By Abbey Ballard, with love

How can the trees continue to turn

And their leaves continue to fall?

When the hearts of so many are weighted with grief

As the pain of loss touches us all

How can the sun continue to set, marking another new day?

When for those left behind, time has stood still, the pain more than words can convey.

Our precious city, our fields, our streets,

Where those we have lost once tread,

Where at every turn is a memory,

Songs that were sung and words left unsaid.

Remind us of those who have left us for now,

As we long for just one more chance

To hold them close, to kiss their face, to savor just one last dance

This river that runs through our city, our home,

for now is a river of tears,

As we weep for those lost and for those left behind,

For the shortness of life and of years.

For those who have passed lived and loved well,

Though their days on this earth were too brief,

They taught us to cherish family and friends,

Leaving memories that in the midst of the grief,

Will bring light and strength in the darkest of hours,

hope in the blackest of days

When the pain tries to rob the joy and the strength,

That’s needed to live in the ways

That those who have passed would want us to live,

To honor their lives with our own

To extend their love, their hearts, their lives

To pay honor through kindnesses shown

To give ever-freely, to live to the full,

To treasure each day as one’s last

Knowing that one day reunited we’ll be

With those who have already passed

In the glory of Heaven, the love and the light,

Will surround us and wipe away tears

As we meet them again, drawing them close

Forgetting the cruelest of years.

Instead looking on to an eternity

Of life, of joy and of peace

As the heart of our faith, the pledge of the Cross

Promises life that never will cease.

So in the days between our last days and now

May we find purpose and strength in our love

For those who have passed and for those left behind

All of whom are gifts from above

May we know that the length of years of a life

Are not the true measure of worth

As each day holds promises of life and of hope

That surpasses our time spent on earth

So as our precious city continues to heal

one breath, one step at a time

In the dark days ahead knowing someday

Each heart will true wholeness find.

Never forgetting those who have passed, never being ever the same,

Always holding their memories close,

Always choosing to honor their name

With the way that we live, the way that we love

And the ways that we cherish our time,

Knowing no guilt, knowing no shame

For being chosen to stay behind.

In this world marred by pain that is yearning for love

A place where we can bring hope

Finding strength in each other, in the honor of each

The pain of whose absence we cope.

So as our river continues to flow

As the call of the train pierces the night,

Know that Heaven’s a heartbeat away, precious ones

Our loved ones may not be in sight

But they are alive beyond what is seen

More alive than ever before

As they wait in the presence of Light & of Love

On God’s celestial shore.