Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Dear Elizabeth. And what I learned.

I had a dear old friend that was in the hospital battling cancer for quite a while.
I wanted to make & send her a necklace months ago but I kept putting it off.
I finally made it and mailed it this past weekend.
Then I saw her facebook page yesterday. The day she died.

She Will not see the necklace, or the long letter I wrote her expressing all my gratitude for her life.
I've learned to never wait - when the thought reaches you. 
Don't put off for tomorrow what you can do today. It might not be there. 

Elizabeth rocked this earth. She was 56 and had finally found and married her love exactly one week before she passed. I watched the cute slideshow video they posted on her page, showing the wedding from her hospital bed.
I'm so glad she got to have that.
She "adopted" many children as her own along the way.
I'm so thankful to have been able to walk life with her for a time.
When I knew her, her life was much different. And I was so young. I worked under her in CA from 2000 until she left in 2006 (I think it was 2006).
She was a tough as nails, sharp as a tack, intelligent, strong, and also hysterical woman. She was kind, generous, and a true leader. We thought she'd stay in that demanding corporate world forever. But then in 2006, she left everything she knew to move to SC to "work for God" instead, and to be a life-changer as a youth leader, and boy did she do that! I couldn't be more proud. I'm always visiting her facebook page to see all the posts by all the people whose lives she changed. All the kids that loved her. All the people that called her family, and friend and sister and mother.... It's truly amazing.
She was a single and solitary person when I knew her. No one was too close to her. She only hinted that her life had not been easy. We became great friends and over time we made a close bond.

I wish she could have received my necklace in time. I'm thankful for her having showed me what grace, and healing and forgiveness in life looks like, and lots of strength. I watched a 360 transformation in her. A new life. A new name. A new spirit. it was truly inspiring to see and I admire her courage and strength and dedication to find it.
I will deeply miss her hysterical sense of humor. I do believe she gave me half my sassiness :)
***thankful for that.***
She showed me how to be a stronger woman. How to be tough. How to hold my own.
I miss her laugh already. I can still hear it.

{still visiting your page, every day. 
I went to put Addy's towel on her tonight. The one she has used every day practically since she was 6 months old (she's almost 7 now!), and smiled as I remembered you were the one that sent her that. How i wish i could tell you these things now.
How my Steve the crocodile hunter doll always makes me think of you. How I wish you could have met Asher.} 

This was the last photo I got of her on my last day in the office in 2003, before I moved to AZ to work from home.
 Miss Director of Operations :)

This is more current - forgive me all for having stolen it off her facebook page.

Love and miss you Elizabeth :)
Thanks for rocking my life as well.


Sheryl said...

Thank you so much for your kind and loving words for Elizabeth.She truly was a life changer for many,young and not so young.We love her so much and were also greatfull for the time we to had with her.

Sheryl Maddux

Rachel Olimb said...

I'm so sorry, Leah. It's obvious she was really special to you, and it sounds like she was an inspiration to many. What a sad day. So sorry, friend.

Elisabeth Markle said...

Hi Leah - your blog entry was passed onto me here in Bluffton. I was a good friend of Elizabeth's and her co-worker in youth ministry, and she always told me that I reminded her of you, her "dear friend in Arizona." She told me that many times over the last 5 years that I have known her, and I just wanted you to know that you were someone she so loved and spoke of warmly and often, and (I believe these were your family's!!) kept your Christmas card photos up on her fridge year-round. I did not know the Elizabeth of "corporate life", but I can say from the bottom of my heart that she radiated nothing but pure JOY and the amazing sassiness you spoke of in your beautiful entry up to the very moment God called her to be with Him. And, as we've saying here, her "God work" is truly just beginning, as we are confident that she is now organizing and running all of heaven!

Many, many thanks for your words - they were very powerful to me and many others, and we share in your gratefulness for having been a part of her life.

Blessings, Elisabeth

Mya Bruce Designs said...

Elisabeth M - I don't know if you will see this or not. You don't know how much this means to me. I have an email I'd love to send you, if you can give me your email address, I will forward. leah{at}myabrucedesigns.com
thank you!!!

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Stephanie said...

Thanks for the powerful and important reminder to not put off kind gestures.

Also - I am very sorry for your loss.