During the final months of our family member’s life, we made missteps and sometimes fell short in our efforts to honor her by ensuring her final days on Earth were as comfortable as possible. That is why we wanted to hold a celebration of life service that fully respected the innate goodness of our loved one, that honored her life of struggle and the selfless way in which she lived. Maria did all of that and more.

Through hours of listening, and many more hours of writing, Maria was able to craft a story of our loved one that described her essence and what she had been through and overcome in her life. While we had thousands of experiences with our loved one during her lifetime, in our hour of grief, those experiences were challenging to properly articulate — they all seemed to meld together. Maria was able to help us find special moments that were hidden in the recesses of our minds and use them in her remarks. When we weren’t able to provide the most complete description of an event, Maria somehow filled it in.

She did a number of other amazing things, too. She rolled with the flow when something unexpected happened during the service and handled it compassionately and professionally. She also added a beautiful extra touch to the service that helped show the generations of family members in attendance how we were all connected to our loved one. Most of all, she created a service that was tailored to the unique needs of our family. We wanted a positive celebration of life service that adhered to the traditions of our loved one’s deep and abiding faith but that also kept the focus on her. Maria found the right balance.

I am so thankful that Maria was recommenced to us and that she was available to perform this service honoring our family matriarch. My only regret is that Maria and our loved one were unable to meet. She would’ve adored Maria.

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