Patricia Wimberley

Words at the scattering and burial of her ashes off the port of Caleta de Vélez, Sunday June 21 2009

In forty years together, Patricia and I knew each other I suppose as well as a man and a woman can. Still I was a bit surprised by her instructions for her funeral, though I have always realized that she was wiser than I am in matters of the heart. She asked for a cremation, and memorial services both in Strasbourg and here in Spain: three opportunities, in her three homelands, for all her family and many friends to weave the remembrance of her wisdom and goodness into the fabric of our ongoing lives. But finally she asked for her ashes to be quietly scattered in the Mediterranean, the sea near which her mother was born and met her father. She chose to leave no memorial but these rich memories, for which we are for ever grateful to her. Sarah, Cassie and I would like to thank Aña and Marco very warmly for making this last of her wishes possible.

The journey of all our lives ends in the reuniting of our our bodies with nature, whether the good earth that feeds us or the waters from which all life comes; and our souls with God, the Lord of fishermen and housewives, of bureaucrats and toddlers, and the Lord whose call is answered in every good life such as Patricia's. So we are not bitter as we say goodbye to you: you were an exceptional daughter, wife, mother, grandmother and friend, and both gave and received in full measure the love that is the purpose and ground of our being.

[From Psalm 139]

1 O Lord, you have searched me out and known me;  •
you know my sitting down and my rising up; you discern my thoughts from afar.  

Oh Jehová, tú me has examinado y conocido. Tú has conocido mi sentarme y mi levantarme; Has entendido desde lejos mis pensamientos.   

2 You mark out my journeys and my resting place  •
and are acquainted with all my ways.  

Has escudriñado mi andar y mi reposo, Y todos mis caminos te son conocidos.    


6 Where can I go then from your spirit?  •
Or where can I flee from your presence?

¿A dónde me iré de tu Espíritu? ¿Y a dónde huiré de tu presencia? 

7 If I climb up to heaven, you are there;  •
if I make the grave my bed, you are there also.  

Si subiere a los cielos, allí estás tú; Y si en el Seol hiciere mi estrado, he aquí, allí tú estás.  

8 If I take the wings of the morning  •
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,  

Si tomare las alas del alba Y habitare en el extremo del mar,

9 Even there your hand shall lead me,  •
your right hand hold me fast.  

Aun allí me guiará tu mano, me asirá tu diestra.


12 For you formed my inmost being;  •

you knit me together in my mother`s womb.

Porque tú formaste mis entrañas; Tú me hiciste en el vientre de mi madre.

13 I thank you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;  •
marvellous are your works, my soul knows well. 

Te alabaré; porque formidables, maravillosas son tus obras;Estoy maravillado, Y mi alma lo sabe muy bien.     

A last prayer [from an American Catholic liturgy for burial at sea] before we commit the ashes of our beloved Pat to the bosom of the sea.

Lord God, by the power of your Word you stilled the chaos of the primeval seas, you made the raging waters of the Flood subside, and calmed the storm on the sea of Galilee. As we commit the earthly remains of our sister Patricia to the deep, grant her peace and tranquillity until that day when she and all who sleep in you will be raised to the glory of new life promised in the waters of baptism. We ask this through Christ our Lord.


I will now ask Sarah, Jérôme and Cassie to join me in scattering some of her ashes before we bury the urn.