Thursday, June 26, 2008

Laid to Rest

Today, we buried Jane's urn with her ashes at the Oaklawn Memorial Park, in Corvallis.

I spent a fair amount of time preparing for Jane's memorial service a couple of weeks ago, but being the occasional procrastinator that I am, I did not plan much in the way of the burial service. So this morning, about 4 hours before we were to conduct the service, I started thinking, "Shouldn't somebody say something?" What about this, and that?

So, I picked up the phone and called a friend who recently lost her husband to ask her what they did at his burial service. I got her answering machine at both her home and cell phone. I broke down and cried; heavily. So I called Pastor Shawn at church, and asked him if he would do the service at the last minute, and he graciously said, "yes, I'd be honored." He asked me some questions, and all I could get out was a sob or a cracked-voice, "OK".

By the time my family arrived at my home to accompany me to the cemetery, I had regained some composure, and was starting to take the lead on some things. When we arrived, there was a blue-top canopy setup over the grave site, and a few chairs for me and the kids. We quickly talked through the order of service, and then began.

The words that were spoken by Pastor Shawn were traditional burial service text, but they were comforting and wonderful. After a few brief words, Shawn opened up a time for comments, and nobody could speak. So, next it was my turn to take the urn with Jane's ashes, and begin to pass it from one person to the next. My dad held it first, and then passed it to Elaine. Elaine held it for a moment and then said, "Jane, you loved to fish . . ." and then she couldn't get the rest out. She passed it to Pam, and Pam sobbed, "I miss you so much" We were all in tears by then.

From Pam to Robin, who prayed silently, and Tim who did the same. Each person, in their turn had an opportunity to hold the last earthly remains of my beloved wife. I then received the urn from my daughter, Amy, and passed it to Shawn while I knelt next to the grave. Shawn passed me the urn one more time, and I gently laid it in the bottom of the grave.

At that point, our good friend, Logan, played "Amazing Grace" on the bagpipes, while people placed items into the grave with the urn. It was all very moving and beautiful. Upon completion of that, we each took turns placing shovels of dirt into the grave.

The day was beautiful; one that Jane would surely have appreciated. I am thankful that we had the chance to participate as a family in one more important ritual, and bring another step in this process to closure. Thank you to all who were there in presence, and in spirit.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Uncle Doug, it sounds like it was a beautiful and peaceful ceremony. I miss her so much.

I love you all.

June 26, 2008 at 11:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Doug,

Wish I could have played pipes for her. (My whole family plays bagpipes) I will do so today in her memory. Carry on Lad, I will be around to pester you from time to time :)

Bob Norris

June 28, 2008 at 12:57 PM  

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