Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Auf Wiedersehen Papa!

 Our loving Papa has left us.
He took his last steps as he walked into the Mission Respite Center
on Thursday, June 25th.
Little did we know that this would become his 'hospice'
 He was surrounded by family when he took his last breaths a week later.
He has reached his final destination, where he is with his eternal God.
Papa was always known for his 'wave' of enthusiasm.

 Johannes Heinrich Bartel

March 2, 1912 ~ July 3, 2015

 We all drove the long road to Valley View Cemetery in Agassiz.
Yes, you will see somber moments, but you will also see that this was a joyous occasion.

 The grandchildren participated as honorary pallbearers.

 Families gathered together from far and wide.
Yes, this was a time to celebrate Papa's life.

 We were excited to introduce Tara to the Calgary Cousins.

 The little ones asked a question.
"How can we be so happy when Great Opa has died?"
"Shouldn't we be sad?"

How do children comprehend death?
This was something new to them.
Hugs, wiping tears and answering questions.
It was hard for them to comprehend that they would not see Great Opa again.

  Papa's only living brother, Siegfried, also 100 years old.
It was a difficult day for him. He is longing to go 'home' also.

Even Ivy captured the somber moment of reverence and respect.

 Scriptures were read and prayers were given as Papa's soul 
was committed to heaven.
Choirs were always part of Papa's life and
 soon the whole family joined in singing the beautiful hymn.

"The Doxology"

Thank you Pastor Rob Brown for guiding us through this week.
We know that Papa really appreciated your leadership as a Pastor.

A Service of Thanksgiving & Celebration was held at the 
Eden Mennonite Church where Papa was active as a lay pastor and choir conductor.
The scripture that Papa chose was from Psalm 103
Bless the Lord, Oh my soul;
And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
Psalm 103 at the appropriate age, 103!
Papa wrote his own obituary and planned his own funeral in 1995.

 He always loved music.  He had chosen over 30 songs that he wanted
sung at his funeral...we had to make some tough decisions.

It was beautiful to see how the grandchildren voluntarily offered
 tributes through music, songs, words and scriptures.
Really, how does one captivate 103 years into a one hour service?

Once more last goodbye for the family.

Trying to comprehend death.

 We knew that our Papa loved life and celebrated well.
We invited family and friends after the church service.
We were not prepared for 75 people...but everyone pulled together.

Cousins, of all ages entertained each other with laughter.

 The older ladies loved sitting on comfortable couches.

 While the older men enjoyed the outdoors.

 Younger cousins stood around connecting with one another.

The cousins have all grown up....and are reminiscing.

 Cousins sharing stories of times long ago.

 Does true  'Sisterhood' reveal itself any better than this?

Papa, you lived a good life and we know that you 
would of wanted us to have one more last 'Hurrah'
and that's exactly what we did.

"Beautiful and rich memories make for a hard and heavy separation.
However, gratitude transforms the agony of remembering in quiet joy.
We carry the past, and the beauty thereof, not like a thorn,
but like a priceless gift within ourselves."
Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Auf Wiedersehen!