Sarah York opens her beautifully-crafted book, Remembering Well, with the very personal story about how her family chose to pay tribute to her mother. "My mother died in April 1983... She didn't want a funeral. 'Get together and have a party,' she had said when the topic was allowed to come up." However, she was quick to tell readers that the survivors did not honor the request. "We needed the ritual. We needed to say good-bye, but we also needed a ritual that would honor her spirit and would be faithful to her values and beliefs."
When Ms. York acknowledges the position of her family—that they needed not a party
but a ritual—she teaches us all something important: the celebration of life events we plan with families should be shaped as much by their own emotional and spiritual needs as their desire to celebrate the life lived.