Marc and I wish to thank everyone who came last night and this morning to pay their final respects to Bernadette and to console our family. We were told there must have been close to 400 people this morning There were quite a few people who came from great distances to be with us but the biggest surprise that totally knocked Marc on his heels was when he saw his co-worker and good friend Jim Knight from Minnesota. That totally blew him away. Thank you Jim! Others came from Victoria, Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa, Kelowna, Medicine Hat, Kamloops, Vernon, Armstrong, and Revelstoke (and Salmon Arm and Sorrento of course). It was a tiny glimpse of Heaven as family and friends joined together to help us say our final good-bye to Bernadette.
The funeral Mass itself was beautiful too. Marc’s brother Dan read the first reading and Pat Bakker (Bernadette’s godmother) the second reading. Mariane Armstrong prayed the intentions. Johanna was an altar server along with John Bakker and Devin Pichard. The music was outstanding as only Michelle Holmes could pull off with the help of Timothy Weicker on the keyboard, Dr. Weicker on guitar, along with Dan and Corinne Smith, Mena Bakker, Lisa Claffey and Mirella Ramsay. Venee Gunn and Tasia Gunn joined them last night but were unable to attend today. Oh, and the beautiful flowers were arranged by Lydia (Pat’s sister).
The reception downstairs right after Mass was also amazing. I’m sorry I don’t have any names for you as there were so many women and men who helped and I’m sure I would miss some. Please forgive me too if I missed any names of others who helped out in any way. I will probably wake up in the middle of the night and go, “I forgot so-in-so!!!”
A small group of family and close friends joined us at Mt. Ida Cemetery to commit Bernadette to her final resting place. It was just like in the movies – raining and us hovering under black umbrellas! Up until that point we were all holding it together pretty well but watching the little white casket being lowered into the ground broke the dams and there were as many tears shed as rain that fell. There is just something so final at that point. It was all I could do not to throw open the casket, grab Bernadette in my arms and take her home again. Just the thought of leaving her there all alone was more than this mother’s heart could bear. It was only Fr. George’s reassurance at Mass that Bernadette’s spirit is rejoicing in heaven and Marc reminding me that it’s no longer our Bernadette that kept me sane. I suspect Mt. Ida Cemetery will become our second home as we spend many hours there in the near future.
To everyone who wished to be here but couldn’t due to family commitments, previous arrangements, long distances, illness, etc. we know you were all with us in spirit and we held you all close in our hearts.
Now as I head off to bed, I just wanted to leave you with one of the songs the choir learned and sang last night. I’d picked it out long ago for my own funeral some day but felt it just as appropriate for Bernadette as she now lives fully in the presence of pure LOVE.
We thank you for all the God-fearing qualities you and your family have shared with and shown us during these past few months. You all have truly been an inspiration to us. I’ve seen Amber & Sienna grow in their faith through Bernadette. They have become quite the little prayer warriors!
Our hearts, thoughts, and prayers are with you as you now see Bernadette in the loving arms of our Lord.
May God bless and comfort you.