I WON'T BACK DOWN

Friday, August 30, 2019

BETWEEN NOW AND THEN; BOB'S CELEBRATION OF LIFE GATHERING


Our granddaughter, Alyna, & her fiancé, Liam, came late last night and spent the night with me: I think they needed my comfort as much as they thought I needed theirs – I was thankful, and loved them for their thoughtfulness; they didn’t want me to be alone. They knew how much I love Bob.

They are good kids.

I got up early this morning, having only had about 4 hours of sleep, and headed out for Eden Valley ahead of the kids: I needed to be there before 11 a.m. … earlier would be better; so I shot for earlier, and prayed like crazy Dave would be there early – and that Kerry would arrive early too.

I asked my friends on FB to keep me in their thoughts, and to pray or me today – and I FELT those prayers lifting me, and keeping me, all day :-D

As I passed Mill Creek junction off Ocean Beach Highway, I saw the Columbia River 4-story-paddle-wheeler make its way upriver out of my peripheral vision … but, I was on a mission, so couldn’t stop to gawk or snap a quick pic: no time today. It WAS impressive!(https://www.usatoday.com/story/cruiselog/2014/04/04/american-empress-river-cruise/7300731/)

The trip was pretty uneventful, EXCEPT when I met an oncoming log truck on KM Mountain (just a big hill, really); it was coming at me with its left wheels a bit over the center line – and that kinda worried me, because there was no place for me to go, except in the ditch if it didn’t stop hogging the center line. My right wheels were hugging the far white line on my side of the highway as safely as I could without sliding into the ditch. It went past me with no incident … but it was CLOSE. Too close for my comfort. But, I reminded myself that loggers and log truck drivers have very early work days: most of their “days” starts at 3 a.m., and by 9 – or 9:30 a.m., they have already put 6 straight hours of work under their belt with little to NO downtime: they are beat already – and they still have a long day ahead of them until they can sign off their work day at 5 p.m. That said, it WAS a dicey situation, and it did worry me some.

But Elohim was faithful ;-)

I arrived at the Rosburg Hall around 9:45 – I had pretty much been creeping along the roadway from home, so as not to jar the headstones and damage them. I was ahead of schedule, so I decided to visit for a bit with Sonja (Bob’s mother’s lifelong friend) & Frieda (Bob’s Aunt; his father’s sister), and have a quick cup of coffee before heading on to the cemetery. After I finished my coffee, and was walking to my car, Ken Elliot, who was weed-eating around the Hall, walked over to me and said he was sorry to hear about Bob – and asked how I was holding up. I said, “Thank you”, and “I’m doing okay.” Bob grew up in the Valley with the Elliott boys: Bob’s family lived in Eden Valley, and the Elliott family lived in the Altoona-Pillar Rock vicinity, a hop-skip-&-a jump down the road past Eden Valley; Ken’s brother, Brian, and his wife Linda, moved into the Elliott house about 25 years ago, and turned it into a B & B. It is a beautiful antique house, but the road to get to it is a HELL RIDE – steep, rutted, and very, VERY narrow; we went up there a few times and the road really freaked me out. But, according to their FB Page, they are doing a booming business with the tourists that enjoy giving themselves heart attacks by death-defying cliff climbs:

Elliot House (aka, Dahlia House). 

Ken and & talked for quite a bit, reminiscing about Bob, the past, the time he was part of the chaperoning team that went with our girls (Stacey – our daughter, & Traci – his daughter), and the rest of the Wahkiakum Track Team when they participated in the 8th Grade Junior Olympics Track Meet in Florida. As we were winding up our trip down Memory Lane, Alyna & Liam pulled to a stop in front of my car … and we commenced on to the cemetery – and I was glad to see Dave there already.

We were still ahead of schedule, but that was okay. Maybe it was best this way; the kids were ready & willing to help do whatever needed to be done. Alyna loved her grandfather – and Liam, had already been welcomed into the family as Alyna’s fiancé, and “grandson-in-law”, LOL, 5 years ago: I was sure Bob was pleased they were with me and eager to help with loving ministrations.

We all introduced ourselves; and I liked Dave right off. I was sure Bob liked him too ;-) I saw the area had already been prepared with the hole ready & waiting … AND DRY, thank God, after the rainstorm we had last night – Dave said it had rained there too, but, the ground was really very dry (even the backfill on the tarp was dry too); and the hole had been covered …


So, I thanked Dave for being there to lend a helping hand, I thanked Elohim for favoring us with dry conditions despite the rainstorm that went over our areas, and I had a private moment – remembering the beautiful body and handsome face that Bob’s spirit lived in and enjoyed while he lived on earth, and loved me as a man; I kissed the Urn Box and let my mind remember before it was buried - never to see the light of day again until that great and glorious Day Yeshua returns to claim His Own and graves are opened, followed by the Rapture of the Church:

Yeshua had given Bob such a beautiful and handsome earthen vessel for his spirit to dwell in for 69 years. Bob was altogether beautiful inside and out ... I feel privileged to have had Bob in my life; to have had the pleasure of his pleasuring & pampering; and all the love he lavished on me. I am a better person because Bob loved me.

Then Dave started backfilling. He did so with tender care. Liam & I helped with cleanup. And as I peeled back the tarp, A BLACK GARTER SNAKE slithered out of the tarp fold! I jumped and dropped the tarp edge like it was on fire – the guys looked at me, and I said, “Snake!” The guys exchanged looks that had laughter in their eyes, and I looked at the sky and said, “Not funny Bob! Stop laughing – you KNOW I hate snakes!” I don’t, for one minute, believe that Bob had anything to do with that snake being in the tarp fold … but, I DO believe he was laughing as he watched the whole little drama unfold because he always laughed when I was spooked by a snake – even a semi-baby snake like this one was. And he would say exactly the same thing Liam said – “It’s only a garter snake, Val.” I don’t care! ALL snakes look the same to me: ICKY!

Backfill complete. I was thankful for Dave Brueland’s help.

Backfill done, it was time to tinker with the headstones, so I asked Liam if he’s help me carry them 1 by 1 from the car, to the plot block; he agreed – so we went after them.

And as I was reaching for one end on the first one we decided to pick up first, Liam said, “Oh, they aren’t that heavy: I can take both of them.” ARE YOU FOR REAL KID? Those things are H.E.A.V.Y.

But, HE DID IT …


And Alyna jumped into the fray too, and helped with the placement of the headstones – jiggling them and juggling them; lifting and setting them, until everyone was satisfied they were level and “right”:


Then, Dave started slicing the sod. And he heard me tell the kids, “I wish my headstone could be close to Bob’s – like my head was close to his head every night for 44 years. It seems silly for it to be all the way over there in a separate plot when my cremains will rest next to his (above his, actually, as 6 urns can fit in 1 plot) in this plot. But that’s what Heather said has to be done …”


And he stopped the action, and said, “If that’s what you want, I can do that for you.”

So, I said, “You can? Then ((((YES!)))) That is what I want – I want my headstone as close to his as you can get it.”

So, a new plan was set in operation. YAY!

Side by side. Always. ~OX
Alyna helped with adjusting the headstone depth. What a trooper.
I am MUCH happier with this arrangement.

That done, I thought of another use for the sod block that had been sliced and lifted. And Dave thought of the same thing :-D At practically the same time, we both said, “That sod can be repurposed to place over Bob’s Urn Box placement.”

So, that is what happened :-D

Repurposed sod block used to cover the raw dirt over Bob’s Urn Box placement; MUCH BETTER!

And, I swear, I could FEEL Bob watching our endeavors, and loving administrations to honor his existence when he walked as we walk; and to lovingly care for his cast off remains, now that he lives above the clouds: I am sure Bob was smiling and approving ;-)

The sky directly above us ...

I was really proud of the kids today – they really pitched in and helped – out of genuine love. I am sure Bob is proud of them, too.

Everything was finished that needed to be finished before people started arriving - Kerry was late. But, it was okay. I kinda felt guilty asking him to help anyway: he is grieving too. Kerry was willing to help ... but now, it was not necessary ;-)

Like I said before, perhaps it was better this way - the kids helped Dave help me; and it was a true family experience. We had closure in a real, cohesive way. As a family. Immediate family. It was right.

As that sod block was being tamped with shoe toes into place, our oldest Grand-daughter, Krisalee showed up – she flew in from the Connecticut earlier this week, and drove up from Salem, OR (where she had been visiting her mother) this morning. It was a looooong drive; and I was happy to see her arrive. Safely :-D

Our oldest Grand-daughters, Krisalee (purple hair: Bob's son Alex's daughter), Alyna (our daughter Stacey's daughter), & Liam.

And then extended friends & family started arriving.


Danny & Terri Eaton were first to pull in. I was happy they came after all. And I was SO glad for Bob! They were friends all through high school, as well as Bob’s first marriage – and they stayed in contact … albeit spotty at times … all their adult lives. Bob’s brother, Ralph, (2 years younger) started talking with them:


A nice sized gathering took place; I opened the time of sharing with Psalm 91:14 thru 16: “Because he has loved me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him securely on high, because he has known My Name: he shall call upon Me – and I will answer him. I will be with him in trouble. I will deliver him; I will honor him. With a long life, I will satisfy him. And show him My salvation.” I shared with them that the Grim Reaper, had 3 times, before December 14th, 2018, tried to claim Bob – when he was a toddler (a house fire that destroyed the home, and that scarred his legs, arms, & lungs – he was scared & scarred … but he lived for another 24 years); when he was 28 (a blood clot, while in hospital, broke lose from his broken thigh bone & killed him in front of my eyes – he was jump started and was returned to me for a few years more); when he was 31 (the doctors never did figure out WHY he died AND WAS DEAD FOR 25 minutes: and returned back to me for another 38 years). Elohim had been faithful to keep him alive – and return him back to me 2 more times: and Bob ALWAYS praised Elohei, lived for Yeshua, and TOLD people about his salvation in 1981. There is no doubt, none whatsoever, that when he answered Elohim’s call to ‘come Home, Bob’ in December of 2018, Bob now walks WITH Yeshua in that celestial city above the clouds.

Others shared what they knew of Bob’s life – how he impacted their lives, and how he enriched their lives for having known him. Some things, I already knew – and was comforted with the memory; some things were new to my ears, and showed me a whole new side of Bob I didn’t know before I came to know him in 1974 – and I appreciated the insight: it explained things, like the scar on his bald head that I wondered about, and he couldn’t remember because his death in 1981 threw a kink into his long-term data bank.

And Ralph, as usual, told a whopper – intended to put Bob in a bad light … but instead made Ralph himself look ridiculous because everyone knew the truth of the matter. Ralph is a sad excuse for a human in being in general, and a really sad example of brotherhood. And, as usual, Rose came to her pampered son's rescue by telling a memory she had that put Bob in a bad light too - OF ALL THE MEMORIES those 2 could have told, they CHOSE TO TRY to make Bob look bad.

But, everyone just ignored Ralph’s petty jealousy and behaved beautifully: I was proud of everyone’s behavior – with those 2 exceptions … which was kinda expected: they are so miserable, they can't help themselves. And I am glad I will never have to deal with - or see either of those 2 ever again. I feel sorry for them, but I don't want anything more to do with them. Even in death, they couldn't try to love Bob.

A nice crowd Bob would have enjoyed spending time with – and he did, actually: Bob was with us in spirit. Truly - Bob is more alive now then he ever was; and he was pretty lively when he lived among us for 69 years ;-)
Donny Seaburg (large checked shirt). Another one of Bob's close high school friends, who came today: all hometown kids, who stayed loyal hometown kids. Knowing them, I can imagine the stories of mischievous youth & rambunctious young adulthood they must be hiding!
Bob’s mom & cousin, Martin Ostervold. Bob water-skied behind Martin’s speed boat – that boat was FAST! And Bob was beauty in action on those water skies - with that sun-kissed browned skin and those white cutoffs. Bob was a very handsome man, who enjoyed being actively athletic. And I loved watching him when he was actively engaged ;-)

Even though Bob didn’t want a funeral, I believe Bob was happy with the Celebration of Life turn-out today: which really was not a 'funeral' at all - more of a respectful - yet casual - gathering a friends. I was happy to see so many people show; who loved my husband, and honored him by remembering a life well lived, by a man who loved everyone unconditionally – and who always smiled easily and laughed with abandon.

Bob was one of those rare human beings that really made everyone feel equal and special: he was capable of favoring people with 1-on-1 attention, and lifting them above themselves, so they could shine.

Bob TOUCHED lives and left imprints that will never fade over time; if anything, those imprints will increase as life moves forward.

Bob’s youngest brother, Kerry (in the wood mask he designed & crafted), humoring the crowd – and livening the mood: Bob was howling, I am sure! I was proud of everyone today.

Bob was happy. I was happy. Elohim was faithful.

Thank You, Yeshua.

I am eternally grateful.

The weather was perfect.

The attitude adjustments were perfect - even Rose & Ralph could not ruin the day.

A day that was dreaded, turned out to be A VERY GOOD DAY.

And THAT was a very good thing ;-)

On the flip-side of all the joyous peace I was experiencing this afternoon, when I left Rosburg, I saw that I had a missed call on my cell; but I was in a spot where there was no service in the Valley … so as soon as I had service (which was in Skamokawa - a looooong way down the road), I returned the call – knowing what I would hear and not wanting to hear it: my sister, Iris, is dying. She had been in the hospital for a while now, but I was told this afternoon that she has been ‘non responsive’ for a few days, and her doctors are thinking it may be time to consider quality of life options. Her brother, Bob, doesn’t accept that: he is operating on false hope, and shock. Her husband is in deep emotional upheaval – boy! Do I KNOW that feeling. And I am being asked by Bob to insert my opinions into the lives of people I really do not know except for phone conversations, in which truth has not been shared with me: I had NO IDEA Iris was suffering from serious & critical medical issues. Those issues do not change my love for her – I always knew about her/I always loved her/I always wanted to get to know her … and Elohim brought all that into being over the past 8 months. BUT, how much do I really know? NOT ENOUGH to involve myself in lives that have not been forthcoming with me.

No!

Life and death decisions for Iris will have to be made by her husband.

And her brother will have to live with those decisions.

But asking me to get involved in lives of people, who are still strangers to me, is NOT OKAY.

I want Iris to recover and get better.

I want to have her around a little longer.

I want her to come to know me well enough to be honest with me.

But most of all, I want for Iris, whatever IT IS that Elohim wants for Iris’ life.

*UPDATE: My sister, Iris died September 2nd, 2019.

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