Diane is no longer here. That is, Diane’s ashes are no longer here. Today was the last of two events in two very different locations during which Diane’s ashes were spread upon the ground. “The Cabin:” a favorite spot for the Mowery family on the Gallatin River just north of Big Sky, MT is the final resting spot for half of her ashes. Andrew, Peter, Paulie and I were the only ones present at this, very personal, and also very difficult “saying good by.” I did not realize it would be so hard to let go of the ashes, to let go of Diane, but the “letting go process” had begun so long ago and I guess it will also continue into the future.
Then today at the Immanuel Lutheran Church Cemetery near Nugents Corner in Whatcom County, WA the remainder of her ashes were placed around a favorite tree planted a number of years ago in memory of a young man named Kevin Anderson, whose funeral I had officiated at. Now, not only my hand turned white from the ashes, and not only immediate family member’s hands turned white but many others also participated in the distribution of the ashes, many others whose lives had been touched by Diane’s love and compassion.
Now all the family and friends have left, now the worship services and the celebrations of life have ended, and Diane’s dog Hannah (now she has to claim me as her ‘owner) and I enter a quiet house and begin to understand what it means to live alone. We seek to rest in the assurance and the promise that God is present and has more in store for me (and Hannah also) than we can imagine. It is hard to face the future, but as I was reading this morning in my quiet time, I do not have to face the future, but to experience today, this moment as God’s gift to me. So I live NOW, TODAY and believe that tomorrow will be another day in God’s grace and mercy and newness.
I am writing this blog from Ontario, Oregon as Andrew, Peter, Paulie and I are returning home from spreading some of Diane’s ashes on the Gallatin River in Montana and then travelled into Yellowstone National Park and then Grand Teton National Park. The time at the Gallatin was a combination of extremely difficult but also part of the healing process. The cabin on the Gallatin has had extremely important for Diane’s family through all of her years so it was and emotional time for all of us. I will write more about this later.
Sunday, August 17th all of us will be at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Everson, WA at their 10:30 a.m. service and then at noon we will spread the remainer of Diane’s ashes at the Immanuel Cemetery which is a few hundred feet north of the church. If there are those who would like to be present you are invited.
It is not exactly just my journey, for tomorrow Diane’s ashes, not Diane as to who she truly was and is, but her ashes begin another journey: to the Gallatin River in Montana, but first let me reflect on Saturday’s events. The worship service for the God of life and the Celebration of Diane’s life was more than I could ever image. Because so many people are gone at this point in time I wasn’t sure if there would be very many people. Well, I was wrong again! As usual! The hundreds of people sang their hearts out and God was praised in all that was said and done.
Then the Celebration of Diane’s life continued with joy and tears, with sharing and with a learning by many of who Diane was in the depths of her relationships. Thank you to all who were present and who shared.
Tomorrow we leave for Montana. I am not sure what will actually happen on this trip and we do not even know where we will be camping in the Yellowstone area, but whatever happens we will do it together. We will spend two nights at the cabin owned by Diane’s extended family and it is there that half of her ashes will mingle with the ashes of her father and next year with her mother, whose ashes will be spread at a large Mowery family reunion, and with the ashes of other extended family members.
The words of our Lenten liturgy come to my mind, and will forever mean more to me: “Remember that from dust you came and to dust you shall return.”