I had the opportunity this morning to do something I've wanted to do for a few years now.
Every year there is a multi-faith, public memorial here in LA - the annual Burial of the Unclaimed - something that has taken place since 1896. The cremains of all the unclaimed souls are buried together. All those who passed alone - without a family, without a friend, without anyone knowing that they left this plane - and for some, that they ever even existed. Today I had the privilege to stand with so many others who braved this unusually cold and rainy day to say that their lives DID matter, and they DID NOT leave unnoticed. (Interesting that on this same day there was a presidential funeral - the pomp and circumstance only comparable to the reverence I witnessed at the historic Evergreen Cemetery this morning.)
Having been blessed with a huge family who always knew what each other was doing - from graduations to births to marriages and divorces (and everything in between - trust me), it's hard for me to even image being alone on this journey. I feel like my family is a tribe of souls who vowed to witness each other on this adventure, with the promise of seeing each other safely Home. Gratefully, I have never known being invisible to family - or friends - in this life. I realize in coming back to LA that this is a luxury I have taken for granted when I see how many all around me are without.
We ALL have our own divine reasons for being here, but on days like today I suspect that our biggest shared reason is to simply see and acknowledge each other - to the best of our ability in any given moment. Just to say hello for a moment. Maybe catch someone's eye. I hope that if I had the opportunity to cross paths with any of the souls we honored today, I might have given them a smile in our short time together. I suppose it's never too late, and I know by this point in my life that it's NEVER a small thing to keep each other company, even if for just a moment.
To all of the 1457 brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, and children who were unclaimed this year, I thank you for your presence.