Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Missing Marci

When Kris and I lived in Portland, OR., we would drive up to Vancouver, WA., and visit his aunt Marci and her family.  Marci was the youngest of the seven children in her family, and Kris's dad, the oldest.  There were only four years between Kris and Marci, so really she was like a sister to us. When we attended a wedding for Kris's cousin in September of 2014, Marci was there and looked so terribly thin and frail...citing stomach ulcers; later that month she was diagnosed with stomach cancer.  Marci fought a long and difficult battle with cancer, and in January, she passed away.  She was 40 years old.

We prayed so hard for Marci.  Only a few short years ago, her husband was in a surfing accident and was subsequently paralyzed from the waist down.  It has been the most heartbreaking story.  The evening she passed away, Kris and I decided we needed to be up there.  We rented a minivan and drove through the night to be there the following afternoon.  Driving through the Dalles that morning reminded me of how breathtakingly beautiful western Oregon is and I was reminded of how much I missed it!  This picture simply doesn't do justice to the scenery!  I barely caught the tail end of a rainbow that we saw....it was so big!

Marci had five children, and passed away on the youngest's 7th birthday (back right).   The day after we arrived, we took the youngest two out for the day, to try and have a little birthday celebration fun...in spite of the circumstances.

Of course, we had to go to Helvetia Tavern.  We went here a LOT when we loved here.  I was pregnant with Owen and I'm already a hamburger lovin' girl, so this was definitely the place to be.  

Hats on the ceiling there.

Just delightful.  Right here.

Then we went to 'Out Of This World'.  They have bouncy houses and a huge, three story playground...though since we went years ago, it seems they've removed some of their play structures to make room for a buffet....we weren't thrilled about that.  The kids seemed to have a good time though, so, mission accomplished.

Ellie and Launa loved playing with Rosie.

Brian and Marci had just finished building a brand new, wheelchair accessible, beautiful home...and had just moved in two weeks before she died.  Her mother, DaNeace is pictured here.  This woman; I simply don't know how she moves forward with her life.  The strength she embodies simply astounds me.  She buried her first husband at the age of 52, and her second just 8 years ago.  She buried her first daughter 22 years ago who was seven months pregnant, and now she buried her baby.  The day we left, I walked in to see DaNeace ironing temple clothes, the clothes she was preparing to dress her daughter in to bury her.  I hugged her and we cried.  I just don't know how this woman finds the strength and the testimony to live each day.  She is such an example to me!

I offered to cook dinner for everyone on Sunday night.  A pretty big crew (though not everyone had even arrived).  Ravioli Chicken Caprese, Olive Garden salad, blueberry muffins and better-than-sex-cake.

Cute little Ellie is wearing the hat her mother wore after she lost her hair from the chemotherapy.  Even though it was a relatively quick trip, and they didn't plan to have the funeral until two days after we left, we were so happy to be there.  Sometimes it's nice to just know someone is there and hurting with you. Marci's sister, Lynette (bottom right) asked me to write the obituary, I was so honored!  I tried as best I could to get little details from her life, things I wouldn't have known about her and piece them together in the as non-obituary of a way as possible, while keeping it relatively short (obituaries are WAY expensive).  It turned out beautifully and I felt so privileged to be asked to do that!

We will all miss Marci so very much.  She was just an amazing woman and I think about her and her family often.  40 is so young to die, and I think about what I would want to leave behind, what I would want to have accomplished if I had to leave this world that young.  I am so grateful for the Plan of Happiness.  Knowing that this wonderful family will see their wife and mother again is such a comfort! 

1 comment:

Valerie said...

What heartache I feel just reading this and not knowing this family. I'm so sorry for you and all of your family, but it is great that you could go spend time there