Friendship is a Golden Chain,
The links are friends so dear,
And like a rare and precious jewel
It’s treasured more each year…
It’s clasped together firmly
With a love that’s deep and true,
And it’s rich with happy memories
and fond recollections, too…
Time can’t destroy its beauty
For, as long as memory lives,
Years can’t erase the pleasure
That the joy of friendship gives…
For friendship is a priceless gift
That can’t be bought or sold,
But to have an understanding friend
Is worth far more than gold…
And the Golden Chain of Friendship
Is a strong and blessed tie
Binding kindred hearts together
As the years go passing by.
by Helen Steiner Rice
This is Diane Lawrence’s favorite poem and how she feels about her friends and family. She is meticulously transcribing it by hand in calligraphy so that a printed copy of her calligraphy can be given to each friend and family member who attends her celebration of life services.
Diane describes herself as “head strong,” she knows what she wants and she is a realist. Last Oct. 30t, she, and her significant other, Dick, drove up to Mayo Clinic for an evaluation of her debilitating liver condition. But, she did not expect to hear the outcome of the tests — pancreatic cancer. And the doctor’s instructions to “go home and get your affairs in order.” Diane shared, “Who is going to do it, if not me?”
For the last year Diane has been getting her affairs in order and distributing favorite jewelry and keepsakes to the special people in her life, personally telling them how much they mean to her. Prayers are pouring in from eastern Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Ohio, New Zealand, and from friends at Gilda’s Club. She is feeling a higher power in her life. Together Diane and Dick have been visiting with funeral directors and planning her celebration of life party. She continued, “I envision it to be like a reunion, with people grabbing the microphone and telling good stories. I want there to be hugs and kisses plus good food and beverage. My dog, Pepper, needs to be there, too. Getting the family together is what is most important to me. I want to have it all planned.” I believe it is the best gift I can give my parents, Dick, our relatives, and friends.
With the pre-planning of her funeral complete, Diane will be able to focus on making the most of each day and prepare for her upcoming chemotherapy and surgery.
Diane Lawrence is a Baby Boomer, along with 78 million other Americans that represents 29.4 percent of the total U.S. population. Boomers are having a large impact on the funeral industry. As this sandwich generation cares for elderly parents and pre-plans for themselves, the dominant trend is to celebrate a life rather than mourn a loss. Centuries of funeral traditions are starting to be replaced with the desire to be true to the individual. No longer does one-size fit all. Funeral directors are asking, “What did your family member love to do — go fishing, do calligraphy, march in a band? Take that passion in life and build a celebration around it.”
Eric Trimble, President of Trimble Funeral Home and Crematory and licensed funeral director and embalmer shared, “I am a Baby Boomer myself, and I have found that Boomers desire customized funeral and hospitality arrangements, with personalized touches to make the gathering a one-of-a-kind celebration. I even stress to my peers, “Stop by the office and let’s put your wishes into a plan. Your children will be so grateful in knowing they honored your wishes… because you spelled them out.”
Today’s funerals and hospitality gatherings are anything but boring. They are interactive, intergenerational, and inviting. Families are hosting snacks and beverages at visitations to encourage their guests to stay and chat. Luncheons and dinners are no longer in church basements, but now in banquet facilities and restaurants. It’s all about hospitality and welcoming of guests who have journeyed to be with you.
Eric Trimble continued, “If you look up celebration in the dictionary you will see a definition to observe a notable occasion or to honor. As I think about recent services and memorial gatherings, I have seen families designing a notable occasion to honor a life, as well as celebrating that same life with a food and drink. I encourage families to find a passion, a meaning, a purpose in the life of their loved one and celebrate in their honor. In this way death is not then the end of life, but rather a notable occasion where caring people can continue to honor that life.”
For more information on pre-planning a funeral/memorial, contact Eric Trimble at Trimble Funeral Home and Crematory at 309-764-1144. For hospitality event arrangements at CityView Celebrations, call 309-764-5553. Both facilities are located at Trimble Pointe, 701 12th St. Moline, IL 61265.
Photo caption: It is important to Diane Lawrence and Dick Verschoore that their beloved dog, Pepper, be included at her life celebration.