that they cared about her.  There were stories shared and memories recalled.  I heard much more laughter than crying.  It seems that a gathering like this; lively and loud, may seem disrespectful to my mom but, my mom was not a quiet lady.  Anyone that knew her knew how much she loved a party.   She would not have wanted us to be there weeping by her side.  She would have wanted it just the way it was.  With laughter and love and joy being expressed by everyone.  That is the way she would have wanted any gathering that she was at, and one that is honoring her should not be any different.