Monday, April 02, 2018

A Beautiful Death

It has been six weeks since my mother went to heaven. I had hoped to post before this, but with Mom's death following my sister's passing so soon after, the wind went out of my sails and I haven't had the heart to write. 

But today I am better. Today I am writing. Today I feel more like me.

I miss Mom so much and long for just one more kiss to her petal-soft cheek. I always kissed her good-bye when it was time to end our visits. And she'd give me one of her sweet, sweet smiles and tell me she loved me.

Mom was 93 and like most of the elderly found life to be challenging. She depended on the help of others and her world, which had once been big and wide, became small. Still, she rarely complained and was a living example of what it means to have a thankful heart.

Six days before she died, we were told that she was in an "active" phase of dying. She was no longer eating or drinking and slept most of the time. Occasionally, she would open her eyes and look at those near her and she would smile sweetly. My brother and I sat with her for many hours, holding her hand, caressing her arms or feet, dropping kisses on her cheek. Family came to sit and to say farewell, to be near her just a little longer. Friends and caregivers (past and present) visited as well. They came with sweet remembrances and hugs and kisses for mom and family. One caregiver came each day to love on Mom and to play a special song they both treasured. 

So many loved her.

Mom wasn't rich or famous or especially exceptional ... except in the way that matters most. She had a kind heart and she appreciated the people who had been part of her life. Through the years people were drawn to her. She was someone who listened to hopes and dreams, heart aches and disappointment and precious joys. Mom did not judge when a person dared to be transparent and share a truth no one else could know.  

Mom was grateful for the kindness and care shown to her by others and made sure to say "thank you." 

In her final years life was not easy for Mom but, she still found much to be grateful for, even the sometimes long and quiet days. 

Mom was a gift to me. I miss her, but I've been blessed to know her and to have watched her example of gracious living. One day we will be together again - Mom, my sisters, my father, me and many others I love. We will share eternity.

Thank you, Father, for my precious mother.

This is one of my favorite photos of Mom. 
It was taken on her honeymoon after she married my father.

Elsa Trover Campbell Roberts
1/9/25 - 2/13/2018

  Elsa was born in Spenard, Alaska to Thomas and Vera Roberts. She was raised in a unique frontier and subsistence lifestyle on a remote homestead at a place called Alexander Creek, a tributary of the Little Susitna River. She was one of eight children (six boys and 2 girls). She grew up on the "creek" and later attended school in Anchorage Alaska during the school year.

For a remote country girl of just 18 she showed unusual courage for her time when she left home in 1943, booking transport on a ship bound for Seattle. There she became reacquainted with a young Navy man by the name of Roy Campbell and later married him in Yakima, Washington in September of 1946.

Elsa and Roy spent 30 happy years in Yakima, then Renton, then Kent Washington raising a family of five children (Bruce, Craig, Bonnie, Myrn and Leslie). Sadly, after a 5 yea battle Roy died of cancer in 1975.

Elsa was remarried in 1977 to Orviille Trover and found a brand new family and fulfilling lifestyle as they worked together in the antique business. She loved that business and its weekly treasure hunts at garage/yardd/estate sales and the like. Besides Trigger and her children it was her greatest joy. Elsa and trigger remained together until his death in 2012.

Later that year Elsa moved to Roseburg, Oregon where she could be near daughter Bonnie and her husband Greg. With failing health in subsequent years Elsa died peacefully at the Ashley Manor Nursing Home February 13, 2018.

Elsa touched many lives over her lifetime and was known to be kind and caring to all while remaining strong and resilient to adversity. Godd had enriched her with family and friends who loved her and she in turn enriched others with her contagious smile and positivity.

Elsa is survived by brother Harold, daughter Bonnie, son-n-law Marshal, sons Craig and Bruce, 12 grandchildren and 17 great grandchildren.

We'll be seeing you.

Friday, January 05, 2018

She Was Special

This is a photo of my sister on her last trip to New Zealand. She loved New Zealand because her daughter and grandchildren live there. This was taken after she had completed a difficult hike. She always loved a challenge.

I wanted to post sooner, but my heart has been hurting too much to do it. My sister Myrn died on December 22nd. She was diagnosed with stage IV renal cell carcinoma in June. We knew the battle would be hard to win, but hoped for more time.

Even now when the truth of my sister's death hits me my heart catches and I lose my breath. It doesn't seem possible. She was the one who was supposed to still be puttering around her garden in her 80's or 90's. Again, I am reminded that God's plans are not necessarily the same as mine.
Myrn was one of a kind, handcrafted by God. She was born in Yakima Washington on March 1, 1954 and was number four out of five children.

She was intelligent, well educated, and a gifted vocalist, musician, and artist. She loved God's Word and was a skilled teacher and mentor. She was a dedicated servant of the Lord.

Myrn's garden revealed how she loved to make things grow. She never tired of fishing and was always up for a new adventure. Her love of family was powerful.


When God called her and her husband, Steve, to Naukati Alaska, where they were to pastor a church she took a huge risk, but bravely trusted God. I've always admired her courage.

She grew to love Southeast Alaska, Naukati and her new church family on Prince of Wales Island. 

Whenever possible she traveled to see family and friends and made many trips across the globe. I always cherished our time together.

Myrn and I were close, but we couldn't have been more different. She was adventurous and always looking for fun. She was the one with the bright smile  on her face who never met a stranger. Mom always told us that if someone knocked at the door Myrn would charge across the house to greet whomever it was and tell them all the latest family drama before they could step inside. 

Even though we were different we were good friends. We spent hours playing ourdoors - red light/green light - Mother May I - Duck Duck Goose - baseball - football. We loved to ride horses, but we didn't have any of our own so we would hang out at our neighbor's place and hope they would take pity on us and let us ride their horses. On summer days we would lay out and tan, but I couldn't take much sun and usually gave up after 30 minutes. Back in those days, Myrn could spend hours tanning.

Indoors, Myrn and I loved playing out dramas with our Barbies and Ken dolls. And we thrived on the competition of board games.

It wasn't always easy to be Myrn's sister. She was So good at everything - an excellent student, musician; she was even a good seamstress and cook. I suppose I should have been jealous, but mostly I was proud of her. I'm still proud of her. 

Myrn was special. She had a way of brightening up any event.
She was creative and helpful, hard working. She was the one we knew could pull off an event. When our mother turned eighty we had a fabulous party. All us kids helped, but Myrn was the one who pulled it together.
 December 22 I lost my best friend. Myrn was the one who knew everything about me. She was the one I could call ... anytime. She'd have a word of encouragement or advice. She'd pray with me. And she prayed for me every day. 

Myrn was a gift, not just to me but to everyone who knew her. It doesn't seem right that a bright light like my sister has been called home so soon, but I know that above all things she loved and trusted God. She loved His Word. In Eccleciastes 3 it says, "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: A time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance ....

Myrn lived and loved and served. And for reasons I can't understand her time here is finished. Now she is dancing and singing and serving in heaven. I wish there was more time to listen to her sing. More time to admire her newest paintings. More time for morning chats over coffee. And more time to laugh and to be quiet while we rest in the shade on a warm summer day.

Myrn trusted God and I know she understands what it means to grieve. Her daughter Crystal went to heaven eleven years ago. They are together now. Myrn wouldn't expect those who love her to let her go lightly, but she also wants us to get on with life and to fulfill the purpose God has given each of us. To trust Him with our lives. 

My heart is shattered, but how blessed I am to have known her and to know that this farewell is only temporary.

I had a dream a few days ago. I dreamed most of my family, including Myrn, was at a very crowded restaurant. By the time I got to the table there was no place for me. Myrn cleared a spot and pulled a chair up next to her. When I sat down I woke up.

At first I was pierced to the heart, knowing that it wasn't real and that Myrn was gone. But after thinking for a few moments I saw more clearly -  Myrn is saving a place for me at the table, the Lord's table. One day we will be together again.

On her last visit here late this summer she longed for time in the sunshine. She took this photo.

I'll be seeing you, Sis.