We (Pam and the other caregivers), along with Pastor Peter Hill, who will be officiating at Janet's memorial service, and Nathan Rueck, met this afternoon to plan Janet's memorial service. The Lord gave us enough clarity of thought to work through the most important issues today. Because there are no mortuaries in Chiang Mai a lot of the preparation that is usually done for the family by a mortuary (for a price, of course!) we are having to do ourselves. We could use a "Gilliam Funeral Home" in Chiang Mai! (Some of Janet's family in the States own a "Gilliam Funeral Home" and Janet often mentioned it the past few weeks.)
In thinking through things we had to take into consideration Thai culture as well as our western way of handling funerals. It was interesting as some planning involved speaking with Thai friends using the Thai language, some conversations were with others who speak what sometimes seems like a foreign language to us Americans (English with a Scottish accent!), as well as New Zealand and American English! Thrown into the mix is a Thai who grew up in a German family and speaks fluent English with a German accent!
There were some 'speed bumps' as we were planning this afternoon. One was when we called the director of the cemetery where Janet had purchased a plot and were told that the earliest they could have Janet's grave dug is next Thursday!! That meant we had to find a way to get the job done ourselves so we could have the burial Monday as planned! That certainly was not on our 'to do' list for this weekend! Thanks to Nathan we were able to get that major glitch sorted out. I don't imagine many of us, as we've attended the burial service of a loved one, have ever given much thought to the fact that someone had to dig the grave!!
It continues to be a joy to work together to carry out Janet's wishes for her home going celebration! Please pray that we will get the things done that need doing and still get the rest we all need. Pray, too, that everything we say and do in the coming days will give God the glory He deserves and honor the memory of Janet, who wanted her home going to be a time of joy and celebration. She also desired that it would point others to the Savior she loved and served so faithfully!
Our hearts go out to Janet's family and friends in the US who are grieving and not able to be a part of the preparations and celebration here. We pray that God will comfort your hearts with the confidence that Janet's final wishes are being carried out to the best of our ability. We count it a privilege to do for Janet what you would be doing for her had Janet been in the States when she passed into eternity.