Friday, September 10, 2010

in loving memory of a wonderful woman

Today our family attended the funeral of our friend of the most dear women who has changed all our lives for the better. Elle and her friends sang. Grace bawled. It was a teary, sweet funeral.

Over the past two years my girls and a few of their friends have visited her pretty much every Sunday (I wrote about how it all began back here). They would ride their bikes over to her special-care home in our neighborhood, where she could do nothing but lay in bed due to Multiple Sclerosis. She couldn't move any muscles in her body aside from a few facial ones that still allowed her to talk (very quietly) and eat (very little). The girls usually read her stories from the Friend, brought her goodies that they would feed to her bite by bite, and sang her songs by the dozens.

And I'm sure that they brightened her day. I mean who's day wouldn't be brightened by these cute smiles?
But I wonder if Nancy knew how much she brightened their days. They always came home so happy and rejuvenated. You see, Nancy never, ever complained. She smiled and told them wonderful things. She strengthened their faith. She taught them how to be optimistic in the face of horrible circumstances, and she taught them the power of love.

Sweet Nancy has been bed-ridden for twenty years. I think about that and it makes me itch with claustrophobia. She went from being an active mother of three children who sewed curtains and drove them to piano lessons, to a wheel chair, to a bed, never to get up again.

Yet her positive attitude affected everyone she an incredible way.

When we heard the news of her passing I was devastated. I wished I had visited one more time (I had kinda let my girls take over the visiting). I wished we had taken more pictures or that I would have followed through on my girls desires to help them figure out how to actually take Nancy in her wheelchair somewhere other than that little bed of hers.

But another part of me rejoiced for happy that vibrant spirit of hers must be to leave that sick body behind. I believe that she is rejoicing with loved ones who have also passed away. And I believe that although it must have been devastating to leave her earthly family behind, that beautiful spirit of hers is glowing in her new-found freedom. She had done her job on earth to the fullest.

Thank you Nancy, for your valiant example of love and faith. Thank you for bringing light into so many lives from your little bed.

But most of all, thank you for teaching my daughters the joy of service.

Something they will never forget.

You will be dearly missed by so many.


  1. I am so sorry for your loss, she sounds like she was AMAZING! and your daughters are pretty amazing too! My daughter, who is 10 is afraid of anyone with anything wrong with them at all. I need her to do something like this so she can see it's okay. When my husband got burned really bad, she was afraid to even look at him. Fear comes from the unknown and my daughter needs to learn a little more about this type of thing! thanks for sharing! xoxo tara

  2. What a sweet tribute! It also hit very close to home. My mom, who has had MS for 20 years is to the point now where she is completely bed ridden and needs constant care for everyday things. (We are in the process of moving her to a home.) Yet, she is very positive and has the sweetest spirit about her even though her situation would give her reason not to be. As I read your post, I felt as though you were speaking of my mom as your description fit her perfectly. My mom also has a group of kids that visit her and I know that my mom's days are so much brighter because of it.
    What a neat experience for you girls! Thanks for sharing.

  3. Oh my goodness that is both devastating and heartwarming. My aunt has MS, so this hits particularly close to home. How proud you must be of your sweet girls for embracing such a wonderful friendship that will follow them the rest of their lives.

  4. My thoughts and prayers to your family.....especially your sweet girls.

  5. Oh dear I missed it. Nancy was truly a sweet spirit. You have such sweet girls to go visit her.

  6. i know nancy! she is wonderful. she has greatly touched our lives, too.

  7. I have big, fat tears rolling down my cheeks right now. What a touching story of service and love from your girls and of faithfulness and endurance from Nancy. Thank you so much for sharing it.

  8. Wow, I cried. My sister has MS and although she is still walking and talking and you wouldnever know... I wish she would take better care of herself so that I never have to write this post!

    Kudos to you for raising such amazing girls!

  9. I am so sorry to hear that Nancy has passed away. I was so glad that your daughter and her friends went to visit her though. MS has pretty much ravaged both sides of my family tree and I know how hard and long the suffering can be. I'm sure Nancy apprecated the service your girls gave to her.

  10. I lost my darling aunt just two weeks ago, she also was horribly crippled by MS. Her greatest fear was the increasing immobility that she felt coming swifter each day. She was lost in an instant to a massive heart attack but my second thought after being told was oh how happy she will be to ride a horse again. I miss her horribly but am so grateful that she is free and with her father in Heaven. I am so glad your friend had your girls I know what joy girls bring with them!

  11. I was at the funeral this morning and it was a wonderful tribute to Nancy, her family, and friends like you. I am so grateful that she was surrounded by and cared for by so many people. When I visited her, she would often ask me to write letters for her. I always came away being grateful for Nancy's willingness to let me serve her. She is one of my heros along with her daughter Kristin who has been a devoted daughter. I, too, am glad she is free. (I am Holly Janeen's Mom and sometimes read your blog when I have finished reading Holly' your family.)

  12. What a sweet experience. It certainly puts things into perspective!

  13. I am so, so sorry for your loss. She sounds like an absolutely amazing woman and I'm glad she got to touch your lives in such a profound way over the past few years. May she rest in peace and happiness.

  14. What a blessing your girls were to Miss Mancy! My mom passed away 3 years ago from the same thing. She was only 63, but had been bed ridden for 7 years. Unfortunately I live 400 miles away, so my visits weren't nearly as frequent as I wished they were. Thankfully, friends and neighbors were always visiting with her and I could talk with her on the phone everyday. I can't imagine living like she did, but she rarely complained! I'm thankful that she's walking in Heaven with her Father now!!!

    What wonderful, loving and giving girls you're raising.

    So sorry for your loss.

  15. I'm so sorry for your loss. How great that your daughters got to know her and serve her, and for Nancy to serve them. What a sweet relationship. Our thoughts and prayers are with your family and Nancy's family.



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