Sunday, July 26, 2009

Honoring Nadine

Nadine O'Sullivan
July 21, 1939 - July 22, 2009

Nadine's illness quickly progressed over the past 6 weeks and she went to be with the Lord this past Wednesday night. We are so glad that Gavin was able to be at her side when she passed. It truly was God's mercy because we knew she wasn't getting any better, and that last week was really hard. We are comforted that she got a chance to see her family and closest friends during these past 6 weeks and had a lot of precious moments with each person. Our kids even got to have some time with Nadine on Wednesday morning, and she was pretty coherent during that time.

Nadine is known best by her love for people and going the extra mile to help someone in need. She had a knack for rallying people together for a cause and mobilizing people for community outreach. She cared deeply for her close friends and family and loved time with her grandchildren more than anything else. During her past five years living in her cottage across our driveway, Nadine was a dedicated volunteer at the local Community Gift and Thrift Shop, a member of the Garden Club, volunteer for the Chamber of Commerce, and active with the local schools.

We knew this time was coming, and have thankfully had time to prepare ourselves as well as our kids. However, even though we were anticipating the 'sadness', there's no way to be prepared for the feeling of 'loss' the comes seeping in around the edges and eventually covers us in the day-to-day. We are just taking each day at a time and are trying to give ourselves the time to sit quietly and reflect, and reiterating to our kids over and over that it's ok to cry and be sad, and we'll continue to grieve for quite a while.

This next week is being consumed by all the arrangements for Nadine's memorial service in which we're trying to do our best in honoring the wishes she shared with us along with figuring out other details we didn't get a chance to talk with her about. Gavin's dad spent the weekend with us and was such an incredible help with sorting through all the photos and boxes of memories. We are so grateful, Mike, for your time and dedication. My mom arrives later today and will be here for the week. She's such a welcome distraction for the kids and just emanates warmth, love and comfort to us whenever she comes. Thanks, Mom!

Nadine's memorial service is this coming Saturday and we're hoping it'll just be a nice time for all of us to get together and enjoy reminiscing old stories. I'm usually not a socially outgoing person, and I'm not always comfortable in large groups, but having family around during this time has been so helpful and I'm looking forward to having everyone here together.

For me, I've been pretty reflective of my relationship with Nadine. Mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law stereotypically aren't known for being close, and our relationship started out much that same way 15 years ago. But through the years we've worked through a lot. Asking Nadine to move essentially next door to us was just about the best thing God could have orchestrated in our lives. It forced Nadine and I to work through our differences and to settle our skirmishes quickly instead of letting distance drag them out. Totally separate from Gavin and the kids, she and I developed such a pleasant friendship and I just wish we had our 'girls nights out' more often than we did. God knew that we needed daily time with Nadine and she with us, knowing that our time would be cut short down the road. We are now filled with such precious memories and we get to chuckle with fondness at the things that used to bother us so much. I'm not the only one who has shared that Nadine taught me how to let go of things like the need to be on time, needing things to be 'just so', and making relationships more important than those things. In her own quiet way, Nadine was a rebel. She questioned authority, broke petty rules, and encouraged others to join in her shenanegans! And I'm really missing her!

Whenever there are such major events in our lives, it causes us to reflect and take stock of our own lives. I'm planning on taking hold of those moments and am going to try not to let busy-ness get in the way. We're leaning on God and He is so faithful to bring us comfort, blessings big and small, and His mercy.

After the Memorial Service, we're planning a trip up to Nadine's home-away-from-home, Paisley, Oregon. It's a small, tight-knit town and we know Nadine will be missed by many there. We've been going up to Paisley every year and it's been a place for us to unwind and have some peaceful family time. Now more than ever, we're looking forward to our visit there.


Stacy said...

i'm so sorry for you loss.. what a blessing she was able to spend her last few years with those she holds dearest to her heart.. praying for you guys during this time...

laurimcnally said...

You are all in my hearts truly. What genuine heartfelt memories. Take whatever time you need.
Gavin, everyone at Sierra Vista and Secret Ravine, miss you dearly and support anything you need.
lots and lots of love,

Robbin said...

Lisa, I saw the movie Julie and Julia this weekend. At the heart of the story is Julie's blog which made me think of YOU so I returned home to find your link. Upon arriving at the site and reading these posts, I learned of Nadine's death and the events of your summer leading up to it. I am filled with love for you and your family and in awe at how bravely you have faced this hardship while cradled in God's hands. As a result, I had to leave a post saying I was here, that I still think of you all, and that while writing this message, paused to pray for you. I'm a introvert too, so I appreciate your need to retreat, but please know that if you reach out, I will always be here to grab your hand. xxoo.