Sunday, June 26, 2016

Heinrich Malling's Service

Heinrich Malling Remembered, Honored

after the service, a woman in her 80’s
leaned over to me and ventured 
that one piece of her shops at funeral services
for how she’d like hers to be,
we agreed that Heinrich’s service was wonderful,
a model for how we’d like ours to be,

we agreed that the unique, extraordinary man was central to it all:
story after story each painted loving pictures
of a friend, a husband, a father—larger than life;
he was already a big man physically,
add the overwhelming, honest, exuberant personality
and Heinrich was as a friendly giant to all of us,
the hole he leaves bespeaks 
the fullness with which he lived his life—
we honored his drive to understand, to connect,
to believe in you,
thus making it hard to deny the greatness in yourself
yearning to breathe free,

the service opened with Native American flute music
followed by words: stories from friends and family,
a few moments silence,
and then extemporaneous messages from those
feeling and answering the call to share,
moving on to an African drumbeat,
powerfully echoing the beat of the human heart,
as his children tearfully, lovingly place
the heart of cedar box with his ashes into the orange clay hole,
white roses follow it into the earth before clay comes to fill it,
a final poem to honor Heinrich and the ripples from his life,
and we move on to visiting and sharing refreshments with each other,
we all knew Heinrich better from the service,
and we knew our grieving better, too,

we are such stuff as love is made of,
let us love, and honor Heinrich, 
as do his wonderful children with their lives,
and as does the bright flame of his wife with her life.

by Henry H. Walker
June 25, ‘16

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