This year the chaplains at Iolani decided that we will celebrate All Saints Day through two weekly cycles, and today I played Ralph Vaughan Williams “For all the saints” as the opening hymn. Next week students will be invited to bring photos of their loved ones who have passed on, and will bring the pictures to the front of the chapel for prayers and a special time of remembrance.
We also had a guest homilist, Bob Kane, who is a new teacher on campus this year. He actually contacted me in late August because he had heard that my husband, Carl Crosier, was in hospice care at that time. Because he is in fact teaching a class about hospice and the kinds of responsibilities families take on during this period, he asked whether his students could come and visit. After a short consultation with Carl, we set up a tentative appointment. Sad to say, just two days later, Carl suffered a stroke and was transferred to a facility in Ewa Beach, so the class never got a chance to visit. But what was really amazing, is that they all signed two cards — one addressed to Carl (even though probably none of them had met him) and one addressed to me.
Here is a sampling of what the students wrote:
As I listen to Mrs. Crosier’s beautiful organ music, I will remember you. I wish you much happiness and will keep you in my prayers.
I was really looking forward to meeting you. I honestly think that we would’ve had a great conversation about music and life. Please watch over us as we embark on our journey. God is very lucky to have gained a probably beautiful, kindhearted angel.
I’m keeping you in my prayers and wishing you calm peaceful days hearing the beautiful organ music.
You have touched all of our hearts with your music. You’ll be in our prayers.
You are in our thoughts. There are so many out there whose hearts you have touched.
In today’s homily by Bob Kane, I found these words of his comforting:
In all my years of hospice work, I have often heard the dying, especially those very close to death, say the same thing: “I want to know that someone will remember me. I want to be sure that somebody remembers those things I did with my life. I want those I loved to know that I loved them, and that I too, was loved.” And so it goes that we, who are left behind, bear witness to their loved ones’ lives.
The writer J. Phillip Jones tells us that perhaps the greatest way in which we can honor a loved one’s legacy is to choose to live out a good quality that they possessed. A father was kind, and we choose to live a kinder life. A grandmother was compassionate, and we choose to honor that quality in our life. Grandpa made us laugh, so we choose to honor him by bringing humor into our lives. In this way, our loved ones’ legacies live on for generations to come.
“The special relationship we had with a loved one cannot be severed, even by the death of the physical body. Deep inside we know that the powerful tie of affection – soul to soul – is still there. And, at certain moments, we are certain that we feel a subtle tug on our heartstrings that feels so familiar.” Thus we never truly walk alone because we are living in harmony with our departed loved ones, honoring their lives and legacies, bonded together by a love that cannot be diminished by time, space, or even death. All we need to do is ask our hearts to recall their names, and I guarantee you that they will rush to greet you on that timeless landscape we call memory.
This Saturday, I was invited by the St. Theresa’s community to join in a special Memorial Mass on All Souls Day, Saturday, November 1st at 10:00 am, which will commemorate all the Faithful Departed, and especially parishioners who have died this past year.
As part of the liturgy, I have been invited to bring a framed 8×10 picture of my loved one for display during the Mass. In addition, bells will be rung as names are announced during the Prayer of the Faithful.
I invite you to join me in remembering the life of Carl Crosier.