Massachusetts funeral home directors wrote a touching obituary in honor of the Paris victims

November 16, 2015
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Article originally appeared on Boston.com

“We rise again and persevere and prove that love wins. “

Multiple Massachusetts funeral homes together honored the victims of the Paris attacks with an obituary in Sunday’s edition of the Lowell Sun and theWorcester Telegram & Gazette.

Jim Heald of the Heald & Chiampa Funeral Home in Shrewsbury wrote the piece with help from his funeral director friends Ron D’Amato of the McKenna-Ouellette Funeral Home and Glenn Burlamachi of the Concord Funeral Home.

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“I can’t say—other than obviously just being moved by what transpired in Paris—I can’t say why I did it,” Heald said. “I’d start and stop, and then said, ‘Let’s publish it on our website. There’s no harm, only benefit.’”

A woman sits in front of candles and flowers at a makeshift memorial on November 16, 2015 in Nice, in tribute to November 13 attacks in Paris. Islamic State jihadists claimed a series of coordinated attacks by gunmen and suicide bombers in Paris that killed at least 129 people in scenes of carnage at a concert hall, restaurants and the national stadium. AFP PHOTO / VALERY HACHEVALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images
A makeshift memorial in Nice, in tribute to the victims of the November 13 attacks in Paris.

AFP PHOTO / VALERY HACHEVALERY HACHE

The McKenna-Ouellette Funeral Home in Lowell initially posted theobituary on its Facebook page, D’Amato said, but also decided to pay for an obituary in print (which cost about $400, according to the Sun) so that more people would be able to see it.

“We serve a lot of families with French heritage,” D’Amato said about why he wanted to show his support. “Even further than that, this story affected everyone.”

The obituary read in part:

On Saturday 14 November 2015 and the days that follow Parisians and all those around the world in solidarity rise from the sadness and its dust of terror, pain and anger of loss. We rise again and persevere and prove that love wins. We remind the world that each and every person that died in these senseless acts of terror individually and universally light a luminous candle that will remain where their beautiful souls have passed.

Both Heald and D’Amato said they were surprised at all the positive feedback they received. Heald noted that on his website, there are comments in the obituary guestbook from as far away as Illinois and Florida.

“I don’t know how they found it,” Heald said. “It’s universal. Someone from a florist shop called me this morning. She said, ‘I wanted to be able to say something or do something, and you did.’”

The obituary as it appeared in the Worcester Telgram & Gazette.

Jim Heald

As a funeral director, Heald has written obituaries for families before. Heald said he likes to make the obituaries a bit outside the box, more like they’re telling people’s life stories.

“It’s about how we collectively feel as funeral directors and as human beings,” he said.

At the end of Sunday’s obituary, a paragraph in French and repeated in English reads, “Pray for all those who were killed in Paris, pray for the people of Paris, pray for the people of France, and then pray for an end to such acts of violence.”

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