Sunday, October 31

Mom ~ Grandma: Deeply Loved ~ Deeply Missed

Yesterday we celebrated Mom's life! As a family we filled the service with beautiful songs, tributes, and a powerful slideshow.

After the lunch, and visiting with friends, we went and laid Mom's body to rest at Glen Eden, beside Dad.

Now - we carry on, with her love remaining in our hearts. I miss her so much already.

Alvin and I and our gang are going on a holiday, one that was planned for a while. At one point, we were not sure how or if we would be able to go, but the Lord took Mom home, we were able to have her funeral, and we are now within hours of leaving.

We are thankful. It will be a good time of family... enjoying our little Everett, and most likely running after him! We are all pretty tired, and look forward to the sun on our skin and sand between our toes. And then we will return and will carry on, missing mom more with each day.

I am including my husbands tribute that he and I did yesterday for Mom....
And, thanks to my sister-in-law Corinna, who prepared this amazing slideshow with her brother's help!.

Mom & Grandma .... we do, call you Blessed!

Alvin’s Tribute – Who was My Mom?

It is interesting to see what happens when a person passes away, and the possessions they own are distributed among the family.

It almost seems as though the person is divided up and taken into many different directions. But then I realized that the possessions do not define the person.

Many little things I see in Mom’s condo remind me of her – and always will. But the things that say WHO Mom WAS are the memories that I have, and will carry with me for the rest of my life!

 I could tell the worst joke, and everyone would groan, but Mom would always laugh like it was the funniest joke in the world. Sometimes that made us laugh in return when we realized that Mom perhaps didn’t get the joke – but wanted to be supportive!

 I could call day or night to ask for something, or if I needed help and Mom would always be there. Having Mom and Dad as neighbors were some of the most wonderful years of our lives. I can’t remember how many times the kids would call to say they would be home a little later, because they stopped at Grandma’s first. When I worked shifts – Joy loved knowing they were just a short walk away.

 Mom could sew on a button while I was wearing the shirt and walking out the door. Somehow she could always fix the pair of pants that Joy was ready to throw in the garbage. She could stack a couple of cords of wood, make enough food to feed an army, wrestle down a wayward calf and have that all done before breakfast!

 Mom always had a listening ear. I could tell her my concerns, my problems, and my fears. BUT then, she also followed up and would ask how I was and if there was anything she could do. Mom always wanted to help. She was also very perceptive.

 Mom and Dad did everything together… and the thing is – they COULD actually do everything. When we lived in Anola together, we realized how much they did together. I always thought that Mom worked too hard. One time I asked her if she ever just wanted to put her feet up and relax… the thing I realized (and which Alvin inherited) is that when the feet finally go up – the eyelids usually close!

 Mom was part of a few house builds… there was our house built in 83, their house build in Anola in 97, and the McIvor Habitat for Humanity house build in 2001. When we built their house in Anola – Mom was the driving force on the job site! She hauled material and kept the cleanest jobsite in the country! Not only that, but she burnt everything that she thought we didn’t need, which meant that when I needed a little piece of off cut to shim something up – there was nothing to be found!

Mom actually burnt more stuff thank you could shake a stick at, she loved making fires. Unfortunately she also singed her eyebrows once or twice when the fire got a little rip roaring.

 Her family was her #1 priority. You didn’t have to schedule in time with her – she was always available. It didn’t matter if you were her original kid, or one that married into the family – we were all considered her children. This often boggled the nurses who thought they had the children all figured out!

 Over the years, Mom could be found in hockey arena’s cheering, at recitals for Mennonite Children’s Choir and at Graduations. I hate to think of how many Christmas concerts mom sat through with all the grandkids, and never once complained that she had heard enough Christmas songs or seen too many Christmas pageants!

 The grandkids knew that she always had time for them. It didn’t matter how old or how young they were – she was very interested in their lives, right up to the end. It was such a wonderful thing to hear Mom pray for her grandchildren. She also made sure that even when she was in the hospital – she wanted to make sure she had treats to keep on hand for them. And it was a special thing to have her own hospital phone – and was very excited to get a phone call from one of her grandkids.

 When Dad passed away – we saw how Mom worked hard to figure out how to live life as a widow. This was such a steep learning curve for Mom, but she never complained. We saw how determined she was to learn and carry on. We also saw how deeply she relied on God for her strength.

 While Mom had been diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma seven years ago, it stayed relatively quiet until last year, when it involved her kidneys. Mom became a vigilante in the food department – checking labels for sodium, and potassium and other things. She went to classes at the hospital. She enjoyed exercising with the ladies in the Valhalla complex. When she could have been overwhelmed with all the things she had to watch, she never complained. Instead she was dedicated to a new lifestyle – even if she didn’t choose it for herself.

 When Mom went into the hospital, we saw how deep her faith was. We had some precious conversations with Mom over the last three months. She talked about her trust that the Lord knew the days ordained for her. We shared morning devotions together, reading from Scripture, and then from the Daily Bread which had been a long time companion, as far back as I can remember. Mom had full trust that God knew exactly what He was doing and we had a few talks about going Home to Heaven.

 Even when Mom was barely strong enough to get around, she was still concerned about what everyone else was up to. If she heard about a fire, she wanted to know that Josh and I were okay. She knew what we were all up to, and kept amazing track of us. It was quite something to be on the receiving end of that love and care.

 During these last weeks when the weather was so windy – Mom would ask me several times throughout the day as to whether I had heard from the boys and how was the work going. She prayed for them out loud, and hearing this always blessed me.

When I was in pastoral ministry here at McIvor – Mom was one of my greatest prayer supporters. And lately as we have begun the retreat ministry build – Mom wanted to know how things were going, and so I took pictures on a regular basis, loaded them on the computer and brought them to the hospital.

 She was a woman who loved to work behind the scenes – serving God with her talents and her gifts. She also was someone who lived what she believed, and lived FOR the one she believed in – that being Jesus Christ.

 Mom hated to get any credit … she would just want to get the job done, and would often do things silently, and without any fanfare.

 She lived life for the Lord, trusted completely in His timing even if we didn’t understand it. She recalled His faithfulness to her over the years, and thanked God daily for all he had done, and entrusted the future to His care.

 Mom – absent from the body – but present with the Lord – which is far greater. God knew that he had a plan and a purpose for Mom’s life – Mom believed that. We have seen what He has done, and how we have been blessed as a family, and we are forever thankful.

Friday, October 29


It has been a full few days since Mom went HOME...
And as I read through and write stuff for her funeral - I am finding that I am already missing her so terribly much.
The tears are flowing.
With my parents gone,
And now with Alvin's parents gone
We are truly orphans...
And I am so sad.
Last night we gathered for supper - in the common room at Mom's condo.
All were in the room, and yet I realized I was waiting for Mom to come down so we could start.
I know where Mom is...
But I am already missing her so much.
tears fall
washing over sorrow
mixing with love
and falling silently
She is with those she loves - in Heaven
We know that - but miss her so so SO much...
Mom, I love you.
Thanks for being my mom, and my kids grandma, and great - grandma
We love you and miss you

Wednesday, October 27

He called, and took Mom to be with Him

It is late - on Wednesday night. We have spent the evening together. I am tired.... really tired. It has been a very very long haul. However, I would not change a thing. I thank God for the reality that was mine - being unemployed so that I could use my time as a gift to Mom. However - in the end - She was the GIFT to me.

Yesterday morning as I went into the city I petitioned God, on Mom's behalf - to "Please Lord, take her now." I knew God's timing was right - but felt that I needed to be bold in asking. As I left Mom for the past nights since the weekend - I prayed with her, asking the Lord to take her HOME. I recited the 23rd Psalm and John 3:16. On Monday night - I sat by her bed, reading out of the big print Bible - turning through the Psalms. Mom didn't have to say anything - her body language said it all.

As I left yesterday, I felt that it was going to be the last time I saw her alive. And, when I left I kissed her goodbye after praying and said "Bye Mom"...
When Elleanore called me - I wept... but I also prayed and thanked the Lord, as I drove into the condo. It was surreal. I walked into her room, and put my hand on her forehead.

Her soul gone... her very thin frame left behind for us to bury on Saturday. Only her shell. And I couldn't help but imagine Mom in heaven - being greeted by Dad, and Opa, and my parents, and my little grandson... finally Mom gets to hug her firstborn Great-Grandson. I can only imagine!

So. ... her journey on this side of heaven is done - and life for her has really just begun. She has a new body - a heavenly one. Cancer free!! Eyesight that is 20/20 - gazing on the Lord in all his Glory!

I say thank you Lord.... thank you.
You have heard and answered our prayers.
Thank you.

Absent from the body but present with the Lord - which is FAR better.

I need to get some sleep.... tomorrow is a full day.
Thanks for all your prayers!

Tuesday, October 26

The Lord IS my shepherd!

Mom has a favorite scripture - and it is Psalm 23.
I know that because quite a few weeks ago, her and I talked one day at the hospital. Mom told me that the other favorite scripture was John 3:16 which is the "gospel in a nutshell" as it used to be called.

I have read and also recited the scriptures to her often. Last night she mouthed the words along with me - and at verse 4 she said out loud "I am not afraid!"

Tonight I talked with her - she didn't open her eyes much today. But I talked, and joked a bit with her... and then told her I was going to pray with her - and I also recited her favorite psalm.
At the part where it said "And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever" - Mom got a big smile on her face.

I had to go out for a while - so Ruth came to spend the evening with mom, and Ash too. I got back and Ruth went home. Now it was time for "just mom and I" time. First I gave her her med through her little "port" in her arm, and then I sat down by the side of her bed, took her hand with my right hand, and with the left I turned the pages of the Word. I began reading through psalm after psalm.

I read Psalm 23 (New Living Translation)

A psalm of David.
1 The Lord is my shepherd;
I have all that I need.
2 He lets me rest in green meadows;
he leads me beside peaceful streams.
3 He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths,
bringing honor to his name.
4 Even when I walk
through the darkest valley,[a]
I will not be afraid,
for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff
protect and comfort me.
5 You prepare a feast for me
in the presence of my enemies.
You honor me by anointing my head with oil.
My cup overflows with blessings.
6 Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me
all the days of my life,
and I will live in the house of the Lord

and later finished with John 3:16 (New Living Translation)

16 “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.

I sat there for a little while and then left. It is late - almost 1 am. Her next needle is at 4 unless she has breakthrough pain. So I should go to bed....

Maybe tonight Mom will see Jesus.... then again, it is all up to HIM.
In His time....
Regardless, she is ready!

Sunday, October 24


today is Sunday
morning started early, with a hot bath and coffee
and a trip to Mom's to take over the shift from Neil

Mom is quiet
Pain is obviously under control
She still opens her eyes when we say hi
And when she saw Alvin, she smiled big.

Steve Bell has a beautiful CD that he did for his friend who was dying
That is playing softly

Elleanore is flying in today
Mom will be glad to see her
Actually we are all really glad she is coming here again

The nurse has been helpful
And stressed to us, the importance of "self-care"
Which, is easier said than done - for me anyhow...
but so important
as how can we care - if we don't take care of ourselves.

The condo is quiet - except for the music
My thoughts are quieting in my soul too
Tears come quickly and easily
As I realize I am having to say good bye to someone who has been Mom
to me almost as long as my mom had been...

The window is slightly open
And I hear the calling of the Blue Jay.
God has used that as a "kiss" to me before
And today, the cawing - brings comfort to me once again.

Soon, Mom will get to meet her firstborn Grandson Jay...
And she will see Dad... and Omi (her mom) and Opa (her step dad)
and...... after 73 years, will finally be reunited with HER dad... whom she had to say good-bye to one night when she was 6, and he was taken away and killed...

Absent from the body - present with the Lord - which is FAR GREATER...
Lord Jesus - this is what we desire for her
even though for us - it is so so sad to say good-bye, even just till we meet again.

I continue to pray -
Please God... take her now...
Please Lord.

Saturday, October 23

please pray

I have decided to do a prayer request via this blog.... because I know some of you know mom well... and many of you know me well.... and many of you pray!
Thank you so much.

I am asking you to pray for my Mom (in-law) who now has pain. Multiple Myeloma is painful. We were very thankful that she didn't have any for a little while. However now she does. Two days ago we changed to a drug administered under the tongue. But last evening we changed and are now administering the same drug through a little needle port that is under the skin.

This method seems to be working.
I was pretty nervous at first, although the nurse said "you'll do well - you are so relaxed."

It has been a long day - and a long night.
The baby monitor I placed by her bed picks up every little noise and whisper.

Yesterday mom was perked up when Leah and Everett came for a visit. But as I engage with her now - even the perkiness she had then, seems a long way away.

Today is Saturday.... I am asking God to please God, just take her.
Mom is so ready to go HOME. SO ready.
I know that we don't understand the thoughts or the mind of Christ, and it is in times like this when you see someone you love deteriorate, I (and I know I am not the only one) just really wonders WHY GOD... why not just take her now.

But God knows.
The first breath and the last breath.
He knows.

O Lord, have mercy.

oh yes, in the midst of all of this - the boys are pouring the walls of the basement today. Please pray that will all go well - and without incident! In the midst of pain with losing mom.... is the joy of seeing God fulfill His vision for women... sorrow and joy always seem to co-exist. Or at least that has been our experience.
Thanks for praying for the boys too!

Wednesday, October 20

Pouring it on.....

Saturday morning - as I turned heading toward Henderson, I could see the Barn and the pump from miles away.... this picture is actually zoomed in
The concrete is pumped from the cement truck into the pump truck and then wherever it is needed.
The guys are busy doing last minute prep before the "pour" begins.

So - the team for the morning was Alvin, Josh, Michael Thiessen (son in law), Elmer Thiessen and Mike Frank (who I tease about adopting him)
Looks almost like half of a McDonald's Golden Arches!

prep work...

cement truck and pumper

this guy wore the controls to the pumping arm, around his waist

Josh waiting for the pumping arm to come down

and.... out it comes!

as sappy as it sounds - you have to know that my heart was skipping a beat as I watched!
the house has begun!

waiting for truck #2 to arrive
unfortunately there was a little too much "waiting" time between trucks
so what we saved on the cement -
we paid for in pumping time since he sat there and waited before and in between trucks.

all hands on deck!

Michael (son-in-law) and his Dad worked at leveling it

sun shining over the piles of mud!

many geese flew past that morning!

Blue Sky - nothing but blue sky do I see!!

Second of 3 trucks...

getting in those corners!

Corner number 3

my son has worked the knees out of his jeans by the looks of things!

cleaning off the tools...

the footing is D-O-N-E!!
Following this we gave the pump driver our address for the bill!
And next thing we knew Betty and Willy were in the driveway with muffins/fruit and coffee.
After a coffee break, we then all went to the corner for a breakfast/lunch.
The boys worked hard from 8 - 11 am....
This part of the job was done.
Lord, thank you....

Thursday, October 14

the beginning of stage 2 ~ the house!

Alvin is pretending to "open the front door"...
the land is staked out and ready to go!
Danny will come to dig soon.
Never before has electrical boxes looked so sweet!
Thank you Jake and Jack!!
Firefighters and electricians!

wonder how many of these we will need...

You will now find a nice little sidewalk to the side of our barn/shop.
This is where we will enter to go into the loft!
Who knows what God will use the loft for.
time will tell...
I am thinking this tree could make a nice place for a swing.
Papa is planning to put a zipline from loft to house for our Everett!

Today Josh and Mike Frank started working on the basement - preparing it
Alvin was at work at the firehall and Michael was doing his lawncare today.
SO Josh and Mike F. worked hard!
and they worked long hours...
Alvin and I stopped after his shift and
Alvin went over a couple things with Mike Frank.

Big Machinery for big jobs.

You don't want to know how much this metal for the house cost.

the way of the future!
at least our future that is... this is what we are using.
This has been a very full day! Thanks boys for all your hard work!

Wednesday, October 13

the first of each trip - to two different "homes"

Today was quite the day. I actually feel like I am too pooped to write anything, but I realize that this has become a way for some of you to follow the updates on Mom Klassen. So here goes.

I went to the hospital. Ingrid hung out at the condo while a hospital bed was delivered. We thought it would be a good idea since Mom has not slept flat in a bed in over two months - and Mom agreed.

I was a little ticked this morning - to find out that the ward clerk wanted to know when she was leaving as "we need the bed"... so obviously when I came - there was Mom sitting in the chair - all ready to go.

We came home - and Mom was reintroduced to her condo! It was obvious that she felt joy in coming home. And honestly, it was one of the most wonderful things that she has experienced in so long. She came in - walked to her new chair (which she had no recollection of ever sitting in before we took her to hospital) and reclined... happy, exhausted and still.

Ingrid and I talked. My son has called a "family meeting" to talk about how to do the care. Right now - it is relatively easy as she can still get around ... but we know (unless God takes her before then) that this will get progressively worse. Only God knows the time however.

Alvin and I have decided to sleep there for the night. Somehow, the thought of going from hospital where you have someone checking in on you - to home, and having no one during the night - is not a thought I want to live with. So we are going to stay there.

Please keep us in your prayers. I will be honest - I am absolutely tired beyond tired! I know it is showing. I am trying to keep the good front with Mom - because the last thing I want is her to feel guilty that we are caring for her. As I said to her yesterday - "you cared for Omi because you loved her.... we are doing the same."

The scary part is - we don't know for how long - therefore, "pacing ourselves" is something I should have tried to figure out 9 weeks ago.... how do you pace yourself for Pete's sake? Anyone know?

On Tuesday Mom said, "I just want to go home for a few days and then I want the Lord to take me home." Let's face it - she is tired.... actually she is exhausted. But then - only God knows when the day is that he has ordained for her... we will just continue to care for her till that time.

We covet your prayers on her behalf and on our behalf as a family... most of all, for strength for each of us as we care for her. We are in it for the duration - whatever that may be.
thanks for praying!

** on a totally unrelated note - I also posted on my other blogspot

Tuesday, October 12

Fondly Remembering School of Spiritual Direction - Class of October 2009

A year ago, I was down in Colorado Springs, Colorado, at the beautiful Glen Eyrie Retreat and Conference Center. I was there sitting under the teaching of Dr. Larry Crabb along with 29 other students. I was in a triad with Page and Jason, who I loved being with. I felt like the "mom" with the two youngest in the class - but man, did I learn from them! And, I was one of 2 Canadians!!
The School of Spiritual Direction was timely - coming at the close of my pastoral position at McIvor. Timely as I walked along the long deep valley of grief. It was timely as I was closing one chapter and following God in the next.
I loved being there. I loved learning from Dr. Crabb. Man, he brought the Word to LIFE!!
I loved being with young and old alike - learning, laughing, weeping...
I loved being in such a beautiful beautiful setting, and feeling refreshed, renewed and refueled.
Today I think back - and tomorrow I plan to pull my binder out.... it is time for a good review!
As I reflect on this Thanksgiving Day - I look back, and I am thankful for all God has done in my life - and all He is doing - and all He is going to do! I have a strong sense that what I learned last year at SSD will be put to use in women's ministry! Thank you Lord!