Greeting by Nichole Torbitzky

Good afternoon, friends. On this day, this space is made sacred with the warm spirit of love and caring. For we, the best beloved of Mary Herczog, have gathered to celebrate her life, to hold her up in human memory and divine mystery, to mourn our loss and to say goodbye.
We come here first to remember Mary; to remember her at her times of breathtaking wit and creativity as well as her times of illness; to remember her as writer, theologian; to remember her as one at the front of the fight for women with cancer like hers, standing for humor and sanity and we remember her as she was in her more vulnerable moments, relying on others to care for her.

We have come to remember.

We have come also to mourn-to mourn the silent spaces that she once filled with her sharp wit and quick laughter; to mourn the empty places she once filled with her commanding presence; to mourn for the loss of love growing into tomorrow, deepening and maturing more through years of joy and conflict; to mourn for the words she might have spoken or written.

Our tears of sadness for the loss of life, full and blossoming and beautiful, mingle with tears of sadness for the loss of possibilities yet to be met.

We are here to mourn.

We are also here to grow through an end into a beginning, to let go of Mary and, with memories gathered for the journey, gain strength for moving through the days ahead without her.

It is true that Mary would be just a tich unhappy with that-us going on without her. She loved oh so much to be at the center of things. She had more living, more loving, more writing, more traveling, more jazz and more food to do. I can hear her now, as she watches, as she surely is, from whatever it is that she has gone onto, wondering why more people aren’t crying and fussing over the details of our gathering. Maybe she wasn’t ready to go, although she was ready to end the suffering. Maybe we weren’t ready to let her go, although we’re glad her pain has passed. Do we pause here today to celebrate her life and how she touched us, to mourn her death, to let go of her, and to gain strength for meeting tomorrow.