Sunday, July 21, 2019

Rite of Committal of Ashes - JoAnn Wells (Jan 12, 1936 - July 1, 2018) Heavenly Rest Catholic Cemetery, Fri, July 5, 2019 Presider: Rev. Dr. Barbara Billey, Priest ARCWP (JoAnn's daughter)

Welcome - drumming
We gather as a family this day to commit the ashes of JoAnn Wells who was lifted from her earthly home last year on July 1st and who now rests in the peace of You, our Risen and Universal Christ. 
On the night when mom died, I remember glancing at the clock: it was 8:39 pm. Last Sunday on the 1st anniversary of mom's death, I went out into our back garden around 8:15 pm. It was a clear, blue sky evening with a gentle breeze. The heat of the day had abated. The abundant rains we've had had painted verdant hues of various shades of greens. I was reminded of the tree outside mom's room that final night in Hospice, the light dancing in the leaves. Nature had never seemed more alive, which assuaged my heart so full of mom and so full of missing her.  

At 8:30 pm I did some Qigong movements. About 5 or so minutes later, a red breasted robin landed on the bench situated several feet in front of me, between our pear tree and blooming rose bush. I recalled last year when I left mom's bed after lying next to her for over an hour, listening to her labored breathing. I went to the end of the bed and waved energy over her body. 
When I repeated this gesture in my garden, the robin who had been looking away, turned toward me. I closed my eyes and did the movement prayer that I had prayed for mom, "Come Holy Spirit. You can go to God now, mom. Jesus, Mary and all your relatives are waiting for you." When I opened my eyes, Mom had died. On this evening, which marked mom's flight to God by one year, I opened my eyes to find that my robin friend had pounced to the ground and then flew away. 
Earlier that day I had sent a text to our parents' priest, Fr. Maurice thanking him for his pastoral and sacramental presence with us throughout those special days when mom was in Hospice and during the funeral. His text came at 8:42 pm, "So hard to believe it's already a year! Such a beautiful soul."

Now let us continue our ceremony with an excerpt from a poem by Maya Angelou read by our Stephanie (JoAnn's granddaughter).
When great souls die,
After a period, peace blooms.
Slowly and always
Irregularly. Spaces fill
With a kind of soothing electric vibration.
Our senses, restored, never
to be the same, whisper to us.
They existed. They existed.
We can be. Be and be
Better. For they existed.

Prayer of Remembrance
God of all creation, You who are with us in every breath as Living Presence.
Thank you for the gift of JoAnn Wells in our lives as wife, mother, mother-in-law, grandmother, sister, sister-in-law, friend.
We have felt Your and her active Spirit with us in the many creations and graces that have come to us in our times of sorrow and loss: in the arrival of baby Jaxon; in Stephanie's new home; in Mike's and Sandy's cottage; in the love of our family and friends who have sustained us in our loss and healing, in dad's latest casino winnings, and in all the minor and major daily miracles that we have seen or not.
In your death, Mom we have come to know more fully the person you were and the profound effect that you've had in our lives and in the lives of many. In faith and hope we count on your continuing intercession as wisdom guide and Holy Spirit presence. 
(Ritual.) As we know, one of mom's passions was quilting. This is mom's last but incomplete creation. I cut patches from one of her pairs of pants to be sewn by Stephanie as the border or for the back. As we pass this basket, please take one of these patches and reflect on one  word that, for you, describes a characteristic of mom's spirit that you'd like to carry forward through your living. 
Once everyone has a patch, I'll pass the basket a second time and I invite you to share your word. You have the option to simply bless the patch without sharing. (Pass the basket a second time as each person shares.)
Committal of Ashes
Now let us proceed with the committal of mom's ashes. (Please extend your hands in mutual blessing.)
By the action of our collective Spirit Presence 
we bless this place of final resting.
In sure and certain faith that she has realized her resurrection to eternal life through You, Risen Christ,
we commend to You, Creator God, JoAnn Wells
and we commit her ashes to this resting place:
earth to earth, ashes to ashes, stardust to stardust.
+ May Almighty God, Spirit Holy and Jesus Christ  continue to bless her, to shine upon her and be gracious to her, to grant her eternal peace in the Communion of Saints.
Together, let us pray the Jesus Prayer.
Our Father and Mother God ... hallowed be thy name etc.
Eternal rest grant unto her, Our God.
R: And let perpetual light shine upon her.
May she rest in peace.
R. Amen.
May JoAnn Wells' soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of You, Sacred One, rest in peace. R. Amen.
Final Prayer
Our final prayer is mom's favorite to be read by Karen (JoAnn's daughter).
Come Holy Spirit 
fill the hearts of Your faithful
and kindle in them the fire 
of Your love.
Send forth Your Spirit 
and they shall be created
and You will renew the face 
of the Earth.
Final Blessing
May Your peace, our Living God
which is beyond all understanding,
keep our hearts and minds
in the knowledge and love of You.
R. Amen.
Help us to remain close to one another and to truly live into the Spirit of JoAnn Wells, in all we think and in all we do.
And when you see a red breasted robin, please remember she or he is a sign of new beginnings. 
R. Amen.
Go in the peace of Christ to love and serve one another.
R. Thanks be to God.
Closing Song
Peace is flowing like a river. 
Flowing out to you and me. 
Peace is flowing like a river, setting all our spirits free. 
(For peace we substitute Love, Light, JoAnn.)                        
Final Drumming
Barbara J. Billey, M.A. (Counselling)
Registered Psychotherapist
Canadian Certified Counsellor
Registered Canadian Art Therapist
1978 Katella Ave, Windsor, ON N8P 0A4
(519) 735-3943

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