Rest in Peace Maaje!

by Wes Bridel on March 12, 2012

in Random Musings

My mother died 8 days ago.  Although she had been battling cancer for years, I didn’t believe she was close to dying.  Fortunately, the Lord was gracious and prompted me to go be with her for her last 20 hours in the flesh.  What follows is the eulogy I put together for her funeral which includes a couple pretty amazing stories of the Lord at work.  I’m hoping to have time to piece together more complete thoughts of those last days and hours (more for my own benefit than anything).  I apologize for the interruption in the prediction series, but I spent the last week unexpectedly out of town and had already planned to be gone most of this coming week as well.  Maaje was a name I began calling my mom in high school which stuck.  She was a more private person than I am and so I’ve removed her full name and am just calling her Maaje here…

Mom & Dad: Early Days

Thanks for coming to Honor & Celebrate Maaje!  She cared for each of you dearly and is so touched that you all were able to make it here today.  I know it fills her with joy & Love.

Maaje is my mother and she always stressed these last few years that she wanted this simplest possible ceremony when this day came.  We’re going to honor her request in this way… I’m going to say a few short words to start us out and then my sister and each of you who want to share some memory or word of love will be invited to do so.

Romans 14:7-9

New International Version (NIV)

7 For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. 8 If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. 9 For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.

Our Mom lived this word out.

She lived her life for those she loved.  Many of our lives here would never be the same if she hadn’t been willing to pour her life into o

urs.  She wanted to give.  She never really looked to receive anything for herself.  She knew that to die was the easy and glorious part for her, but she wanted to live on to pour her life out for others just as Christ did for us.

She would not want you to mourn her passing

She understood what Paul explained to the Thessalonians when he was teaching about the death of this natural human body…

Mom & Dad: Early Days

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

New International Version (NIV)

13 Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. 14 For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15 According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.

We are not confused about where she is or who she is with.  She lives a far more glorious life now than the incredible life she had on this earth!

I want to share My Story of Joan’s Last Days for those who don’t know it.

High School Photo

High School Photo

9 days ago, Nora called my mom and she was so weak she just whispered that she needed help.  She called Roger & Patti to come help her and they took her to the doctor & then the hospital.  (THANKS) They saw that she didn’t look good and was dying.  Nora called me and told me.

I didn’t believe it.  My mom was just to strong and full of life to die.  I wanted to come last weekend and be with her, but heard Nora & Kellee were coming (Thanks!) and thought it would be better to spread out visits and come this coming Friday.  But then the Lord filled me with the sense that my Maaje was dying.  I didn’t believe it, I didn’t want to believe that He was saying that and tried to convince myself I was just worrying, but I thought I better come as soon as I could at that point.  I arrived Saturday night.  We prayed and we talked.  We both believed she would be healed of this.

Sunday Morning she shared something important for you all to know

I prayed a lot for her and she told me she was concerned about the visions she was having.  She felt like they were sacrilegious, but she kept having them even though she didn’t want to.  She kept seeing herself floating in the Throne room of God up infront of and above Jesus.  It seemed sacrilegious to be that close to Christ, but that’s what she was seeing and wanted to know my thoughts.  I assured her that it was a scriptural vision and from the Lord.  That those who fully give their lives to Him can enter it in life and those who love Him and accept Christ’s work for our lives will surely enter it at death.  Hebrews 12 came to mind and I share this scripture with her…

Hebrews 12:22-24

New International Version (NIV)

22 But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, 23 to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24 to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.

The Lord was showing her where she would soon be. And I’m sharing it with you all so that you’ll all know without doubt where she is.  I kept on praying for healing and believing that surely the Lord would do it, but the signs that that was not His plan clear even though I did my best to ignore them.  My mom wanted to believe.  She felt like Marty needed her and she’s lived these last 13 years in large part to bring him to adulthood.  She made it!  Marty, you’re a man.  He’s still going to need a lot of help with this adjustment and I know my mom would want each of you to do what you can to help him.  But she did it.  Marty, she’s proud of you!

She thought that Kendra and I needed her.  And we do!  She felt her work here was not done and so she prayed for life.  She believed with an ironclad faith.  When Nora and Kellee came in, she told Kellee she needed to be more positive.  The Lord was so gracious.  She was peaceful.  She did not have any pain even though the doctors were sure she should be in severe pain.  After talking She decided to rest and an hour later she left us peacefully in her sleep.

She left for the Lord’s Throne Room!

A couple of hours early she shared with me that to die would be the easy part.  She would get to go to the Lord, but she would leave us behind without her.  She wondered what would we do without her?  And wanted to live on to be there for us.  There are a lot of us who have or do depend on her!  She understood exactly what Paul meant when he told the Philippians…

Philippians 1:21-24

New International Version (NIV)

21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.

The Lord decided that it was her time to go be with Him.  And so there she is!

Let’s Talk about her life here instead of these sad and glorious thoughts…

She had a full rich life.

She’s travelled the world, London, Switzerland, Carribbean Islands & skied in the Rocky Mountains (pretty sure she put skiis on at least

Starting a Family

Starting a Family

one of those trips :)

She’s been a suburbanite in Florida, Houston, Los Angelos, & Las Vegas.  She’s been a socialite in San Francisco attending Opera and Symphony openings and spent a lot of time in New York City.

But she started and ended her life as a country girl from right here and she loved this simple life the best.  She cared more about people than anything else and would do anything for those she loved.

She didn’t really care about many things of this world.  She did love her horses though.  They gave her such joy.  She was a horse whisperer and could get horses that scared most serious horsemen to calm down and do what she wanted them to do.  She even taught Socks to play soccer!

She was A Loving wife and Sister and Daughter

There is no one more broken up about Maaje’s passing than my Dad.  They loved each other very much even if their marriage was far from perfect.  She was there whenever any of her brother’s or sister’s needed her.  She selflessly gave of herself no matter what the cost.  She loved each brother, sister, and her mother dearly.

She was a Caring Friend

Her longtime friend Cindy from California spent yesterday reminiscing about Joan and asked me to share this story that illustrates how much she cared for those she loves.  Cindy’s daughter got pregnant in high school.  Cindy was shocked that many of her friends who knew that she was a Christian and would never want her grandson killed in the womb, were suggesting she lead her daughter to do just that.  She was crushed at the scorn of most she knew.

As I remember her growing up

As I remember her growing up

My mom stepped in and told her they would throw this baby the best baby shower ever.  And she had a celebration when the baby came complete with a birthday cake!  She helped this family through their difficult time when most stood against them.  She was a loving friend when far too many could only concern themselves with the negative side of life.  But she stayed positive and helped bring this boy into the world in an air of celebration.  He’s 15 today and glad for the life Joan played a small part in bringing into the world.  She always cared for those she loved.

She was the best Mother a Person could have!

She taught us how to succeed in life both outwardly and inwardly.  And she mothered many more than just Kendra and I during our early years.  She would see someone who needed mothering and would give all they wanted.  13 Years ago, she saw that Marty needed her and she came and gave him the majority of the end of her life.  She had so much love and guidance to give and she just had to live by giving her life as a mother to those who needed her.  I love her and miss her so much!!!

One last Story to Share

My wife Kara told me an amazing story yesterday.  I forgot to mention that Joan is also a Grandmother.  She loved our son Westin more than I can express.  But every one of you probably already knows this since she couldn’t stop bragging about him! :)   On Monday, the day after Joan passed.  My bride was out in her parent’s backyard with Westin who is 19 months old.  He can only say a few words at this point.

The sun was rising and Westin was across the yard by himself.  All of a sudden he started waiving.  Kara saw that there were no animals,

With her Grandson

With her Grandson

no birds, no people.  This was not like him to just waive at the air.  He only waived if he was saying Hi or Bye to someone.  Kara called out to him, “Westin, who are you waiving at?”

He looked back to her and then turned back in the direction he had been waiving and again gave another waive and this time said, “Bye!”

Kara was certain that even though she couldn’t see our Mom there, Westin could.  She had come to say Goodbye to him!

WAVE:  “BYE MAAJE”

We’re going to let anyone share a story or memory about my Mom who wants to.  My sister will begin…

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Terri O'Leary 03.12.12 at 9:55 pm

Kendra and Wes,
I was so sorry to hear of the passing of your mother. My thoughts and prayers are with you at this time as you celebrate her life and remember the joy she brought to so many. Each Christams as I decorated the Christmas tree with the ornament Kendra gifted me with from her fourth grade year I would remember the short time we shared with the Bridel family and the good memories of Kendra’s fourth grade year and soccer with the Little Giants. May you both find comfort knowing that your mother has made the journey home and continues to live on in the hearts of those she so lovingly embraced.
Kindest regards.
Terri O’Leary

Wes Bridel 03.16.12 at 5:01 pm

Thank you very much! That’s very sweet of you to share Mrs. O’Leary!

Cindy Montoya 03.16.12 at 9:06 pm

Wes and Kara,
I am so very sorry to hear that your mom has passed away. It was so beautiful reading your words describing her. I can almost feel like I knew her by the way you spoke and the loving memories that you have shared here. I hope to meet her someday in the throne room of God and rejoice together! Robert and I love you and your family and we will be praying for continueing peace to fill your hearts.
Love,
Cindy

Wes Bridel 03.17.12 at 6:43 am

Thanks Cindy (& Robert)! We really appreciate it. Hope to see you guys soon.

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