Tuesday, April 10, 2007

To My Dear Sister Elaine...

I wish I had a picture of her, however let me draw you a visual picture of her. She had honey blonde hair, even at this phase of her life, and let me assure you it was natural. She wasn't very tall, we looked like polar opposites in this. She was muscular, and had the most soul searching intense eyes. She was BEAUTIFUL to me!
Today is my birthday. Another year has came and went, and I am so thankful for every year of life I have had with my family and friends. I know I know.....we have all heard this before, but I don't think I could mean it anymore than I do today. You see, today is a funeral for a dear sister in our church. So today, rather than sharing what I will be doing to celebrate another birthday, I would like to share with you how this one woman made me a better person, and this birthday a better birthday.

Her name is/was Elaine. This dear sister, who was my mother's age, took me in and under her wing when I first moved to Washington. The first time I saw her was at my sister's house. She walked in, saw me, grabbed my hand, and began to tear up. I was shocked by this wave of unsolicited emotion, and a wee bit stunned. What had I done to cause this poor sweet sister to cry? She began to tell me that when she looked into my face she saw my Dad, my Mom, and her best friend(who had passed on), my Aunt Lois. She shared with me all the reasons she loved each of them, and how I represented those beautiful things and people to her. Well to be honest, I was overwhelmed and I thought she surely must be exaggerating. I guess I wasn't truly convinced. However, EVERY single time I saw her she would gush the same way. This continued on for many months, and I saw her on a regular weekly basis.

I remember standing in her large garden, outside her home, in the rich dark soil, and listening to her motherly wisdom about children, God, and life. She was healthy, and full of life. I thought she would, truly, live for a long time. She had the most organic way about her.

A couple of years later, she fell ill to uterine cancer. This thing ravaged her. It took this, once strong female, and bent her to it's dark ugly will. It was scary and heartless. There were many days that she was too ill to care for herself, and the sisters from our church would take turns sitting and caring for her. She deserved every moment of our time, for she was one of the most giving and selfless women I will probably ever know. I am grateful to the many times I sat beside her, and held her hand. Through those quiet moments we, honestly, shared how much and why we loved each other. I felt like one of her own. I even sang hymns to her, by her request. What a gift, to me, to be a part of her life, and even her death.

The day after we left to head for Oregon we received a call, from some of the brethren, sharing with us that she was worse again, and to remember her in our prayers. A little over a week later she passed from this world into a FAR better place. She was ready to go after a three year battle with cancer, but it is always hard to say goodbye. She left behind 7 children, the youngest being 12 and the oldest my age. She was sad to say goodbye, and we were sorrowful too.

So today is her funeral. I cannot attend. Den and I were asked to sing at it, but since the time frame was such short notice, and 7 hours away, we could not make it. However, today I will remember who she has been to me. What she brought to my life. That even though they will lay her into the same rich soil, that she loved to till with her hands, on my birthday, its a great day to remember the first time she ever grabbed my hands, with tears in her eyes, and said I love you. She said, "Noooo....look at me....I REALLY love you, and I want you to know that."

Well....She finally convinced me.

Goodbye Sis. Elaine, I'll see you over Jordan some sweet day........

23 comments:

la bellina mammina said...

Am sorry to hear about Elaine - she is in a better place now. Happy birthday to you Trina - hope you manage to somehow enjoy it - Elaine would want that I'm sure.

Trina said...

la bellina mammina: Thank you! Im sure you are right, and I will.

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday!

She is definetly in a better place, we all will be someday.

GOD bless.

Tiffany

Rosann said...

What a precious tribute to your dear friend. It's such a gift to be able to rejoice in the day -whether in life or death. It is good she is no longer suffering, but in glory. I am sorry for your loss, and wish you a happy birthday.

Sunydazy said...

Such a bitter sweet post. Happy Birthday to you new friend...and may God bless you and Sister Elaine's family with peace and comfort.

Trina said...

Tiffany: You are so right she is in a better place. Thank you for the birthday wish!

Rosann: Thanks! It is such a gift to rejoice in the day, what a beautiful way to put that.

Sunydazy: Awww thanks! You're right...it is a bittersweet post!

Pirate said...

you are truely a blessed sister in the Lord. Your selflessness should grow in all those around you.

Happy birthday and I am touched you knew Elaine and pray we all meet someone as blessed as you and her in our walk with Christ.

Randi said...

This is an amazing post, Trina. What a blessing she was to your life--and will continue to be!

Happy birthday to you. I have a feeling that Elaine is rejoicing with you on this day.

(((HUGS)))

Lori said...

That was beautiful! Sorry you couldn't be at her funeral, but I'm sure she'll know you were thinking of her today...hope you still have a good birthday!

meNmykids said...

Trina, I also sit here instead of at the funeral. James is down in his back and in need of help with everything. I also have been touched by Sis. Elaine. She was and always will be one of my dearest friends. She loved me as openly as she loved you. We talked about you (her and I) and she told me how much she loved you too. You were right to be convinced, her love was so tangible. She always found the good things in people and dwelled on those, what an upbuilder. She took me as her family, I took her as mine. So many, many people have been touched by her life and death.
Happy Birthday, Cheris baby was born yesterday. She named her Elaine.
Gale

Trina said...

Pirate: Those words are so very kind...

Randi: Im sure you are right about Elaine...thank you!

Lori: I wish I could have been there too. Thank you for your birthday wishes.

Gale: Im sorry to hear about James. I hope he is up and at 'em soon! You are so right about Elaine, she truly LOVED so many. I am completely moved that Cheri had a baby girl and named her Elaine. How beautiful! Isn't today your Heidi's second birthday?

Cherrie said...

O.k. Trina you about made me cry. I never new her but I have heard about her for awhile know. And know I feel as though I love her also. I love how you posted about her on your birthday. It tells me you are such a wonderful person and that you loved this dear sister dearly. Happy Birthday my dear friend.

marykathryn said...

Well this post brought tears to my eyes...Sis. Elaine was a wonderful sweet sister and she will be greatly missed. She did love you Trina, and it made her so happy to stroll down memeory lane with you...sigh. She loved the Lord and the brethren and that will never be forgotten...This post was a great tribute to her!!
Hope you have a great day and I SOOO wish I could be there to celebrate it with you, but soon, right?? Think positive right?? Happy Birthday My Dear Trina...
I Love You!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mrs.Martin said...

The post was right on the money in describing her. The intensity of her eyes as she tried to convey how much she loved you was amazing. And you are like her best friend in many wonderful ways, which was our Aunt Lois. I will dearly miss Elaine, I wish I was close enough to drive over, but I realize this is not the Lords will. However, days like these are hard, because she was a mother to so many and to me included. She was our mom in so many ways.

On a Happy note.. Happy Birthday dear sister. I love you very much!

Exciting to hear about Cheri's baby and the Elaines namesake.

Nadine said...

What a beautiful tribute you gave your sister in Christ. It moved me to read about her life and the way she touched yours. Sorry for your loss.

I do want to wish you a Happy Birthday and pray that God blesses you today. May He give you today a answer to an unanswered prayer.

kristarella said...

Praying with you Trina.
Cancer...It has taken it's ugly toll on the best of us. I can tell you were the best kind of friend to her.

kristarella said...

Happy Birthday to you Trina.

meNmykids said...

Trina,
Cheris baby is actually Melanie Elaine. I think they will call her Melanie, but the Elaine part was for our dear sister. And the baby being born the day after she died, I thought that was neat. Today is indeed Heidis birthday, she is sooooooo cute, calls her present her "happy to me". I'm glad that you are doing aerobics, I'm kind of on hold until James can function on his own. Amazing how awful back problems can be, totally debilitating. By the way, YOU look great, I love THE BLOUSE.
Gale

javamamma said...

Happy Birthday to us! Hope your day was as great as mine! Though bittersweet for you I bet. Take comfort in the reality of eternity. Good to check in with ya!

ablondeblogger said...

Oh, Trina, I am so, so sorry. :( Our family just went through the loss of my FIL and I was at his side when he passed. I will remember you and your family in my prayers and I pray that God will grant you all with peace, strength, comfort and healing.

((((((HUGS))))))

Trina said...

Cherrie: You would have LOVED her...Im sure of it!

Mary: Still thinking positive! wink and you know I love you too!

Sis: She love many, of course you included! Thanks for the birthday thoughts today, and cheering me up with good old fashioned laughter.

Nadine: What a sweet birthday blessing.

Kristarella: Cancer is vicious and ugly for sure, and its amazing how many lives it has affected.

Gale: Melanie Elaine is adorable! Thank you for sharing the WHOLE name. Happy Birthday Heidi!! Enjoy your "Happy To Me" day...lol

JavaMamma: Yes Happy Birthday to us!...hehehe What a beautiful line, "Take comfort in the realtiy of eternity", that one will stick!

Dawn: I am soooo sorry to hear about your FIL. That is so tough! Thanks for coming over and leaving a comment. Very sweet!

Kim in Idaho said...

This post was so sweet Trina. I was only able to meet her once and she was suffering at the time. It was very sweet to me though. The brethren truly did love her just as much as she loved them. It is a sweet thing when those that we love pass from this life and they have a crown waiting for them. Her race is run.

Leah said...

What a precious lady she must've been. And what a beautiful tribue to her. A good example of what we all should be striving to be ~ women who are truly selfless.

Luv ya Trina ~ and happy birthday.