Let us pray –”Lord we are gathered here to celebrate and mourn a life ended far too soon. We are here to thank you for the time we were given though we would ask for more if truth be told. We ask for your presence here among us and your strength and comfort to hold us up as we say goodbye to mum. As we contemplate in sadness and anger the loss of our loved one we cry out to you in the words you gave us –

Our Father who art in heaven
Hallow’ed be thy name
Thy kingdom come
Thy will be done
On earth as it is in heaven
Give us this day our daily bread
And forgive us our trespasses
As we forgive those
Who trespass against us
Lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil
For thine us the kingdom, the power and the glory
Forever and ever – Amen.”

In the Gospel of Saint John, chapter 16, verse 33, Jesus is speaking to his followers about the world and life and the difficulties they will face and he recognizes that the things he is saying could be discouraging so he says to them“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

In this verse you have wrapped up both the truth and the hope of mum’s life – in this world, there is no doubt, mum had trouble. To say her early life was difficult and full of troubles would be an enormous understatement…but it would be just as true to say that her faith and her family, as they grew through her life, became her peace and her hope. I believe mum understood the words of Christ in John 16:33 very well. I believe she lived these words.

Born Monica Mary McCarty on August 1 1948 to parents William and Savina McCarty, husband to Oscar Kenneth Goebel )predeceased), we are here to express our thankfulness for the time we were given to know and to love her and to be loved by her. We are here to express our sadness over the loss and mourn.

While we mourn her passing and stand firm in the truth that she died too soon we celebrate her beauty, a beauty outside and in, that shone past every brutality and darkness she ever experienced to the benefit of every person she ever touched.

We take some small solace in the likelihood that mum passed away in her sleep, in her own home – though we will not deny wanted more of her.

We stand in awe of a fierceness in life that was formidable. No one wanted to be at the receiving end of Monica when she felt she had been wronged…and God forbid you hurt her children or grandchildren.

We smile in memory of a sense of humour that never quit – a woman who could laugh with you and just as easily (and sometimes frustratingly) laugh at you. Because of mum I am incapable of being even a remotely decent liar. I cannot lie for any stretch without eventually laughing and giving myself away. This was mum’s fault…she could sense a lie a mile away and continue to pester you about it – sometimes for days, pursuing you – “just tell me the truth, nothing is going to happen, I know you did it…why are you lying? You know if you laugh that’s a sign you are lying right? Don’t laugh or I’ll know.”…and it would go on until you broke.

She taught us humility and that no matter how serious things got…there was always something funny to find.

We are confounded by a heart so large that she seemed to be able to contain a world of worry for, and about, everyone she loved…her mother, her brother, her sisters, her children, her grandchildren…always before herself.

We went through many things as a family. As children we were exposed to much that mum would have preferred we were not…but she was a wall before the world for us…she met every dark thing head-on to keep as much of it from her children as she could and what she could not stop she absorbed into herself.

She was savage in her desire to see us sheltered from the pain of life that she knew too well and she always put herself last when it came to her children. We can consider ourselves successful if we give to others a fraction of the love she gave to us.

If there is any good thing is within me – the seeds were planted there by her.

So while now we mourn and now we remember, we also can seek and find encouragement in the words of Christ that so encouraged her from Psalm 23:

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. God makes me to lie down in green pastures: and leads me beside the still waters. God restores my soul and leads me in the paths of righteousness for God’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, 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 runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.”

Poem (read by the grandchildren) –

“Grandma’s favorite poet was Robert Service, it was her father’s as well. As a tribute to her, her grandchildren will recite a Robert Service poem called The Mother:

There will be a singing in your heart, There will be a rapture in your eyes; You will be a woman set apart, You will be so wonderful and wise.

You will sleep, and when from dreams you start, As of one that wakes in Paradise, There will be a singing in your heart, There will be a rapture in your eyes.

There will be a moaning in your heart There will be an anguish in your eyes; You will see your dearest ones depart, You will hear their quivering good-byes.

Yours will be the heart-ache and the smart, Tears that scald and lonely sacrifice; There will be a moaning in your heart, There will be an anguish in your eyes.

There will come a glory in your eyes, There will come a peace within your heart; Sitting ‘neath the quiet evening skies, Time will dry the tear and dull the smart.

You will know that you have played your part; Yours shall be the love that never dies: You, with Heaven’s peace within your heart, You, with God’s own glory in your eyes.”

Flowers: As a farewell mum’s family will lay roses at the grave – from her siblings, her children and grandchildren.

Let us Pray – “Praise be to you God who gave us the chance to spend time in this world with Monica our sister, our mother and our friend. The gift of her life was more than we deserve and we will treasure it for as long as we live. And now we pray to you for comfort and restoration through your own mother in these words which we have been given –

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee;
blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

Let us go in peace and celebrate a life lived in our presence. Let us go with the remembrance that life is too short, death is a thief, and the antidote to anger and pain is the forgiveness, grace and love that has been extended to us, and, from us to one-another.

If we can do these things we honor mum and the one from whom she came – the one to whom she has returned.