Monday, August 3, 2009

Ashes to Ashes

We buried Paul's ashes yesterday next to the ashes of his wife of 60 years, Juanita. Both Paul and Juanita wanted to be cremated and the ashes scattered in the mountains of Northeastern Oregon, The children wanted to have a burial site that they could visit, so before Juanita died, she and Paul agreed to have their ashes buried in a little graveyard dating back to the earliest settlement of the area. Their oldest son, Gerry, bought a plot for his parents and him and his wife. The cemetery had been long neglected but folks in the area revitalized the grounds and fenced it to keep the deer and elk out of the hallowed ground.

I built a box to hold Paul's ashes and yesterday Jean and I and the family and friends made the 2 hour drive to the cemetery and held the burial service. It was a melancholy service, but also very spirit filled. When we arrived Paul's two sons dug the hole while the daughter held the box of ashes. I read the committal service from the Book of Common Prayer and at the close of the service each of us present sprinkled dirt on the box and recited "ashes to ashes, dust to dust" or a brief comment to Paul and Juanita. Then the sons filled in the grave. It was the best funeral service I have ever conducted.

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