Saturday, August 02, 2008

The Memorial
July 30, 2008, 2:00pm

Although It is almost 3 months since her passing, we have been waiting for Kayla’s mom to come to visit BC so we could include her in the service. Finally she is here and we have had our chance to say our good byes.
The service for Kayla was beautiful, and fully reflected the amazing young woman she was. Every one helped to make it a special day.
Aunty Donna set up the sanctuary with flower arrangements from our gardens and bright green and cream balloons which made the atmosphere more one of celebration than of mourning. She arranged Kayla’s urn and photos using an old table cloth that Kayla’s great grandmother had given Keith and I for our first Christmas over 20 years ago. In this small way, Great Grandma Shackleton was contributing to this day. The angel on the pedestal, was bought by my Aunty Gail. A gift to us in Kayla’s memory. This photo was taken, only after some of the flowers had been moved into the hall. We had lots of flowers.
Kayla’s Dad, brothers and male cousins volunteered their muscles to set up chairs and tables in the hall. The tables were covered with cloths of bright green, Kayla’s favourite colour. Aunty Valerie and Donna, along with some of the little girls, made centerpieces for the tables from flowers in bright pink bags. Each place setting was adorned with a paper crane, that had been folded by Herman and Bepie in Holland. This was a second box of cranes he had sent which didn’t arrive until after we had presented the cranes to Kayla. I knew then that I would be using them for this purpose. So Herman and Bepie, in this
way, you also were with us at the memorial. Every one who came, took a crane home to cherish.
Kayla’s Grandma, myself, my mom, Heidi and Lexi prepared food all morning along with a couple of my Eastern Star friends. There was plenty of food!
After working all morning, we went home to clean up and get into our good clothes, which for cousin David, meant his kilt!
The minister, Reverend Richard Bott presided and he walked up the aisle to begin the service, He was followed by Uncle Mike who is a member of the RCMP, dressed in his full parade regalia. He marched to the front of the church carrying Kayla’s police hat. He placed the hat by her ashes and saluted.
Then her little Lexi got up to sing ‘I miss you” by Hannah Montana. Lexi had asked to sing this and the lyrics were very appropriate but so sad, and poor Lexi could hardly sing as the tears started flowing, but she toughed it out and finished the song that she had selected to commemorate her sisters memory.
After the opening prayers
Kayla’s mom read from Romans .
Next, myself and my friend Heather sang an acapella version of “Nearer my God to Thee” while Stephanie, performed it in sign language which was very moving.
Then Kayla’s siblings recited one of her poems. The Mountain.
We had a slideshow, with pictures through Kayla’s life put to the songs…
Baby Mine by Bette Midler
Living Prayer by Alison Krauss
Believe by Leon Jackson
The slide show really made the service personal but caused a lot of tears to flow as we remembered her.
The Reverend, who had never met Kayla, made a wonderful job of her remembrance. He had talked with us for a couple of hours, previously to get to know her. We had given him her website so he could read her poetry, the best way to get to know Kayla was through her writings. He felt she was an old soul. From her writings, he said, you could tell she was wise beyond her years.
At the end of the service, even Reverend Bott had tears in his eyes as we said farewell to Kayla.
Then the closing prayer, which the reverend said with his hand on Kayla’s remains.
After that we all filed out to the church lawn where each child was given a balloon. On the count of three, 18 bright green and cream balloons were released and sent up to heaven. One for each year of her life plus one extra to celebrate her 18th birthday which would have been next Thursday. A joyful touch to a sad day.
Though it was a hard day, it really was a celebration of a cherished life.

Although it was a sad occasion, it was nice to see everyone together. Most of the family live fairly close to us. But we did get some in from out of town who we dont see so often, and that made it very special. I am always happy to see that brilliant smile of Kathreens! I am grateful that Keith took these photos because I was too busy to take any myself. Also Stephanie took some of the balloon release which I will post when I get them.. That night I had trouble sleeping. My mind continued to replay the events of the day over and over. Although we made our peace and said goodbye, part of me doesnt want to let go. I know she will always be in my heart, but letting go of the pain is hard as it is the last tangible part of her. Yesterday I took some of the flowers to work so that the old folks can enjoy them. I enjoy looking at them as I work.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting the photos and all about the memorial service. I think of Kayla often. I'm glad the service went well. What a very special girl she was. I would love to see Kayla's website if you coud email it to me. *Big hugs*

Penny Halston said...

What a beautiful tribute. It brought tears to my eyes and I was saddened because this lovely girl's life was far too short. May your wonderful memories of Kayla bring you comfort.

Faye said...

Thank you for sharing the memorial service with us. You described it so well I felt I was there. Though I didn't get to know Kayla I felt like I did through your blogs about her and her struggles. That was a lovely extra including Herman and his wife's cranes for all to take home.
Hugs, Faye

Herman Verbrugge said...

What a beautiful commemoration service. And it's such a good feeling to know that we were represented the special way you created . Thank you so much Susan. You and Keith did a wonderful job and thanks to you will Kayla be remembered as that brave, wise girl with her smiling face.

Bobbie said...

It was a beautiful way to commemorate Kayla's life. Thank you for sharing the special day with us. She was a special young lady, and her courage, determination and beautiful smile will be remembered by everyone who knew her, or knew of her.

Fred said...

What a wonderful tribute. God Bless Kayla.

sharon said...

It sounds like the Celebration of Kayla's life went perfectly. I'm sure many tears fell, I could hardly read this post without crying myself. I'm sure she was there with you all on that day. You guys did a beautiful job, Susan.

Walker said...

Beautiful tribute to kayla and an exelent way to have everyone together to do it.