Monday, March 12, 2012

A Celebration of Jud's Life

We held Jud's Celebration of Life at Plymouth Congregational Church in Minneapolis on March 4, 2012 at 7 p.m. It was a beautiful service. The sanctuary was lit by candles, lending a soft, gentle feeling as we moved into the night.

A Lakota Flutist began the ceremony played improvisations of Jud's favorite hymms. Jud was involved with the Native American from the time I met him.

Two very talented sopranos sang Pie Jesu (Andrew Lloyd Weber) and The Lord is My Shepherd (Brother Jame's Aire). The congregation sang "Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee" and "For the Beauty of the Earth," the traditional version.

Psalm 139 was the selected Bible verse.

"Oh God, you have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up."...
Where can I go from your spirit?
Or where can I flee from your presence."

Echoed on the front of the bulletin were words that became a sort of "mantra" to Jud and me.
"We cannot go where God is not."
Sometimes spoken, when I when through a period of struggle...
"We cannot go where Love is not."

Seven friends from different areas of Jud's life gave short talks about him, which made us both laugh and cry.  Our friend, Laura, read the Mary Oliver poem, The Summer's Day, which ends with the challenge, "Tell me, what are you going to do with your one wild and precious life?" Another friend read a Gaelic Blessing which goes...

Deep peace of the running wave to you

Deep peace of the gentle night to you

Deep peace of the quiet earth to you

Deep peace of the shining stars to you

Moon and stars throw their healing light on you.

Deep peace of Christ
Of Christ
The light of the world to you.

Deep peace of Christ to you.

Deep peace to you. 

Our minister gave a lovely homily and talked of his lack of anger or lament about dying. She felt he was truly at peace. She spoke of the many hours the three of us sat and talked, cuddled up with Sophie and Harvey on our green couch. Those hours were truly special and gave us time to discuss so many important concerns together.

At the end of the service, each family member chose a candle to add to a table in front of the altar, The table was draped with a star quilt, given to us by one of Jud's Native American patients when Kat was born. We had large shot of Jud as a baby on the left side.

 Kat and I were standing on the other side after we lit our candles. There was a large current picture of Jud on this side. Kat (bless her heart) put her arm around me.

Cath, our minister, who has been so present for Jud and me during his illness, lit the candle of the deacons who in turn...

...lit the candles of the first person in each line. They passed the candlelight down and we saw...

...a splendid sea of candlelight, the light of Christ and of all our family and friends. As the candles were lit, the soloist sang the same song, Deep Peace, that our friend, Brooks, had read. The service ended with a resounding, "For the Beauty of the Earth" by John Rutter. Jud wanted the song presented "both ways."

We ended in Guild Hall of our church, where we greeted and thanked many family, friends and  colleagues who had supported us so in so many ways this year. They held us up with food for our bodies and our soul. We are all so grateful. 


  1. Sending big hugs and prayers your way.....k

  2. I was just thinking about you when I saw that you had posted. Thank you for sharing this with us, it's so very moving, deeply moving.
    My love to you and Kat.

  3. Dear Suz.
    I so wished I could have been there.Sending my love and big hugs,

  4. oh dear ones ... you are precious to share this with us ...
    Jud lives on in so many hearts and minds ...
    thank you for sharing him with us I feel richer and blessed...

    Wishing I could reach out and hug you big time

    thinking of you all the time

  5. {{Hugs}} Thank you for telling us about it.

  6. I haven't been very good about keeping up with reading blogs lately, but I happened to catch this post. I was sorry to learn about Jud's passing, but know he's at peace. What a wonderful service that must have been. You're in my thoughts and prayers.

  7. Oh, Suz. I can honestly say I've never seen anything so touching. When I came to the photo of all the candles, I gasped out loud.
    What a beautiful service for a man who was and is well loved. May the memories of this time bring you and Kat much peace during the months to come.
    love to you.

  8. Dear Suz
    What a beautiful farewell to your precious Jud! I am so moved by Deep Peace to the point that I have a video of it at the bottom of my blog. I put it there when my beautiful 90 year dad died in August last year.
    May his deep love live on in you and bring you comfort over the coming weeks and months. You are well supported and loved by so many even here in the blogging world!
    Big hug to you,
    PS I did send you an email but not sure if you received it!

  9. Suz, thank you for sharing this beautiful farewell with us, the photo of the candles and the words moved me to tears. Sending you hugs Mx

  10. What a beautiful, beautiful ceremony Suz. It is clear how loved and cherished Jud was and IS. The photo of all those people with candles gave me chills and exemplified the love everyone was feeling for Jud. Praying for you and thinking of you, xo nat

  11. Looks like it was a beautiful service and tribute to your dear Jud. Loved the cradle idea.
    Thinking of you as you move ahead.

  12. So beautiful, thoughtful, and caring...the candlelight service awed me. Such a wonderful tribute to your Jud! I feel blessed by it...thank you for sharing, Suz. Hope you are doing ok~ a BIG XO being sent your way!

  13. What a beautiful service Kat. Thank you for sharing it with us and sharing Jud for all those many months. I hold you in my daily prayers. Hugs!

  14. A beautiful service and celebration of life. Thinking of you, Kris

  15. Thinking of you today. What a beautiful service.

  16. The pictures are beautiful and it made me smile and get goosebumps and loved you are! Thank you for sharing these, thank you! Hugs and love,

  17. What a beautiful service that must have been. What a wonderful life Jud lived and he touched so many lives... you and Kat remain in my prayers.

  18. My darling friend.... I am reading with great sadness that Jud has passed away! I know how much you loved each other and what a profound sense of grief you must feel. I am so sorry for your loss!!!
    I wish I was there to hug you and offer comfort.
    You were so fortunate and smart to take so much time together over the last 14 months. Those memories you made will sustain you when you feel lost and lonely.
    How lucky you were to have had each other!!
    I love you Suz!!

  19. Suz you have such grace and amazing strength. Jud's celebration of life was the perfect way to honor him and all he did. Family and friends add to your strength. The candles are magical. I continue to think of you and keep you in my prayers. I am so thankful to see you visiting my blog and commenting. Healing Hugs my friend...

  20. Dear Suz, your loved Jud had a beautiful celebration of life, and cervice.
    Your husbond is loved by so many, which this fantastic light photo shows, really good.
    Suz, I hope you cope in your new life, my friend , and thank you for visiting my blog, and for your kind words to me.
    Love and hugs, Dorthe

  21. Gosh I just felt so sad as I looked at your pictures. I love how everyone got to hold a candle. I just know Jud was there to see it. I'm glad you received my post card safely. You are in my thoughts!
    Sandy xox

  22. Dearest Suz and Kat,
    You have been close in thought each day. Thank you for sharing this beautiful celebration. Truly beautiful.......and the last photo of everyone holding a candle is burned in my memory...such a tribute of love. So very, very beautiful. xoxox Rella

  23. Suz,

    What a beautiful celebration of life! The picture of the candlelight is so incrediable! You and Kat are in my prayers.

    Sending love and hugs your way,


  24. Such a beautiful memorial, Suz. Love is everywhere in the light.

  25. My dear Suz,

    I just was thinking of you on TUESDAY, and had a feeling that life was being transformed for you AND JUDD. His life is carrying on now, and I just knew it. I prayed for you and here you are. We must get together when you are able. I cannot wait to meet you. Thank you for taking the time to come to visit and we shall talk.

    I am running late for work but I wanted to stop by to greet you and extend my warm wishes for a life of great memories and joy for having a GREAT LOVE IN YOUR LIFE!!

    Peace to you dearest, Anita

  26. Suz,

    How magnificent. A celebration of light to show how much Judd made a difference on earth. You know this ceremony must have made your heart so warm. No words that I could say can remove the pain of grief that you are going through. My heart aches for how hard it is for you and Kat to say goodbye. Yet, how blesses you both are to have had the gift of someone in your lives, who was so loved and loving.

    I will ask God to give you extra Grace today, to cover you in His peace. You have been on my mind and in my prayers everyday.


  27. Oh Suz, what a beautiful memorial service you held for Jud! The candle ceremony looks so very dear! I am glad you have had loving supportive people around you this whole time. I am keeping you in my most loving thoughts.

  28. Suz, What a beautiful way to celebrate Jud's life! It brought tears to my eyes when I saw all the candles lite. He touched so many lives.
    Your still in my prayers and may you find peace in the times ahead!
    Hugs Lynn

  29. How lovey Suz.

    I am so impressed with your strength to share this here.

    I think about you and Kat everyday.

    I am so sorry Jud had to go.

  30. oh suz,
    what a beautiful tribute.
    that photo filled with candles is powerful.
    sending lovelovelove to you. + big
    hugs for your heart. xoxox

  31. Dear Suz,
    Just wanted to let you know that I emailed you at the comcast email address that you gave me, but it bounced back.
    You are in my thoughts...xoxo

  32. Suz, what a lovely tribute to your dear husband. Know that you and Kat are in my thoughts and prayers. I tried to respond to your comment on my blog but your comast email bounced back. Take care my friend. Xoxo

  33. strong suz..i am amazed by your strength . I tryed to email you a few days back and they got sent back... I knew the day was approaching but I was without words when i read your post.I hope you are being surrounded by your family and friends and that they are giving you the support you need at this time.
    If I lived close by i would bring the baby by to brighten your day
    and bring lots of deserts....
    If you want to just talk to someone I am here.

  34. A truly beautiful memorial for Jud!!! I loved every photo Suz! I am putting my arms around you in a big hug tonight, my sweet friend.
    love from here...

  35. What a wonderful service. Truly a sight with the candles!
    Blessings to you and warm thoughts and many hugs to you today and the days ahead!

  36. What a fitting celebration for Jud's life here on earth and now in the loving arms of our God. I have tried to email you several times and the emails keep bouncing back. Please write when you can at jegleason1(at)yahoo(dot)com.
    You are still in my daily prayers.

  37. What beauty in the sea of light cast from all the candles of those who loved I wish I'd known him.
    Love you friend...

  38. Suz, do you have a new email address? All the emails I send you keep getting returned to me.

  39. Oh sweet friend...I send you all my love and prayers. I am sorry I was not aware of Jud's passing sooner. What a beautiful celebration. God is amazing, and you are surrounded by so much love. Jud touched so many. Hugs dear one. xoxxo

  40. Such a beautiful honoring of a beautiful Life and Love.

  41. Sue,
    I'm so sorry to hear of Jud's passing. He was a very loved man, I can tell. I wish I lived near you so I could give you a hug. Jen

  42. Dear Suz, I missed this post. YOur celebration of juds life sounds like it was a beautiful service. I can not imagine how you are feeling. but I do hope youre finding yourself surrounded with love and peace. I keep trying to send you an email and it comes back as undeliverable. but my answer to your question is yes. can you check your email and send it to me again?

  43. Dear Suz,
    This is such a beautiful tribute to Jud and his life. The service looks like it was very special. I wanted to let you know that I tried emailing you but it bounced back. Thank you so much for visiting my blog and keeping touch. I hope you're well and my thoughts are with you.
    Big hugs,