The Quakers I know don't have funerals; they have memorial services, often some time after the person has died.
Judy suffered from a cancer that ate away the right side of her face; she bore it all with great courage, went on about her business "fighting for peace", and for all the good causes she had embraced, and loving a great number of people in a very personal way.
She died a couple of weeks ago, and we held her Memorial Service at the Meeting House yesterday afternoon. Just about everybody who belonged to the Meeting was there.
About half the people there had something to say about Judy, all complimentary and many quite moving. One man, with great emotion, told how Judy had helped him reestablish his life after he had given up hope.
This was not a sad occasion, but a victory celebration. There were some funny stories about Judy. I'm going to share one that I heard with great appreciation.
"Judy lived in an upper floor of a condo. She had a cat who had lived with her for many years and was very gentle. But the cat loved to go up on the roof to survey the scene.
"On one occasion there was a visitation of birds who had left droppings all over the tin roof of the place. Judy was sitting by her window looking out when something flashed by the window on a downward course.
"Judy thought "oh my gosh" and flew downstairs to see if her cat was still alive. She find it standing there, calmly washing herself as cats do.
"Judy was like that cat in one respect; she had taken many hard blows, but maintained a beautiful level of poise and spirit through it all."
Many people confess a fear of death, but I've never observed that among the Quakers I've known; I think it's probably because they all lived pretty good lives.