Saturday, January 22, 2011

Darlene's Celebration of Life Service Dec. 6, 2010

Mom, Grandma, Wife, Sister, Aunt, Neighbor, Friend --- We may have all known Darlene by a different name, but one thing is for sure… we all knew her by her love.

She loved us. She loved life.

My mom had a big heart. She was always giving.

It was devastating to get the news she had ALS.

I think of the book Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom. In the book Morrie said he had two choices when he received the news he had ALS – he said he could get busy living or get busy dying. He chose to get busy living.

My mom was faced with the same choice. She chose to get busy living too. She chose well.

Boy, did she get busy – she got busy sewing. She sewed for family and her friends. She sewed quilts for the little children in a shelter for abused women. She sewed a quilt for the single mom in her chiropractor’s office. My mom felt sorry for the single mom who was struggling. In her illness she never quit reaching out to others.

Her quilting friends were important to her. They were with her on the day she took last breath. What a beautiful story that was. Thank you to those beautiful friends.

She never looked back. She never gave up. NEVER GIVE UP became her motto. She lived this motto well. She was very courageous in her fight with ALS. She gave us courage.

She set an example for us. She never felt sorry for herself and never allowed us to either. My mom used humor in response to the dreadful things this cruel disease threw her way. She inspired us. She helped us cope.

We met beautiful people along the way. We made precious friends at ALS support group.

She could light up a room when she walked in. She didn’t have words, but she didn’t need them. There was a spark in her eyes. She communicated with “thumbs up.”

Mom was a cowgirl. The cover for her celebration of life service was a picture from Wind River Ranch. A place we loved in Estes Park, Colorado where we rode horses and God touched her life.

Faith was important in her battle.

I’m proud to call Darlene my Mom. She’s my hero. I’m even more proud to be able to call her my friend.

She didn't talk much about dying. How could she? She was too busy living.

But in one of those rare moments where she did mention it, she told me she was going to be here until God needed her to make a quilt, and then she would go and make Him one.

She’s there now. Her life was like a beautiful quilt and now she’s making the most beautiful one of all in heaven.

She’s walking with Jesus. She’s riding a horse too.

Darlene Mae Harvatine was a remarkable woman. She loved you. Remember her for your love.

Dar's ALS Journey = Heaven Bound

My mother passed away on Dec. 1, 2011.

Harvatine, Darlene Mae

Beloved Wife Mother Sister

Grandmother and friend.

Passed away December 1, 2010 at age 67 after a

courageous battle with ALS. Preceded in death by

parents and brother. Survived by beloved husband of 34

years, John; 2 daughters Shari (Bill) Harris and Sandy

(Don) Fenton; sons, Mike (Hope) and John IV (Liz);

grandchildren Christopher, Ashley, Matthew, Samantha,

Mike, Ashley and P.J.; sister, Betty; brother-in-law Phil

(Nita) Harvatine; sister-in-law Paula( Lee) Knickelbine

also nieces, nephews, cousins and friends. Service 11:00


University Avenue West, St. Paul. Interment Roselawn

Cemetery . Visitation at church 1 hour prior to service.

Every Wednesday you could find Dar, her sister and

friends at her home visiting and quilting. Dar shared her

beautiful quilts with everyone. Dar will be sadly missed

by the live's she touched. Thanks to the staff at Health

Partners Hospice, and Gottie for their compassionate care.

In lieu of flowers memorialsp preferred to ALS


Sunday, July 18, 2010

Sophie's Visit

Sophie burst on the scene a bundle of energy and love. (Sophie is Christy’s new puppy; and Christy is my friend Anne’s daughter. The three stopped for a special visit yesterday.)

Mom and Sophie formed an instant bond. Even Annie loved the new little visitor (even if she did take Sophie’s squeaky duck and growl at me when I tried to get her to leave it for a walk). She loved the duck toy.

Sophie climbed right up on Mom’s lap and kissed her. Mom loved it. There’s nothing like a little puppy love.

We left Annie and the duck under the dining room table while the rest of us went for a very warm walk.

We enjoyed our visitors very much.

Mom and I finished Ken Gire’s book God’s Weathering Grace. Ken is a speaker from our Wind River Ranch Days. (See previous post for more information on Ken's book)

After supper we watched a movie.

It was a good Saturday.

Bill and I got caught in some wild storms on the way home from Woodbury – an experience I’m sure we won’t soon forget. We arrived home safely and were very thankful for safe passage through the storm.

The Weathering Grace of God: The Beauty God Brings From Life’s Upheavals by Ken Gire

The Weathering Grace of God: The Beauty God Brings From Life’s Upheavals by Ken Gire
This is the book Mom and I just read. Ken Gire was a speaker at Wind River Ranch the first year we went. He was so good I bought his book. It’s been in my “to read” stack for some time. I recently blew the dust off and opened the cover. You might guess that the title could catch my attention at this time.
From the book:
“God’s purpose is to make us beautiful. As beautiful as His son in all His glory.”
“Upheavals come suddenly, unexpectedly, and often catastrophically. Whenever they come, however they come, they forever alter the settled terrain that once was our life… In time, God turns the most terrifying of eruptions into the most majestic of mountains, the most tragic of earthquakes into the most idyllic of landscapes. That is the unrelenting work of heaven, to make everything beautiful it its time.”
Talking of a tragedy befallen a good friend Ken writes, “Why? I can’t answer that. and if I could, I wouldn’t. At least not to the family. If an earthquake were to destroy your house, and you were sitting among the rubble, battered from the falling debris and bleeding from the shattered glass, crying out ‘why.’ what comfort would there be in someone giving you a geological answer for what happened? Or in this case a theological one?”
Ken proposes the questions in life are part of the journey, and that we should embrace the questions. Ken quotes a trusted friend when he said, “He explained to me with great insistence that every question processed a power that did not lie in the answer.”
Ken proposes that the unanswered questions drive us to God.
“Our unanswered questions are the grappling hooks we use to scale the North Face of God, who seems at times an Everest of indifference. The ascent is treacherous. And maybe why we brave the climb is because we sense that abandoning the climb might be even more treacherous.
Seasons of life – Ken sees himself in autumn, with fallen leaves – the losses in his life – on the forest floor. Contending that no loss is ever wasted in God’s economy. “But if it isn’t wasted and worn out, what happens to it? It reappears. The hope of nature is that the ‘next appearance will be better and more beautiful than the last.’”
“It has been painful to learn, but I have learned that with every loss comes a gain, if nothing more than the compassion we feel for others who have suffered similar losses. Gain comes out of loss the way life grows out of the life that went before it. My son grew out of me as his son will one day grow out of him.”
“The seasons come and go, generation after generation. The gains of spring come from all that is lost in the fall. Life grows out of the life that went before it. As everything that makes me who I am begins to melt and fade and die, I am not disheartened by the losses. I see my son walking beside me and slightly ahead of me, and I am filled with hope, ‘feeling sure that its next appearance will be better and more beautiful than the last.’”
And so it is with my mother and me. I am a better person for having known my mom. She has, and still is teaching me so much about life. She has more life in her than many people I know.

Walk to Defeat ALS 2010

The walk to defeat ALS 2010 will be Saturday, Sept. 25 at Harriet Island.

Dar's Team is forming now. For more information or to register:

Come out and walk -- show your support to Dar and the cause to defeat ALS.

Here is a picture from last year.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Thumbs up!

Mom, you really are the most courageous woman I will ever know. Despite many new challenges, your thumbs are always up. You are amazing. I'm so proud to be your daughter.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Big Day

It was a big day -- Ashley's Graduation Party. John is here from CA. Jen an Mike came down too. We all went to the big party. Congratulations Ashley.