Memorial Service

Orchid

ORDER OF SERVICE

IN LOVING MEMORY AND THANKSGIVING FOR THE LIFE OF                          Elizabeth Charlotte Bogod                                                                                                 November 26, 1976 – February 1, 2013

Church of St. John the Divine
1611 Quadra Street, Victoria, BC V8W 2L5
February 8, 2013 2:00 p.m.

Resurrection Sentences concluding with…
I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God. Romans 8:38-39

Hymn The Lord’s My Shepherd (CP 519) Crimond
1. The Lord’s my shepherd, I’ll not want:
he makes me down to lie
in pastures green; he leadeth me
the quiet waters by.

2. My soul he doth restore again,
and me to walk doth make
within the paths of righteousness,
even for his own name’s sake.

3. Yea, though I walk through death’s dark vale,
yet will I fear no ill;
for thou art with me, and thy rod
and staff me comfort still.

4. My table though hast furnishèd
in presence of my foes;
my head thou does with oil anoint,
and my cup overflows.

5. Goodness and mercy all my life
shall surely follow me,
and in God’s house for evermore
my dwelling place shall be.

Psalm 121
I lift up my eyes to the hills;
from where is my help to come?
My help comes from the Lord,
the maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot be moved
and he who watches over you will not fall asleep.
Behold, he who keeps watch over Israel
shall neither slumber nor sleep;
The Lord himself watches over you;
the Lord is your shade at your right hand,
So that the sun shall not strike you by day,
nor the moon by night.
The Lord shall preserve you from all evil;
it is he who shall keep you safe.
The Lord shall watch over your going out and your coming in,
from this time forth for evermore.

Gospel Reading Matthew 5:1-12a Timothy Finlason – brother-in-law
The Beatitudes
When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down,
his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:
‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
‘Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
‘Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be
filled.
‘Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
‘Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the
kingdom of heaven.
‘Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds
of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your
reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets
who were before you.

Homily

Tributes                                                                                                                                          Nicholas Bogod – brother                                                                                                               Karyne Finlason – sister                                                                                                                       Paul Gilbert – friend                                                                                                                        Waneta Matei – friend                                                                                                                        Hazel Meredith – Executive Director, BC Schizophrenia Society

Adagio for Strings by Samuel Barber played by Judy Bogod

Prayers
God of grace and glory, we thank you for Elizabeth, who was so near and dear
to us, and who has now been taken from us.
We thank you for the friendship and support she gave and for the care and
compassion she brought to others.
We thank you for the love she offered and received while she was with us on
earth.
We pray that nothing good in this woman’s life will be lost, but will be of
benefit to the world; that all that was important to her will be respected by
those who follow; and that everything in which she was great will continue to
mean much to us now that she is dead.
We ask that she be kept in the hearts and minds of her family and friends and
manifested in their thoughts and actions.
We ask you that we who were close to her may now, because of her death, be
even closer to each other, and that we may, in peace and friendship here on
earth, always be deeply conscious of your promise to be faithful to us in death.
We pray for ourselves, who are severely tested by this death, that we do not
try to minimize this loss, or seek refuge from it in words alone, and also that
we do not brood over it so that it overwhelms us and isolates us from others.
May God grant us courage and confidence in the new life of Christ.
We ask this in the name of the risen Lord.

The Commendation
Give rest, O Christ, to your servant Elizabeth with your saints,
where sorrow and pain are no more,
neither sighing, but life everlasting.
You only are immortal, the creator and maker of all;
and we are mortal, formed of the earth,
and to earth shall we return.
For so did you ordain when you created me, saying,
“You are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
All of us go down to the dust;
yet even at the grave we make our song:
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
Give rest, O Christ, to your servant Elizabeth with your saints,
where sorrow and pain are no more,
neither sighing, but life everlasting.

Blessing and Dismissal

Hymn – You Raise Me Up Rolf Lovland and Brendan Graham                          When I am down and oh my soul so weary                                                                            When troubles come and my heart burdened be                                                                     Then I am still and wait here in the silence                                                                             Until you come and sit awhile with me                                                                                       You raise me up so I can stand on mountains                                                                           You raise me up to walk on stormy seas                                                                                         I am strong when I am on your shoulders                                                                                 You raise me up to more than I can be.

Repeat

The family invites everyone to a reception in the Denson Lounge
immediately following the service.

Officiant: The Reverend Dr. Larry Scyner
Pianist: Clarisa Morrison Verger: Chuck Neilson

Obituary published in the Times-C0lonist

We are saddened to announce the sudden passing of Elizabeth
Charlotte Bogod on February 1st at the age of 36. She was a very
special person with a huge heart for those who needed care. She
was a pioneer in the frontiers of new mental health initiatives.
Elizabeth believed very much in the peer support movement, in
the principle that those best able to help others are those who
have lived or are living with the same pain themselves. She
battled long and bravely against a neuro-learning disorder which
impacted her life dramatically. We were all awed by her strength
of purpose and commitment to helping others. Creative and
visionary, a shining light has been extinguished. Elizabeth is
deeply mourned by her parents, Judy and Philip and by her sister,
Karen (Tim) and her brother, Nicholas (Carolin) and her
wonderful friend, Paul.

HOMILY BY REVEREND DR. LARRY SCYNER

We come together to celebrate Elizabeth’s life, to express our grief and sorrow and to acknowledge our deep loss.

Elizabeth did not have an easy life.  From childhood on she suffered physical pain – as a young girl she struggled with Crohn’s Disease. She suffered emotionally – the pain of learning disabilities and of being a target for bullying at school – the pain of having to struggle to develop relationships with others.

A spiritual pain – looking for answers to the questions of purpose and meaning in life, answers that she found hard to find.  I know that she looked at and became involved with a number of faith groups but never found the answers that satisfied all the important questions she was raising.

Despite her disabilities and her pain, Elizabeth achieved much in her short life, in her work with people with mental illness, in her advocacy for those who, like her, faced pain and distress and prejudice in the world.

Elizabeth was capable of great creativity – just read her poetry.  At times, she was able to enjoy life – think of her relationship with horses.  Wherever it was possible, she took charge of her life and was able to make lemonade from the lemons she received. Even to the end, she was in control – and we all need to understand and ultimately accept the incredibly difficult decision she came to.

Some of the questions Elizabeth asked we have no answer to.  We cannot comprehend why such pain and distress exist.  Yes, we can speak of chemical imbalances in the brain, we can hazard guesses about genetics, but in the long run, these answers are palliative – they take the edge off the suffering. Pills, medication are able to dull the pain; they do not make continuing life possible for some people.  But they don’t address the “Why” – the deeper spiritual issues around the meaning and purpose of life.

Elizabeth, in her life, was able to make it meaningful and purposeful, even if it proved too daunting a task in the end.

She leaves family members and friends with a great sense of loss and sadness, a sadness that we could not do more to ease her journey, that we still know so little about mental health issues.

I would caution you not to take more responsibility than you should in her death.  Many of you, especially her family and close friends, worked long and hard with her in encouraging a fulfilling and happy life.  But it was Elizabeth who made the adult decisions. She fought the good fight and needed to rest. She chose her path, a choice we must respect and honour.

To be fully human means, above all, to be in a relationship of love and care with others. Elizabeth had that relationship with her family, and with close friends – but like all relationships, the road she traveled was at times rocky and difficult.

I am convinced that those of us who suffer from mental illness do so because of our incredible sensitivity to relationships, to how we respond to others, and they to us.  How this sensitivity comes about I have no idea.  But I do know that it leaves mentally ill people extremely vulnerable. Some of us deal with this vulnerability by shutting out the real and difficult world, hiding in a world of our own making. Others of us simply withdraw and distance ourselves from people. Elizabeth did neither. She faced the world squarely and did her very best to make that experience meaningful and worthwhile. She deserves our highest praise.

In the Bible, the Book of Job is a fictional story written in narrative form to address the problem of suffering. Pain and suffering come to all of us.  It is an integral part of being human. In facing pain, we often ask the question “Why me?  What did I do to deserve this?”.  That is a natural response, but perhaps a more helpful question might be “How can I best handle this pain”?  How can I make use of my situation for the benefit of all?”

Despite all his sufferings, Job faced these questions. He remains convinced of the goodness of God and his purpose in life, and he is ultimately rewarded. Faced with unrelenting pain, he could still say “I know that my redeemer lives and he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth. Though worms may destroy this body yet in my flesh I shall see God”.

Perhaps a little differently from Job, Elizabeth answered these questions with courage and creativity. Elizabeth, in her journey and relationships, affirmed that her life had meaning and purpose, despite incredible suffering.

And we too here affirm for Elizabeth that her life was of the utmost value, that she fulfilled an extremely important purpose here and we recognize the profound meaning she offered to us all as she lived her life on earth.

So in our sorrow and our loss, we can also rejoice – we are thankful for her life, for what she has taught us, and for what she has achieved for those who are mentally ill.  We give thanks for these gifts, given to us all so freely. Thank you, Elizabeth, that our paths have crossed in this journey of life, and that we have indeed benefitted from that meeting.  Thank you, Elizabeth, for the gift of your life, and for the blessing of having known and loved you.

TRIBUTE BY NICHOLAS BOGOD (BROTHER)

 My sister Elizabeth:  

I was not as close to my sister as I should have been. The fault was mine. I was too busy with work, my own loves, my own busy life to give her the brother she desired. I gave her monetary things. My old iPhone. Financial support for therapies. The occasional phone call. A pittance really. The odd incidental visit when seeing Mom and Dad. But not the brother she wanted. I must own and carry that with me.

She was a sweet child. Loving. Easy going. If you knew her only as an adult and believe that the wounded young woman was all of her you diminish her. She started out with a pure, joyful spirit. We were far apart in age. She was 6 when I was a long haired wayward teen of 15. But my friends and I loved her. I taught her that the answer to the question “who is the best band in the world?” was Pink Floyd. I was a big fan of the band Black Sabbath. She called it “monster music” but was not afraid of it. As an expression of excitement she came up with the word “fukinaruckus” spontaneously to our vast amusement. She would come downstairs and visit with my sketchy friends and I fearlessly. She would give everyone a kiss goodbye when she left. She started out sweet, unselfconscious and unencumbered.

The hard lessons began later. In Elementary and High School she struggled. She was a “resource room” kid. Pulled out of regular classes – a great way to ensure an already socially struggling child is ostracized and stigmatized. She was poor at reading others social nuances and didn’t quite fit in – the last thing you want as a tween or teen. When she struggled in school she had assessments and therapists and doting parents who would do anything to help her – but sometimes no amount of help can make up for social isolation, relentless bullying, and a constant sense of unworthiness and failure. As we can recall, fitting in at that age is imperative to social survival – she simply didn’t. She developed Crohn’s disease, a painful and debilitating intestinal condition that forced her to run to the bathroom frequently. More stigma and an illness caused or worsened by stress. It is hard to imagine how much stress she was under.

As an adult she struggled for independence, for acceptance, for recognition, for respect. Nevertheless, she had many successes. Perhaps 15 years ago or more she asked me to help her with some HTML code as she wanted to make a website. I showed her the very little I knew and from that meagre beginning she taught herself web site creation culminating in her LD Pride Website, providing information and support to people with Learning Disabilities and  sparking her push for more recognition for individuals with “Invisible Disabilities”. She also hosted a weekly supportive chat room on the site – her first involvement with peer support. The site won many online awards and she ultimately sold it to a US buyer with the agreement that the content would be maintained. You can still see it at LDPride.net today where she is still listed with a photo as the site’s founder and you can follow a link to her story of overcoming Learning Disabilities. Others can talk more intimately of her more recent work in creating the Victoria Invisible Disabilities Association and her work with BCSS and New Lights but she had many other successes. However, she also experienced many setbacks and disappointments… and we are our own worst critics. Years of success can be damaged by what seem from the outside to be small failures, especially if you are fragile and your self-esteem is tentative at best.

Mom and dad did everything and more than could be asked of parents. We actually told them to do less, they did so much. They supported her endlessly at great personal sacrifice. No holidays alone for decades for fear of the very event that has us gathered today. But your family are expected to love you and unfortunately when much of the world outside of your family rejects and diminishes you, you start to internalize their beliefs at great personal cost.

For me, my sister died of a broken heart. Made more and more fragile by her inability to find acceptance and respect she began to believe her critics. She wrote that she took her life because she was a “bad person”. I couldn’t disagree more. She was, in truth, a very good person. She had needs but was never manipulative. She gave much and received little. She was humble, struggling to take pride even in her many great accomplishments. She was a person who had challenges but who often rose high above them to create beautiful poetry, skilled works of art, and to be the impetus behind entire programs of support for those in need.

I hope that her memory, and her legacy, will live on in all our thoughts and in the continuation of her life’s work, which was at its core, about helping others. Rest in peace my dear Elizabeth.

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