"Precious in the sight of The Lord, is the death of His saints." (Psalm 116:15) Pastor Rudy from Sandra's church shared that passage with us today. He talked about two ways that earthly death is precious to God. First precious in the sense of cost to God in sending his Son to die for our sins. Second, in how dearly God loves His child, Sandra, and is glad that she is there with Him.
At approximately 2:50 pm today, April 2, 2013 Sandra took her last breath on earth and went home. She was surrounded by her family and was at peace.
I noticed her last breath was taken about the same time as the bell would ring to mark the end of the school day. It was almost as if she finished teaching and was ready to go home. As Audrey said, it was as if class was dismissed here on earth and she was already surrounded by a bunch of kids in heaven.
We will be updating the blog as funeral arrangements are made. Right now we are thinking it will be Monday or Tuesday of next week to allow travel time for family and friends.
Thank you for your prayers, love and support through this long journey. While we will miss Sandra very much, there is also a sense of relief and joy for her that her suffering and battle with cancer is over. She is healthy, unhindered by tubes connected to her body, singing and directing children, while laughing and smiling that big beautiful smile. --written by Ardie
Today we celebrate Easter. It has been beautiful spring (almost summer like) weather here in BC for more than a week. Signs of new life are everywhere in the buds on the trees, cherry blossoms, beautiful spring flowers and gorgeous sunrises and sunsets as the days are getting longer. Those are all good things to celebrate. But Easter's true meaning has never meant more to me (and I think I speak for the rest of Sandra's family) than it has this year.
Easter is truly about Jesus Christ conquering death and sin's curse. While Sandra's body is physically dying, her life will soon be new again in the presence of God! This time, as hard as it may be, is like a long cold winter. We pray for the relief of new life for Sandra's body when she can join in the heavenly chorus. For her that will be such a thrill! She is ready for that. We all cling to that hope, assurance and joy!
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never spoil or fade. (I Peter 1:3,4)
The passage reference I posted this morning with the Palm Sunday story was mis-typed. It should have been Matthew 21:1-11 not chapter 11. I apologize for any confusion or inconvenience. This correction and the original posting were written by Ardie. Blessings to all!
Over 2000 years ago, a crowd lined the streets of Jerusalem to witness Jesus riding a donkey. He was celebrated as a hero. The people shouted "Hosanna!" which I found one dictionary to say is a Hebrew blessing--kind of like applauding someone. In my imagination, the translation into today's time would be like a new celebrity (sort of unknown yet) walking (not riding in a limo) into Hollywood and being swarmed by the paparazzi and adoring fans. Weird to think of it that way. But the crowds were fickle then as they are today. Read Matthew 11:1-11. The crowds asked of Jesus, "Who is this?"
I'm thankful, though, that Jesus didn't waver on his journey to death on a cross and his resurrection. The victory he won for us gives Sandra and us hope today. Sandra has had a difficult week as she is slipping from this life on earth bit by bit. In the hard times, what gives us hope is that Sandra relaxes and responds to reading of the Bible and talk of heaven. Those are the most peaceful times, resting in the Jesus who saves.
Please continue to pray for peace and comfort for Sandra as we continue to hope in Jesus, our only comfort in life and in death.
Today is the first official day of Spring Break at Abbotsford Christian Schools (ACS) where Sandra taught for the past 20+ years. Words cannot adequately describe the amazing support Sandra and all of us as family have received from the ACS community in the past years of Sandra's struggle with cancer. Not only the staff and students, but parents and alumni have been so supportive and giving. One of God's daily little miracles happened when we brought Sandra to the emergency room back on January 10 of this year. There were 2 nurses on duty in ER with ACS connections who gave care to Sandra--a parent and alumnus. The porter that day was an ACS parent, The nurse consultant in the early days regarding the pick line was an ACS parent. Sandra's had blood drawn by ACS parents several times over the years. She had a nurse on the oncology ward who was a former student. The quality of care and love from all of them has been overwhelming as consistently they have gone above and beyond the call of duty to provide comfort and exceptional care for Sandra. I can't possibly list all of the ways Sandra and we as a family have been blessed over the years by the ACS community. Every instance of encouragement and prayer have been appreciated. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
It is common to travel over Spring Break. Sandra loved to travel. Her last big sightseeing trip was in the summer of 2011. She flew to Newfoundland and attended Festival 500, the international choral festival with her niece. They attended workshops, sang in the mass choir and stayed with a dear friend of Sandra's. They had a few days also for sightseeing on that beautiful island. Here are a couple of pictures from that summer.
Sandra the coal miner with that great smile on her face
Sandra and her niece in beautiful Newfoundland
In this time of travels--geographically, physically or spiritually, I want to share this prayer with you from an Irish contemplative--appropriate with celebrating St. Patrick's Day yesterday.
Help me to journey beyond the familiar into the unknown.
It has been a precious week of family times. Once again we gathered as a family for a meal at Christine Morrison on Tuesday evening. Sandra's parents, all 4 of Sandra's siblings were there along with all but 1 spouse (we missed you Brian!). Mel & Mary have now returned home and Sharon has been spending long days at Sandra's bedside. Sandra doesn't leave her bed much anymore. She dozes a large part of the day now. There are moments when the smile is bright. Sandra has become known for her smile at the hospice and before that already by the doctors and staff at Abbotsord Hospital. We love to see it when it appears.
Verses sent by a dear friend of Sandra's really struck me as appropriate this week. From 2 Corinthians 4:16-18:
Therefore we do not lose heart.
Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.
For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.
For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
Thank you for your faithfulness in prayer, comments and emails. Just a reminder, the email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.