Ashes of 2 men laid to rest in Lansing after spending years on a shelf
LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - After a lifetime of rejection, two men are finally in a place where they will never be turned away.
A modest congregation gathered Tuesday to honor Ronald and Manuel, who lost battles with AIDS. Unfortunately, it’s believed the men were spurned from their families because of their involvement in the LGBTQ+ community. Their ashes were left on a shelf at the Lansing Area AIDS Network facility for years. Ronald’s ashes had been there for more than two decades.
“We were willing to take those and to say this person has worth and value,” said Kristina Schmidgall. “And we want to remember them.”
Schmidgall, the Lansing Area AIDS Network executive director, felt the men needed to be laid to rest in a peaceful place, one that was accepting of people from all walks of life.
“We are glad that this is finally happening and would probably not wait as long in the future,” Schmidgall said.
“We remember all those who have died of AIDS. Especially those who have died alone or estranged from their families,” said the Rev. Karen C. Lewis. “Our hope is to help them bring closure.”
Lewis was happy to offer St Paul’s Episcopal Church’s memorial garden as a permanent resting place for Ronald and Manuel.
“They’re all valuable. Everybody has worth. No matter who they are. They all have intrinsic value and worth,” Lewis said. “Therefore, we want to show that there’s no reason to discriminate or hate or dislike. It’s mostly because we don’t understand.”
Lewis said Tuesday’s memorial gave Ronald and Manuel an opportunity to rest in peace, but also gave the congregation a chance to remember that they are loved.
Officials with St. Paul’s Episcopal Church said they were honored and humbled to be a part of the occasion.
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