They once dwelled among us, the people of memory
They who knew us, they who taught us,
They who hurt us, they who loved us.
They touch our lives time and again,
through their presence and their absence.
Through familiar scents and favorite songs,
Through old stories and renewed sorrow.
As the earth turns and leaves fall,
We reach back to renew the bonds between us.
With hearts and hands open
We hold onto love,
Ever-stronger than death.
We reach back in gratitude and understanding—
Without our time together,
The pain and the joy,
We would never be who we are today;
We would have little to pass on ourselves.
Without fear, with thanksgiving
and with hope for all that awaits,
We remember those who have gone before,
We honor the circle of life and death,
And our place within this sacred thread.