Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Celebrating Janet

One of our favorite photos of Janet and the memorial wreath (Janet asked us to make sure there were some bright flowers at her funeral!)

Janet's casket and beautiful flower arrangements

Memories of Janet

Judi Utley played her harp before and after the service

There are no hearses in Thailand so the casket was carried in a pick up truck

Janet wanted a plain white wooden casket
The man in the white shirt in the center of the photo is Dr. Suttiphan, one of the doctors who helped care for Janet her last stay in the hospital. Janet's last obvious response when she was no longer able to talk was when Dr. Suttiphan came to visit. She raised her eyebrow when he spoke to her and gave him a little smile. She came to love him very much.

Pastor Hill, in the black shirt, officiated at the funeral and burial.

Lowering the casket into the ground.

Balloons rising into the sky! Janet wanted balloons at her funeral to symbolize the fact that her death was a celebration. Balloons remind Janet of her childhood and happy memories of parties and good times.

Janet mentioned often in the her last weeks that she wanted her home-going to be a celebration, not a somber, sad affair. Although there were many tears, there was also a true sense that Janet was with Jesus, and no longer suffering, and that we should be happy for her!

Her memorial service was beautiful. Clark Aspinwall and Pam both shared memories of Janet and two pastors, one from Janet's Thai church and another from one of the international churches in Chiang Mai, shared words of encouragement from the Scriptures. We showed photos of Janet's life with three of her favorite songs playing in the background, "On My Way to Paradise" (the song that played when Janet first turned her Ipod on after her biopsy), "No More Night", and "Finally Home".

Her friend who traveled to Israel with her this Spring, Janet Greenleaf, read Psalm 122 and prayed for the peace of Jerusalem. We also sang "Great is Thy Faithfulness" and "Soon and Very Soon". The song, "There is a Savior", sung by Sandi Patty , was played at the end of the service during a time of reflection. Janet had played this song so many times during her illness and when she was strong enough she sang along, then as she got weaker she would just move her hands in time to the music and at the end when she was too weak to do anything else she would raise her eyebrows during the high notes and we knew she was singing in her heart!

Janet wanted helium balloons at her burial so we drove to the cemetery with balloons bulging out of the back of a couple pickup trucks. At the grave site we were each given a balloon that we released as she was being lowered into the grave. We sang "The Lord's Prayer" together. That song was sung around her bed both in the hospital and at home, and we thought it appropriate to sing again as we committed her body to the ground. We miss Janet but we don't grieve as those who have no hope because we know that we will meet again in heaven, either when the Lord returns or when He calls us home. (Deb)

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