Eulogy for Peggy Eckert - 1/19/2007

Hello friends,

For those of you who donít know me, my name is Reverend Norma. Iím from the Druid Grove where Peg celebrated the holidays for the last several years. Iíve also been a friend of Pegís for a very long time. Iím here today to talk about Peg and about our grief. Iím going to keep this short and Iím going to try really hard not to burble at you, but please forgive me if I do. I loved Peggy very much.

We humans take a lot of things for granted. We take for granted that day follows night and night follows day. We expect the moon to wane and then wax. We expect the seasons to follow each other in succession through the year. And we expect to have our friends and family around us. We forget how fragile our world can be. We forget how frail a human life is until we lose someone. And today we are all united in shock and grief at the loss of Peggy.

Margaret Ann Dunn Eckert. Okay, how many of you knew that was Peggyís full name? I sure didnít and Iíve known her for over 20 years. But thatís just like Peggy -- she was so full of life and had so many friends that itís like she led several lives at once.

Her great love was her family. She and Chuck -- whose name I just discovered yesterday, by the way, is Edward -- she and Chuck had dated since they were teenagers. They married in 1976 and after a big 36 hours of married life together, moved to Japan and lived there for 9 1/2 months. Did you know that? Peg and Chuck celebrated their 30th anniversary last November and after all those years and lots of adventures and trials and travels and life together they were still best friends. And I know you knew that.

Peg loved her daughter Jess with a fierce and boundless love. Chuck and Peg wanted a daughter very much and when Jess came along it was an amazing and wonderful change in their lives together. I guess most people who speak of a mother and daughter speak of love. But not all of them speak of pride. Peggy was really proud of the young woman Jess grew up to be. She was proud of the fierce love and loyalty that Jess has for her friends and family and proud of the big-hearted compassion that Jess has for all those around her.

Peggy loved great big family gatherings. She loved to see her family from Florida and her family right here in New Jersey. She loved watching the kids in the family grow up and the next generation starting. A holiday with everybody together and that great huge loud mass of loving chaos was Pegís favorite place to be.

A lot of you knew Peggy as a dancer. Her bellydance troupe, Fringe Benefits, was one of her greatest joys in life. She loved dancing and she loved teaching and motivating people to dance. Peg loved getting people involved. And when you were around Peg you pretty much had no choice but to get involved -- her enthusiasm was so infectious. Pegís bellydance troupe gave her the opportunity for two things she loved: tribal bellydance and bending the established rules a little bit. Iíve heard about the year at Rakasa, a traditional tribal bellydance showcase, when you Fringe Benefits folks danced to Aretha Franklinís Respect. You shocked them, you delighted them, you impressed them. You brought the house down.

I, personally, knew Peggy most from her time with our Grove and with the local community. I remember her giving brilliant classes in Tarot card reading and belly dancing for Rutgers University students. I remember her downright scary and really beautiful portrayal of Demeter from years ago. I remember her dressed in green and brown with leaves in her hair honoring Mother Earth at last Fall Equinox. I remember her helping out and dancing like a Goddess at last Septemberís community picnic. Most vividly, I remember Peg in a gorgeous red dress and a sexy Santa hat with black fur trim at our last Yule celebration. She took a part in our silly Yule play as the Sun and she laughed as we pelted her, and each other, with pompoms. I know all of us who were there are going to remember that for a long time.

And there are lots of other friends I havenít mentioned. She had friends from her gaming groups and friends from her work and probably friends in every supermarket and restaurant she frequented. Peggy was the kind of person who made friends all over the place. And she took care of her friends. It was her nature to be the Worldís mom and to look after everybody she knew. She did that gently, and if you think she wasnít looking after *you* too, itís probably because she did it so gently that you didnít even notice.

The most amazing thing about all of that, is that sheíd be astonished by the number of people who are here today. I think she wouldnít have expected this at all. Because, as often as we all told her, I think she never really realized how incredible she was. But we all know that and we all know how important she was to our lives. And so we all grieve together and wonder how she could be gone.

We humans take a lot of things for granted. We take for granted that day follows night and night follows day. We expect the moon to wane and then wax. We expect the seasons to follow each other through the year. We forget how fragile our world can be. We forget how frail a human life is until our hearts are breaking. I wish I could offer some words, something that could explain why this happened, but I don't have those words. I don't think they exist. But if we who are here today can learn the lesson of treasuring each other and our fragile lives: If we can comfort each other and talk to each other and forgive each other and appreciate each other and love -- If we can love each other and love life -- thatís the best tribute we could ever pay to Peggy. And I know itís the one she would have wanted most.

Thank you for letting me speak. This service is over - go in Peace and Blessings and in love.

(Service performed by Reverend Norma Hoffman, Grove of the Other Gods, ADF, 1-19-2007)