'My mother died over ten years ago - November 2000 on a Monday morning in Baltimore Maryland and on Friday of that week we had a memorial service and by Saturday her belonging were dispersed and her home was vacated and we never went back to Baltimore again.
8 months later, in June of 2001 we had a committal service at the Outer Banks with her ashes. This was a very special place to her and her ashes were placed beside my Dad's in the cemetery at Southern Shores 2 blocks from their last home together.
What I learned from this was how helpful it is to have a service well after the death of a loved one. When we lose a loved one the grief goes on (and on) well past the time of the funeral. And what a gift it is to be able to Recognize the grief and to share our feelings and memories with each other.
When Lisa died last January she left instructions of what to do with her ashes and for her it was to "scatter" them in several p,aces that were sacred to her. ...Sedona, Disneyworld, her parents pond in the backyard and Hilton Head. And at Hilton Head, not just one but 2 places- a favorite lagoon and, of course, the beach.
Yesterday, we fulfilled her wishes with a ceremony of scattering the ashes. And Lisa truly gave us a gift in all of this. At the Lagoon we began with listening to a song, Followed by a reading from Lamentations and then we lit 4 candles - for grief, for courage, for memory and for love. Followed by a reading we shared memories of Lisa. What I had learned from my own life was that as time goes by different memories emerge and the loss can seem harder over time and not easier. It was good to have this time of sharing.
We had 6 sand dollars which had been bleached and represented Lisa and her faith for us. There was one for each of us and one for Lisa.
When I opened my purse, one was broken and this was Lisa 's. We placed it in the tree by the lagoon as a marker and there was the spot that Trixie and Fred scattered ashes into the lagoon.
As I stood there in that beautiful and very green setting, seeing a little gator in the water, an egret in the distance and families riding bicycles
Nearby, I felt that we were doing exactly what Lisa would have wanted. We ended this ceremony with a poem by Emily Dickinson followed by a benediction.
Then we walked to the ocean. it was there that I shared a reading that used the imagery of a bird flying into the heavens. Fred and Trixie went into the water scattered the remaining ashes up and in the ocean. After that we took time by ourselves for reflection, walking or just sitting at the beach. I found myself watching the birds soar and thinking about freedom and how God wants us to find freedom as we turn ourselves over to God. Of course, we are all "works in progress," "on the journey," "in process
What I believe and trust is that something does happen within us and among us through a morning like this. We are freed a little bit more as we share our grief, tell the stories of the ones that we love and miss, allow God to speak to us in creation and pray.
We ended our time forming a circle and praying. God blessed all of us as we scattered the ashes of our beloved Lisa.
God is good. All the time.