Beloved, most of us would like not to taste the gift of grief, struggle to even understand it as a gift, until we have lived with it a long time, maybe longer than we knew the ones we mourn. And yet, it is a gift to be able to mourn. How do we even remember the numbness that attends great loss? We can't. We were numbed, inattentive to what was because we were stunned by what is. Yet great grief points us back to what and who we truly cherish: to the generous laughter shared that eased challenging days, to the dreams labored upon together that have not yet borne other fruits, but still are precious for their shared effort, to the quiet hours or the raucous ones, to what brought gladness and what grew thanksgiving. This is the gift of grief, part of the gift of loving and living whole-heartedly, of daring and hoping and risking, of faltering and failing and making stupid and ugly and silly mistakes: the gift is the same one as living, the same one as loving, the reminder of who and whose we are and what we are doing here that really matters. Tonight, Beloved, if we grieve, may we appreciate the gift, the whys of our sorrow, the love that called us back to ourselves, the love that still calls us back to ourselves, moment by unfolding moment. Amen.