Diana Wells Scott October 29, 1920 – August 13, 2006

In Celebration of the Life of Diana Wells Scott
October 29, 1920 – August 13, 2006

Opening Words
For everything there is a season,
and a time for every matter under heaven;
A time to be born, and a time to die…
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn and a time to dance.

We come together today to honor and remember Diana Wells Scott. Before she died, Diana asked that this memorial service be a true celebration of her life. On a sheet of her personal stationery, she left these instructions: “End with a nice piece of jazz – All be happy, no tears.” And so in this hour, we will follow most of Diana’s instructions. We will laugh, but surely we will weep. We will dance, and truly we will mourn. Thus we will celebrate Diana’s life.  

Let us celebrate Diana as a woman who was pivotal in the life of this church. Let us remember and rejoice in her exuberance, her bright and beautiful smile, her twinkling eyes. 
Let us remember her as she was throughout her life: a small woman with a big presence, beautifully dressed, terribly British, a woman who was never afraid to speak her mind, who had a disarming way of enlisting friends and acquaintances into all sorts of new and ongoing endeavors. Let us remember her as a woman who bravely faced adversity, who served her homeland of England, who lived through the bombings of World War II, and found a new home here in Canada as a war bride.

Let us rejoice in the many ways that she made a new life for herself here, gardening, entertaining, dedicating herself to work, to this church, and to causes of social justice.
Let us honor the love she had for her husband Douglas and the deep bond she felt with her mother-in-law.

Let us remember, as well, Diana as she was in the last year of her life: a fiercely independent woman who did not want to go into hospice care. But once she went, she made the best of her new situation – still finding her joie de vivre, quickly integrating herself into the life of Chateau Westmount. 
Diana died peacefully in August.  She would have been 86 tomorrow.
She led a long and fruitful life, but there is never enough time for goodbyes.
May our time together, here in this sanctuary this afternoon, create a sacred space where prayers and memories can be gathered and cherished, so that Diana’s spirit may live on in the hearts and minds of all who knew her, admired her, and loved her.

In her great wisdom, Diana appointed Jean Lenzi as the guardian of her estate.  With exquisite care, Jean gathered the readings for today’s service from Diana’s personal papers.
As the flame of community is lit, let me read these words that Jean discovered among the many newspaper clippings, orders of service, and mementos that Diana had saved over the years:
When I come to the end of the road
And the sun has set for me
I want no rites in a gloom filled room
Why cry for a soul set free.
Miss me a little – but not too long
And not with your head bowed low
Remember the love that we once shared,
Miss me  -- but let me go.
For this is a journey that we all must take
And each must go alone
It’s all part of the master plan
A step on the road to home.
When you are lonely and sick at heart
Go to the friends we know
And bury your sorrows in doing good deeds
Miss me but let me go.

Readings – Margot Kyle
If I Could Relive My Life

If I could relive my life
I would have talked less and listened more.
I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained and the sofa faded.
I would have eaten the popcorn in the ‘good’ living room and worried much less about the dirt when I wanted to light a fire in the fireplace.
I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth.
I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair was teased and sprayed.
I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage.
I would have sat on the lawn with my children and not worried about grass stains.
I would have cried and laughed less while watching television and more while watching life.
I would have shared more the responsibility carried by my husband.
I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth would go into a hole if I weren’t there for the day.
I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn’t show soil or was guaranteed for a lifetime.
Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I have cherished every moment realizing that the real wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist in a miracle.
When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, “Later. Now go get washed up for dinner.”
There would have been more “I love yous” … more “I’m sorrys”
But mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute… look at it and really see it… give it back.
In memory of Erma Bombeck who lost her fight with cancer.

Reluctance – Robert Frost (Wendy Ezard)
Out through the fields and the woods
And over the walls I have wended;
I have climbed the hills of view
And looked at the world, and descended;
I have come by the highway home.
And lo, it is ended.
The leaves are all dead on the ground
Save those the oak is keeping
To ravel them one by one
And let them go scraping and creeping
Out over the crusted snow
When others are sleeping.
And the dead leaves lie huddled and still.
No longer blown hither and thither;
The last lone aster is gone;
The flowers of witch hazel wither;
The heart is still aching to seek.
But the feet question “Whither?”
Ah, when to the heart of man
Was it ever less than a treason
To go with the drift of things.
To yield with a grace to reason.
And bow and accept the end
Of a love or a season?

As You Grow Older – Sam Levenson (Theresa Liberta)

As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands,
one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.
The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure she carries,
or the way she combs her hair.
The beauty of a woman must be seen from her eyes,
because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides.
The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mole, but true beauty is reflected in her soul.
It is the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she shows,
and the beauty of a woman with passing years only grows!

Prayer

Spirit of Life,
Source of Love,
Be with us now, and always,
in faith and in hope,
in the depths of our grief,
and in the pain of our loss.
Let us affirm the cycle of life and death,
Let us be in awe of the mystery
of seeds that are planted,
of buds that find their way through dark soil,
of flowers that bloom and die.
We give thanks for the love and friendship of Diana
Even as her passion for life has faded,
Even as death has taken her body and her breath.
We name in our hearts all those who grieve this loss.
May our prayers be lifted on wings of love and hope.
Where there lingers any regret or misunderstanding, we ask for the healing of forgiveness;
Where there has been warmth and love, we evoke the healing power of gratitude.
We give thanks for Diana’s strong, embracing spirit and for the legacy she leaves in this world.
We give thanks for the light of love that persists through death and lives in human hearts.  Amen.

Closing Words

Surely there can be no other closing words than those Diana chose herself.  From Dylan Thomas, slightly modified:
Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Though wise [women] at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Good [women], the last wave by, crying now bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Wild [women] who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Grave [women,] near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
And you, my [friend] father, there on the sad height.
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And so let us end with upbeat, jazzy music.  
Please stand as you are willing and able and sing with all the gusto Diana would have appreciated, “When the Saints Go Marching In.”