"For dust you are, and to dust you will return" - Genesis 3:19
This morning at 11am I met my Pastor Allen and a friend from church, Amber at Greensboro College. I wanted to have a very small and intimate gathering to spread Dennis' ashes. I chose Greensboro College because it held such meaning in our lives. The ceremony was perfect as the day was beautiful. Although I shed tears of sorrow, I also shed tears of release, and I know that joy is in my life now to stay. Here is a glimpse into the ceremony.
It began with Pastor Allen reading from the 23rd Psalm-
The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest of valleys,I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
Allen then prayed over the scripture and gave a blessing over my life and how the 23rd Psalm was meant to really represent how God was leading me through this new journey without Dennis.
After the prayer I took his ashes and spread them around the large tree on front center campus that has the two cement bench seats. This tree has outlived many of the storms of life on this campus and I know that it will sustain many more storms. It was a place that we often visited and just sat beneath to talk on cool Spring days (of course they didn't have benches back then).
Once I spread some ashes I had decided to include a rose ceremony. On our wedding day, Dennis had sent to me 3 yellow roses one at a time in the bride room with a special message on each one. Today I wanted to do the same by bringing our unity to a full circle of completion. I purchased 3 yellow roses and wrote a message to Dennis for each one.
Dennis, This rose represents our 1st meeting here on campus, followed by classes together, friendship and then courtship. You began the S.H.M.I.L.Y (See How Much I Love You) before we even married. We married right here at the campus chapel and now today, I lay your ashes to rest on the earth here on campus.
Dennis, With this rose I promise to honor our decision to put God first and raise our children to be loving and in a Christian home. I want them to know their earthly dad has joined their Heavenly Father and both are watching over them daily.
Dennis, With this final rose I promise to never forget the good memories and to share them with our girls as they grow. I will move forward in forgiveness for the hurtful past and pain created by your absence as I may never understand the reason why. I promise to pray over them and live out our new life verse of Jeremiah 29:11
"For I know the plans I have for you declared the Lord, plans to prosper you (us) and not to harm you (us), plans to give you (us) a hope and a future".
In closing, I thank you Allen and Amber for attending with me today. I think this song says it all and afterwards I ask Allen to close us in prayer.
The song played was from Dennis' memorial: "It is well with my soul" - Chris Rice
At the beginning I weeped from sorrow but by the end I could sing along and know that it truly was "well with my soul" and with Dennis.
The ceremony ended with a group hug and prayer. God was with us today as we lay him to final resting place on earth. It wasn't goodbye, it was see you on the other side. Forever and Always Loved---Dennis James Foster, Jr.