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!

Dixie Days

Do you have memories of good times and friends from long ago?  Most of us probably do.  High School friends, college friends or even friends from any group of people that you were around a lot.

I have great friends from High School and College that still mean the world to me.  So does my husband.  However…. because of the circumstances…. I’ve had the opportunity over the years to get to know his friends from Dixie College really well.  They were a part of a group at Dixie known as Program Bureau which was directed by Roene DiFore.  I blogged about Roene a while back.  She was an amazing lady and brought together students from the college by giving them a class where they learned standard and fun songs with many of the lyrics changed to fit the Dixie Spirit.  Actually….. Program Bureau really became the Dixie Spirit!

These classes traveled around a little to perform for others.  Through those travels and also just getting to be good friends in class… they all became very close to each other.  Close enough that they wanted to maintain contact with each other.  Part of the success in that was Roene always inviting former students back every Spring and Fall during D-week and Homecoming to come to what she called ‘Midnight PB’ and sing all the old songs they sang when they were there.  It was a good excuse to get together a few times a year.

However, this group of friends has made an effort to meet together a little more often when they can.  We’ve spent New Year’s Eve with several of them that live in the Salt Lake area several times.  They are a fun group and I really enjoy being with them.  They’ve always made me feel a part of them, even though I never attended Dixie.

This weekend….  Dixie was celebrating their 100 year Anniversary.  So there were a few more activities and more effort made by many to come participate in them.  Luckily… we were on our way back from Phoenix and it fit right to stop for another day and ‘meet with the old gang’.

Though we didn’t attend everything…. we were able to attend the activities that were important to us, including last night at the BBQ at the Alumni house with the friends from the years John was there.  We had a great time.   Many had brought some old pictures they’d taken while they were in college.  Unfortunately…..  John never took any….. so it was fun to see the pictures others had taken.  And there were many with him in it.  It was fun to see him in those shots.  I didn’t meet John till several years after he attended Dixie…. so it was fun to see how cute he was!  (And still is of course!)  No wonder all the girls had a crush on him!

Then, this afternoon, we had another get together with many of those same people by having a luncheon at the home of Rick and Sheri Nielson’s home.  Rick and Sheri were at Dixie with the rest of the gang, and they opened up their beautiful home over in the Green Springs area to us for the luncheon.  Again…. we had a great time.  Got to hear Lou, Sue and Sharon sing and recorded my husband singing “Long Tall Texan/ Short Fat Utahn”  that he used to sing with PB.   We also played a little trivia by asking questions about things that happened during those Dixie days to see who knew the answers.  They were a crazy bunch back then…. did some pretty crazy things.  You’d think they must have been young back then or something!

I’m so grateful that John had the experiences he had in college and made such marvelous friends and that we can get together often and have such fun.  I love these great people!  It makes me wish that I made more of an effort to get together with some of my old college friends!

Though we’ll miss the activities this evening…… including Midnight PB…(which starts at 9pm now!)….  I’m thankful for Dixie celebrations that bring us all together and I’m grateful to his friends for making me feel like such a big part of them!  Love those Dixie Days!

I am Grateful!  How are you?