Sermon for OSMP Memorial Service – September 8, 2013

We join together again this year to remember those who loved us and whom we loved in return. They were our parents, spouses, siblings and most tragically, children. They gave continually of themselves. We miss them and mourn them. Many of them lie here. Some lay in eternal rest elsewhere. They provided us with the love which is necessary for our very existence. Each of us needs to love and be loved. What do we do, however, when we are left bereft, when the source of our love, dies and is laid to rest? How do we fill that hole in our hearts? Let me tell you a story.
My almost 89 year old mother called me two months ago. She was practically hysterical. I thought she was going to have a stroke. She recently had to put her nine year old dog to sleep and she was having a very hard time. She bought the dog a month after my father died. This dog was my mother’s constant companion. It gave her a reason to get up in the morning. She had to walk the dog several times a day, which provided her with much needed company in the neighborhood. Caring for the dog helped fulfill her need to nurture. A week after the dog died she said, with tears in her voice, that she could not take it anymore, she needed to get a dog. She was so lonely. Her blood pressure was sky high and I could tell from her voice that she was desperate. She said, “Steve, get me a dog.” So after she told me what she wanted, Sally and I made a trip a few days later to a breeder in Montgomery County from whom we purchased a Miki, a very tiny and expensive “designer mutt,” a combination of a Papillion, Maltese, and Japanese Chin. My mother received the dog less than a week later at her home in Florida. Now my mother is better than ever. The dog, who is a real cutie and a delight, has given her something to love. The dog loves her unconditionally. My mother has a constant companion who brings joy and laughter into her life. A little three pound dog has saved her life.
This example reminds us that we all need to love and be loved. If we do not have a dear one to love and be loved in return, it is crucial that we find that outlet somewhere else. My point is very simple. We loved those whom we memorialize today. They provided us with emotional and physical sustenance. Without them, we need to find love through other relationships. My mother, who has lots of friends and an active social life, needed to find it in a dog. Hopefully, we will find it through other people. Though our loved ones are gone, our need for to love and be loved, continues.
Zacher livracham, May their memory always be a blessing.

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