Gone Too Soon

Have you ever noticed how when someone is reflecting on another person’s life they often talk about what that person taught them?  What they learned from them and how it has affected their life?  We are all teachers.  Knowingly or unknowingly.

Today I witnessed an amazing tribute to a friend, Gae Morrow Beckstrom.   Even though she was a teacher in her career…. it was obvious today that she was a teacher in life.

It always breaks my heart when someone goes too soon.  I guess, depending on how old you are you may not think that 56 years old is too soon.  But I do.  WAY too soon!

Gae Morrow Beckstrom

It’s not fun to watch a person suffer when trying to fight off a debilitating illness.  Particularly when they feel they are making all the right choices in that fight.  Trusting modern medicine.  There’s much the medical community does not know about many diseases…. but they do their best to give advice according to the knowledge they have to recommend what they feel is the best procedures.

Though I was not around Gae the last few months to see her illness take a hold of her…. she kept most of us that were concerned about her up to date by blogging about her experience.  Check it out here.  I could tell from the last few posts that it wasn’t looking good.   Unfortunately, the disease got the better of Gae and we lost her last week, after a long courageous battle.

What an amazing woman.  My one regret is that I didn’t stay in closer touch with her over the years.  We were first year roommates in college.  She was so much fun to live with.  She was always happy…. and fun loving.  After listening to her children talk today…. she remained that way to the end.  We had some good times in our college apartment.  We stayed in touch for the first few years, but I unfortunately let that slip away.

About a year ago, one of our other roommates made a trip to Salt Lake and wanted to try and get those of us in the area together.  That’s when I reconnected with her after so many years apart.  That’s also when I learned she was fighting this horrible disease.  I remained in touch with her a little over the last year.  Mostly through email and by reading her blog.  One other visit I made to her home…. but I wish I’d been there more.  We always have regrets after someone passes, don’t we?

After sitting through her wonderful service today…. I sat with much regret that I didn’t stay in touch with her all those years.  I missed out on so much.  The kind of friend you want for life.

What a wonderful tribute she was given by her family.  I can only hope that when I’m gone…  my own children will feel about me that way hers do about her.  It was so touching to hear them talk about the things that she had taught them and also talk about what a vibrant passionate person she was.

Her career as a teacher made it possible for her to touch so many lives.  I believe there were many former students there today.  Many who loved Miss Gae dearly.

I was impressed with a few things that her children talked about today.  One of those things was what they refer to as their family motto:  “No empty Chairs”.   Gae had a passion for wanting to make sure that her entire family are together in this next life.  Because of her strong beliefs, she knows that it takes obedience to His commandments be offered all the blessing our Heavenly Father has to offer.   She stressed that very strongly to her family.  She taught them how importance obedience was for their eternal happiness.  Hence their motto:  “No empty chairs”.  She wants them all there with her!

Another teaching point that her son shared was that Gae taught him to never give up.  He quoted her as saying:  “Just because you didn’t win doesn’t mean you’re defeated!”  Isn’t that  a great lesson we can all learn?  Its’ only those who give up that fail at things.  That’s why we need to keep on trying.

I recently read a story that talked about a man who tried for 25 years to pass the Bar Exam!  It took him more than $50,000 in testing fees and over 144 hours spent in testing rooms, but at the age of 61, he finally passed the Bar!  Now that’s persistence!  That’s knowing you aren’t defeated, even though you didn’t win the first time!  Great philosophy!  Thanks for sharing it today, Adam.

I’m so grateful that I had the blessing of knowing Gae Morrow Beckstrom.  I’m grateful that she touched my life in such a profound way just by her example.  I’m grateful for the wonderful family she and Blake have raised.  What a tribute to them both!

Don’t forget to tell someone you love and appreciate them today.  You never know when they will be gone too soon!

I am Grateful!  How are You?


ADDED Nov 17, 2011

I thought this post on Meditations for Women today went so well with Gae’s philosophy that I wanted to add it here:

“Persistence overcomes resistance.”

When you’re persistent you find the power to hold on and persevere in spite of anything. You’re able to overcome every obstacle and you do all that’s necessary to succeed.

Persistence does not mean you will not fail, but it does mean that when you feel defeated you rise above your disappointment and keep trying. Instead of giving up when all seems hopeless, you find a way to keep going. You simply refuse to give up.

Great things come your way when you endure what seems impossible. No, it’s not easy, but remember big achievements require time. Be patient and don’t give up.

Sow persistence and reap success!


4 Replies to “Gone Too Soon”

  1. Thank you, this was wonderful! I LOVE your blog idea, living life with gratitude. That’s definitely giving me food for thought about what I can do to be more grateful. Thank you for coming yesterday Wanda, and for this wonderful post.

    Erin Thomas
    (Gae’s oldest daughter)

    1. I’m so glad you read it. Your Mom was amazing. I really do regret not staying in closer contact with her over the years.
      I was so impressed by all of you kids. Your talk was so wonderful. It’s part of what made me realize how much I had missed out on over the years. I wish I could have made it to the viewing to meet you and talk to you. Just keep up what you are doing and you will be continuing on with your Mom’s Legacy! Thanks, Erin!

  2. Wanda,
    Dad forwarded this link to my g-mail and I’m so glad I read this!! It was always fun to hear about Moms friends from college, and I know you probably had a ton of “mom variety” fun. She was a wonderful mother and friend to me. I’m glad you knew her. Try not to feel bad about missing out, you know her humor, her spirit, her love of life and teaching. This is her! She is because we are. :O) We wont forget, and that makes her close to us still. Thank you for being her friend. And thanks for sharing your memories of your lives together! Emily Smith (#2 daughter)

    1. It was my pleasure to know her, Emily! I wish I could have come to the viewing to meet you kids….but I didn’t make it on Tuesday and my hubby and I work in the temple on Wednesday mornings. I was grateful that I made it to the funeral at all. Keep passing on her love for life like you all seem to have! You are wonderful children that I know she was and always will be proud of!

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