Jodie’s Starfish and Rainbow Connection

Ceremony for the celebration of the life of Jodie Bowron.

Scotts Recreation and Surf Club   Wednesday 4pm 5.2.23

Music: Forest Gump Soundtrack

Welcome to Country: Kelvin Jarrett

We gather to honour the beautiful life of Jodie Bowron. On behalf of Jodie’s wife, Linda, and their daughters, Jorja and Malika, I welcome you to join in the storytelling and remembrance, and to allow the music and photos to support and connect you with Jodie as we say farewell. It will come as no surprise that Jodie wanted a celebration that was very relaxed and welcoming; she especially wanted the children to be able to play and feel at ease. Today’s ceremony will be a heartfelt reflection of Jodie’s rich life that has been well lived and honour a woman who was well loved.

There will be space for both the mourning and celebration of Jodie, also known as sis, shista, tuppence, Auntie Jodie, Jodus, Jodes… mumma.

My name is Wendy Haynes and I am the celebrant for today’s ceremony.

Jodie was deeply connected to this land, she felt she belonged here. Thank you to Kelvin for the Welcome to Country. I’d also like to acknowledge that we hold this ceremony on the unceded land of the Gumbaynggirr people and we pay our respect to the Elders past, present and emerging. Linda and I would also like to acknowledge the Aboriginal people that are here today. Jodie was very grateful that you would join us, you were a very dear part of her family.

Let us take a moment, to bring Jodie to mind and the relationship you shared with her. Maybe it’s a story you remember, something funny she said …or how she cared for you.

I’d like to invite those who knew Jodie intimately to share the eulogy and tributes.

Eulogy:         Linda Donnelly

Reading:      Read by Leah Winslow, one of Jodie’s best friends


The Starfish Story

A lady was walking along the beach when she saw a little girl picking something up off the ground and throwing it into the ocean. Curious, she traipses up to the girl and asks her the purpose of her efforts. ‘I’m throwing starfish back into the sea’, the girl replies. ‘The sun has come up and they’ll die unless I save them.’ ‘But there are so many starfish, you’ll never be able to reach them all’, the lady replies. ‘In fact, this very likely is happening on beaches all over the world. You’ll never be able to save enough of them to make a difference.’ The girl listens politely, then picks up another starfish and throws it into the ocean. Turning to the lady with a smile, she replies, ‘I made a difference to that one.’ Adapted from the original by Loren Eiseley.

Tributes:      Shane Flannery (Jodie’s baby brother)

Leanne Bowron (Jodie’s big little sister)

Jorja Donnelly

Kerry Kelly

A Traditional Prayer

‘Blessed are those who give meaning to our lives; holy and precious is the example they leave behind. May our sorrows diminish as we recall their strength. May their wisdom protect us and help us to live. Let our grief be transformed into tenderness for those who are still with us.

The family have chosen a favourite song of Jodie’s that we might take some time for reflection.

Music: Dente’s Prayer—Loreena McKennit


Words of Remembrance

It was Jodie’s wish to be cremated and have her ashes here present with us. Let us offer now the words of remembrance.

Jodie loved her beloved wife, Linda and her adored children, Jorja and Malika. She felt very lucky and honoured to be your mumma B Bear. When I asked her about you (her children) she said: just thank you for being her kids. She’s always loved you.

Fly high and aim for the moon. If you miss you’ll land in the stars.

Jodie will be remembered for her love of the many children she cared for throughout her life. Jodie was a carer at so many levels. She said you find out a lot about yourself caring for young people. Jodie mothered everyone. Jodie was always interested and wanted to know your story; and treated everyone with respect and dignity, with openness and love, no matter how they showed up.  Jodie offered a safe space whether it was for five minutes or 50 years.

Jodie was a rebel and could be feral. And, she was a woman who was generous and kind and wise. She was also humble, so when we were meeting and Linda and I were saying all these things…she felt a bit awkward. However, her wisdom and kindness were woven into her very way of being. On the day we discussed this ceremony a fly landed in the water bottle. Even with her limited mobility, she rescued it saying, let’s give him half a chance.

Jodie’s credo: Just be nice people. It’s not hard. She said, sure, there will be times when you do something and you know it’s not ok: learn from your mistakes. Jodie was an inspiration to many. And as her dear friend, Shazza, who left the party before her and died in December, declared, Jodie, is dependable, reliable, intelligent, hardworking and, Shazza said with a few tears, a wonderful example of sincere friendship.

It is time for us to say goodbye.

Jodie felt that after we die, we go somewhere, not sure where, just a knowing that it is a sacred time. With her sense of humour always flowing, she hoped that when she got there, they’d look at her report card! Jodie also said that she wanted Linda and the kids to be cherished during this time of loss and grief; and that is why we gather, to share your loss and to hold each other close.

It is this connection as a community that can bring love, security and a sense that you really matter and that you belong. It’s what can make the world feel safe. Jodie lived this all her life.

There is a poem written by the poet, Maya Angelou and the last verse reads,

And when great souls die after a period, peace blooms,
slowly and always irregularly. 

Spaces fill with a kind of soothing electric vibration.
Our senses, restored, never to be the same,

Whisper to us. They existed. They existed.

We can be. Be and be better. For they existed.

I know you are deeply grateful for having Jodie be a part of your lives. It will take time, tears and many stories to find the new form of relationship with Jodie, one that can be harder to lean into without the physical form, her care, her laugh, her cheekiness and yet, one that can be called upon in times of need. Her mum, Dawn would show herself as an eagle. Jodie, as Jorja said, we will look for her in the rainbows.

Some of you may know, Jodie hated coffins and so it is we get the Genie Lamp as she referred to it… and three wishes. However, she was clear …there are no guarantees dudes!

At this time, we invite you to come forward and place some flowers on and around the table… on her boots, genie lamp and stethoscope, while we listen to one of Jodie’s favourite soundtracks. You may wish to silently offer your blessings and prayers… and invoke your wishes at this time. It is holy time in the rainbow connection.

Music: Kermit the Frog—Rainbow Connection

Petals on Jodie’s ‘Aladdin’s Lamp’

I watched the movie, Jorja spoke about, Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium. I know you weren’t ready for Jodie to leave, you never would be. As the story goes, and as you said Jorja, Jodie lived the acts of her life. With tears, you turn the page, it aches… and you let the next story begin. Jodie will always be a part of that magic, when you tell her stories, remember her wisdom, kindness and care. Mr Magorium said, “we wait, we breath, we pulse, we regenerate, our hearts beat, our minds create, our souls ingest.” We have our lifetime to live and to love. And we are here to help each other get back up when we fall; that is what Jodie offered and now this is what you, as a family and community, offer—a sense of belonging and connection…Jodie’s rainbow connection.

Linda and the family would like to invite you to join them after the ceremony for refreshments up at the surf club, to continue the storytelling and to have a Carlton Dry for Jodie.

Let us close the ceremony with another song that Jodie chose. When we met to create this ceremony, this song came on in the café at Valla Beach. Jodie asked the waitress for its name… she loved this song, it made her smile, and said this is the one for the close—you make me feel like dancing. She made us feel like dancing.

Thank you for being here. May peace be with you.

Closing Song—Leo Sayer, You Make Me Feel like Dancing

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