Talk for Angelina’s Memorial Service
Given by Margie Carlson, her aunt 
In his play The Twelfth Night, Shakespeare provided an insightful exchange between Olivia, a young woman who is mourning the death of her brother, and the court clown:

Clown: Good Madonna, Why mourn’st thou?
Olivia: Good Fool, for my brother’s death.
Clown: I think his soul is in hell, Madonna.
Olivia: I know his soul is in heaven, fool.
Clown: The more fool, you , Madonna, to mourn for
your brother’s soul being in heaven.

The point being made is that we do not mourn for the souls of those in heaven. We are not here to mourn Angelina. She is an innocent child, who has returned to the home of her Father in Heaven. Rather, we have come together to mourn for ourselves and for the loss of joy that her life would have brought to us, and especially would have brought to her parents, Larry and Cleo. It has been said that mourning is one of the deepest expressions of compassion and who has left us behind and compassion for those loved-ones who have been left behind. Truly, the only way to take the sorrow out of death is to take love out of the world. Angelina had brought a special love with her to her awaiting parents, a love that no one and nothing will ever replace. Therefore, we have met together today to remember her and together mourn the joy we will miss in our lives, and that Larry and Cleo will miss in their lives.

When I was told of Angelina’s death, I was, as I know all of you were, stunned and distressed. And yet, I knew nothing of what I was feeling could in any way match the anguish of soul that Larry and Cleo were feeling. I knew I could in no way begin to imagine the pain they were feeling, the unfathomable emptiness nor the futile anger. I tried to explain to my children that which I myself did not understand. When I thought I was done crying, all through that evening I would start again. It seems that again and again I would tell the Lord that it was not fair and I did not understand. Finally an answer came, almost as if a voice spoke to my heart, “You’re right, you don’t understand.” It may seem strange that this answer gave me peace. How? Perhaps I can explain through analogy. It would be just as I , as a child, would get mad or upset with my dad when he would do something that I thought was “unfair”, (which wasn’t very often) and I couldn’t understand why. But I would be told that one day I would understand; it is also just as when I now, as a parent, make decisions that my girls think are unfair, and somehow no matter how I try, I can’t make them understand, but trust that one day they will. So it is with us and our Father in Heaven. We don’t understand now. But just as I know of my Dad’s love for me and trusted in it, just as my children must trust in my love, so must we come to trust in the love of our Father in Heaven.

I would like to share a favorite poem of mine by Emily Dickenson-

I never saw a moor
I never saw the sea
Yet know I how the heather looks
And what a wave must be.

I never spoke with God
Nor visited in heaven Yet certain am I of the spot
As if a chart were given.

When my mother died, I was a child. I didn’t understand why. But somehow I made sense of it. I had, of course, learned of heaven in church. But when my mother died, I knew of heaven. Because my mother was there, I knew there was a heaven. Because there was a heaven, I would always have a mother. This may seem, to some, to be a convenient faith, but that makes it none the less a true faith. The poet Carolyn Pearson expresses this well in one of her poems:

To me Istanbul
Was only a name
Until the picture
You took
Of the blue mosque

I don’t receive
Postcards from heaven
Showing Saint Peter
At prayer
But oh – that place
Is real enough
Now that you are there.

Because there is Angelina, there is heaven. Because there is heaven, Larry and Cleo will always have their little daughter, Angelina.

My daughter brought to my attention a wonderful story the other day that I would like to share with you in part:

A young high school quarterback, who was doing volunteer work in a hospital, befriended a small boy who was dying of leukemia. The little boy’s dream was to be a professional quarterback. Before the boy died, he wrote a letter for his friend. It said:

Dear Kent:
Thanks for being my friend and helping me get better a little. I wish I could see you play football. My mom says they have quarterbacks in heaven. Maybe, we’ll be on the same team in heaven. We’d win every game. Well, I’m kind of tired, so I’m going to go to sleep now.
I love you,

Had Angelina been able to leave her parents a note, perhaps it would have said something like this: “There are swing sets, playgrounds and little ballerinas in heaven. There will be time when we can be a family in heaven. I love you, Daughter, Angelina.”

Many people believe that death is a great sleep, a great forget, a nothing. The poet Wordsworth wisely told us that our birth (not our death) is but a sleep and a forgetting. This perspective can perhaps help us to better understand the eternal nature of our existence. This earthly life is but a minuscule portion of our eternal lives. Yet, it’s reality is all we know, or all we remember, and therefore, when someone is removed from this earthy realm, because we love,we mourn, grieve and sorrow. Time is of this world. And that time will eventually ease the pain. But it is eternity that will turn that sorrow to joy, as we reunite with those we love.

I have a niece named Angelina. There will come a day, not of this life, but in the life that is eternal, that I will be able to hold her, if I can then coax her from the arms of her parents. That will be a time of unfathomable joy and ultimate healing.

This was given by Angelina’s Aunt Margie, her dad’s sister, as part of her memorial service.

Angelina Maria Yost, daughter of Cleo Jaramillo-Yost and Larry Yost, was stillborn September 16, 1993. Her little brother, Richard Avery Yost, was born July 20, 1994.