Sunday, February 27, 2011

Mean Mothers School

Dear Mom,

Today our lesson in Relief Society was on the talk Courageous Parenting by Larry R. Lawrence from the last General Conference. I can only imagine the Amens and Hallelujahs coming out of your mouth as you listened to that talk :)

I felt like I could hardly contain myself today! I had so much to say, so much I wanted to share. You were a courageous parent!

You were not a perfect parent. I think it would do your memory disservice to try to pretend otherwise but your heart was in the right place. You wanted the best for us and you were not afraid to put off temporary peace and happiness to teach us how to have lasting peace and happiness.

Do you remember how you would tell us you went to "mean Mom school." I swore I would never say that to my kids, but I do. I remember when you told me not only did you go to mean Mom school but you were the Valedictorian, Principal, and founder of it. I believed you!

I loved that he called it Courageous Parenting. It does take courage to do whats right rather than whats easy. Don't worry, I am trying to be a courageous parent like you were. I change a few things here and there and am making my own mistakes, but I hope my kids feel loved the way we did. So far I think I'm doing alright. When I told Davis I went to mean Mom school and the reason why he couldn't do what he wanted to do was because he had a real mean Mom - he looked devastated! His lip quivered and he said, "no you're not Mommy, you're a nice Mommy."

I just wanted to say thanks again for teaching me. I appreciate you so much more each day and your talents and abilities. You were amazing! I am sure that right now you are carrying amazing to new Celestial heights!

I love you,

Thursday, February 24, 2011

A good laugh

Nothing is quite as healing as a good laugh. Enjoy this one, compliments of Caroline.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

President Burnett's Funeral Remarks

We have been blessed by the Spirit this hour as we have celebrated the beautiful life of Caroline Rober.

As a stake presidency we extend our love, testimony and prayers to all of Caroline’s family here today. We unite with all those who are here today in our love for her. There are angels here on this earth – truly, Caroline was one of them. A choice daughter of God. An elect lady.

I am grateful to add my testimony to those who have already done so today in word and song. I might also add there is a touching video tribute to Caroline on her blog-spot prepared by her children. You should all look at it when you return home. It will brighten your day and lift your spirit.

On the video there is a picture of Larry, Caroline, Mark, Brian and Lisa, all dressed in white; followed by a picture of the Los Angeles Temple. I bear my witness that you are an eternal family, sealed together through the power of the Holy Priesthood for time and all eternity.

I also testify that Caroline, thru Priesthood authority, was set free from the pains of this mortal existence. Speaking of this departure from mortality, Brigham Young, a prophet of God once said (Journal of discourses, BY, 17:142) “… My spirit is set free, I thirst no more, I want to sleep no more, I hunger no more, I tire no more, I run, I walk… nothing like pain or weariness. I am full of life, full of vigor, and I enjoy the presence of my Heavenly Father, by the power of his spirit.”

As I reflect on Caroline’s life, the following scripture comes to mind: (Moroni 7:46)
“But Charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; And whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, It shall be well with him.”
And so it was with Caroline – possessed with the pure love of Christ at the last day. All is well.

Less than 24 hours after word of Caroline’s passing I was in the celestial room of the temple, pondering her life. I had a distinct impression come to me, “Tell them I’m OK. Tell them I’m fine.“

I told her a few weeks ago not to worry. That throughout this process of passing she would never be alone. DC 84:88 “… for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up. Many of you here today were those angels.

Some would ask, WHY? – but not Caroline. She understood.

In one of her last testimonies, read from the pulpit by her daughter Lisa when Larry was released as Bishop, she said, “No one on earth will ever be taken home to our Father in Heaven unless they have finished the work they were supposed to do and learned the lessons they need for eternal progression. I am at peace…”

Joseph Fielding Smith, a prophet of God, answered the question in a similar way: “May I say for the consolation of those who mourn, and for the comfort and guidance of all of us, that no righteous person is ever taken before their time. In the case of the faithful saints, they are simply transferred to other fields of labor. The Lord’s work goes on in this life, in the world of spirits and in the kingdoms of glory where we go after the resurrection.”

I bear testimony that it was Caroline’s time. She was a righteous soul and one of the faithful saints. And I like the word transferred. Is there any question that Caroline is working on family history in the world of spirits. She has been transferred to another field of labor. What better person to work with those who have passed on than Caroline. She may help the same person whose work she completed on this side of the veil accept that work on the other side.
I, like all of you, have been touched by Caroline’s kindness, faithfulness and her happy and infectious Spirit. She demonstrated uncommon courage throughout this difficult experience. While we were trying to bless her she ended up blessing us. She truly had received His image in her countenance, and the light of Christ shone in her eyes.

The words of the hymn, pg. 293, Each Life that touches Ours for Good, express my feelings for Caroline’s influence of good on us all:

1. Each life that touches ours for good reflects thine own great mercy, Lord; thou sendest blessings from above through words and deeds of those who love.

2. What greater gift doest Thou bestow, what greater goodness can we know than Christ-like friends, whose gentle ways strengthen our faith, enrich our days.

3. When such a friend from us departs, we hold forever in our hearts a sweet and hallowed memory, bringing us nearer, Lord, to thee.

I will forever hold in my heart Caroline’s hallowed memory as she has brought me closer to the Lord. Perhaps the best way we can remember Caroline is to become a little more Christ-like in our own lives. Keep the commandments. Serve the Master. Love our families. Lift and bless others. And let’s not forget to do our genealogy!

The scriptures remind us of the importance of remembering. May we always remember the words of Caroline in one of her final testimonies: “No one knows what this life will throw at them, all we can do is to choose the better way and do the best we can. I know from personal experience that if you let the Lord govern your life and trust in Him with all your heart, soul and mind you will never fear when life throws you a curve ball.”

Throughout her trial Caroline never showed fear or doubt; only trust and faith. May we do likewise, AND as Caroline did, “choose the better way” – which of course is Jesus Christ and the plan of happiness. In that same testimony Caroline said, “The wonderful Primary leaders and the adorable and handsome children that came to our house…brightened my life with their love and songs. I love Primary. The children have always helped me to keep things in perspective.”

I believe the words of this primary song reflect the thoughts of her final testimonies:

I belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
I know who I am.
I know God’s plan.
I’ll follow him in faith.
I believe in the Savior, Jesus Christ.
I’ll honor his name.
I’ll do what is right;
I’ll follow his light.
His truth I will proclaim.

Obedience, faith, testimony – even to the very end. God be thanked for the life of Caroline Rober.

To the Rober family (and to all of us here today) I say to you the final words I spoke to our dear Caroline just a few hours before her transfer home. As I held her hand and gently kissed her forehead I simply said: “I love you. God be with you til we meet again.”

I add my sure witness confirmed by the Holy Spirit that you will meet Caroline again in the Royal Courts on high, reunited in love and sealed together as an eternal family. This is brought about through the atonement of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Redeemer. I know this to be true. I have no doubts. In the name of Jesus Christ Amen.

President Randy Burnett
Stake President, Placentia Stake

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Dear Mom,

Its been 3 weeks since you passed away. Most days I do pretty good. But the last few days have been hard. It seems the numbness is starting to wear off leaving me very raw. It has also been just long enough that I find myself several times a day thinking I need to call you just to say hi.

Ive been reorganizing my house and making it much more functional. Its served not only as a blessed distraction but also as a reminder of everything you taught me. See - I was listening :) While it has been good and therapeutic, it also has been frustrating as I keep finding I have questions for you. Did you make those cute bibs with the letters and animals on them or did Grandma Irene? Which of our ancestors did the little tea set I just found belong to? Were all of your pictures in that one carrier in the garage, or is there another stash somewhere else? I thought we had prepared and I had asked you all of my questions but now I realize I never came close.

Tonight I go to hospice for the first of 8 bereavement counseling sessions. I'm hoping that will help me as I try to find my new normal in life. I never understood how true the saying was - you never know what you have until its gone.

I miss you Mom.
I miss you so much it hurts.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Through an open door

On Monday morning, January 31st, my Mom never really woke up. She communicated a little bit in the morning when she was uncomfortable and told us that by shaking her head yes or no. The rest of the day we got very little to no response. By Tuesday we knew she only had days left. Both the hospice nurse and my Aunt did not feel that she was going to pass Tuesday so the boys readied their bags for when the time was closer and I headed out around 4:00 to pick my boys up and take them to Disneyland. It was the perfect Disneyland day - no lines and nice weather. But for the first time in my life I did not want to be there. On the way over I talked to a friend and told her I didn't feel comfortable leaving my Mom's side anymore and after this trip I wouldn't be leaving again until after she passed. It was so important for me to be there and hold her hand through that experience since I knew she had feared that moment.

We went on the Submarines and my heart felt
heavier. Davis was pleading for Small World and Beckham wanted to go on the Teacups. I promised we could do the Teacups after Small World. About half way through the ride my heart started racing and it became difficult to breathe. The only way I can describe what I felt is to say that I had an overwhelming urge to get off that ride at any costs. I closed my eyes and took deep breaths thinking this must be what people describe as a panic attack. I was thinking of calling my cousin to come get us because I didn't know if I could drive home. By the end of the ride it was not better. I was starting to panic and I KNEW I had to get home right then.

When we
finally got off the ride I threw the boys in the stroller and promised them McDonald's if we could leave without the teacups. They were not happy but I made big promises of ice cream as we RAN to the monorail station. When we got to the top I searched frantically for my phone to call home. There was a missed call 1 minute earlier from my Dad. I called him back and he said, "Auntie says you need to come home right now."

Back at the house right about the time my heart started pounding my Moms blood pressure dropped to around 80 over 48. Her breathing wa
sn't regular and her pulse was over 120 beats a minute. My Aunt grabbed her and told her, "You have to wait for Lisa!" My Dad called our dear friend President Mitchell and he and his sweet wife Lorayne came over. My Dad and President Mitchell gave my Mom a preisthood blessing that she would be able to hang on until her children arrived. My Dad had been inspired to turn her BiPaP machine pressure up and that miraculously seemed to stabilize her breathing more.

I think I made it from the monorail station in Disn
eyland to her side in about 20 minutes flat. Traffic parted, kids cooperated, and I sprinted like a crazy possessed woman but I arrived home around 6:30. I went to my Moms side and thanked her for not only waiting for me but also for warning me.

That will always be one of the most miraculous experiences of my life. I know that she warned me that I needed to get ho
me and the minute her heart started racing so did mine. That simple sweet gesture will always serve as a reminder of my Moms love and as a reminder of the connection we had. While we may live in different realms of existence now we are still connected and always will be. I sat with her for a time as her blood pressure and breathing stabilized. Her pulse was still racing but it seemed like she was going to hang on for her sons to arrive.

The best news - she was "comfortable" - in a blissful state beyond pain.

All of a sudden it hit me how much my Mom would want the boys to come say goodbye also. Our sweet Bishop's wife Quenta (who I had fran
tically called on my way home to come care for my boys so I could be totally present when I got home) and Lorayne had fed the boys upstairs and got them ready for bed.

s came down first to say goodnight to Grandma.

He gave her kisses and sang her his favorite song - We are a Happy Family.

I love Grandma, she loves me.
We love Grandpa, yes siree.
They love us and so you see, we are a happy family.

He told her he loved her and said goodnigh

Then it was Beckham turn to say "night night."

He sang her his favorite song - The ABC's

The Hatch family was sweet enough to take the boys to their home for a slumber party and then to school the next day for us.

My blessed Aunt and cousin were there each step of the way and helped hold us all together and understand what was happening. What a blessing it was to have my Aunt, who was a nurse, be the one wa
lking us through the night as things progressed.

Kelly's husband Brian ran errands for us and our
comfort before coming to say goodbye. For their support and patience I will always be grateful.

Mark, Lisa and Kam arrived and were able to spend some time with her alone and Kam was able to wish her goodnight.

Brian was scheduled to arrive around 10:30 a
nd John around 12:30. Around 10:00 her breathing changed and the BiPaP was only inflating her lungs about every 4th breath. Her blood pressure also dropped again to around 80 over 50. We all sat with her as we waited for Brian to arrive, which he did at around 10:25.

We each sat holding her in some way while listened to the amazingly peaceful CD created by Kim Reed.
One of the last songs on the CD is the song Going Home and it was playing during that tender time.

Going home, going home
I'm just going home
Quiet light, some still day
I'm just going home

It's not far, just close by
Through an open door
Work all done, care laid by
Going to fear no more

Mother's there expecting me
Father's waiting, too
Lots of folk gathered there
All the friends I knew
I'm going home

Nothing's lost, all's gain
No more fret nor pain
No more stumbling on the way
No more longing for the day
Going to roam no more

Morning star lights the way
Restless dream all done
Shadows gone, break of day
Real life begun

There's no break, there's no end
Just a living on
Wide awake with a smile
Going on and on

Going home, going home
I'm just going home
It's not far, just close by
Through an open door
I am going home

What we experienced and what we felt are too precious to write in such a public setting like this. But there was one moment I did want to share. My Moms eyes had been closed for days but right at the end her eyes suddenly opened wide and her deep brown eyes shone bright and were filled with light giving them an almost amber color. It was at that moment I knew she was seeing the other side of the veil and the light from that world was shining in her eyes. In that moment I believe she crossed from this life to eternal life. It lasted for a few short moments and then her eyes dulled and closed peacefully forever.

Truly she had gone home.

Full circle

This e-mail was written by our Bishop Clark Hatch to the Tingey side of his family. My Moms life came full circle.

Dear Tingey Family,

Decades ago, Grandpa William Wesley Tingey, as the Bishop of the Centerville Ward, Utah, conducted the baptism of one of Mavis' girlfriends, Caroline Melissa Braxton Rober. Grandpa Tingey signed her baptismal certificate. Caroline showed me his signature about 5 years ago when she found out I was a Tingey. She lived in our ward for more than 20 years.

Yesterday I conducted Caroline's funeral in our quite full stake center. She died of ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease). She and her husband have 3 grown active temple married kids, with some grandkids. She overcame a childhood with many forms of abuse, joined the church at 17, and has been very successful in all her endeavors. Her husband was baptized into the church about 20 years ago. He was released as Bishop 2 months ago, and I was called as Bishop.

I just thought it interesting to see the dramatic changes the Gospel of Jesus Christ can make in the life of one, then multiple generations. Her oldest son is also in a Bishopric. I also thought it amazing that my Grandpa Tingey conducted her baptism; her rebirth into the gospel.....and I was honored to conduct her funeral, an event that coincided with her birth into the Spirit World.

Also, she had her grandchildren sing, "Genealogy, I am Doing It", at her funeral, since that was her passion. She surely had a throng of hundreds of spirits waiting for her on the other side of the veil, since she did their Temple work and help multitudes of others do their own family history work.

We have been blessed by our righteous ancestors that led the way into the gospel, and followed the commandments of Jesus Christ. May we all be as true and faithful as they, and continue to bless the lives of our posterity with our righteous examples.

Clark Tingey Hatch

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Ken Mitchell's Funeral Remarks

Sister Rober asked that I say a few words this morning. I am honored to do so. I would like to speak to just a couple of topics this morning.

First I would like to speak to the merits of this wonderful woman. Over the last 25 years since the Robers moved into the area, we have all had opportunity to know and love them. The Mitchells have had an extra measure of these blessings in that our children matched up in ages and we got to spend lots of time with them. We have developed a very deep and sincere relationship of love with the entire family. I have been able to observe this grand lady through many phases of life. I would like to share just a couple of these observations with you.

Let me begin by saying that she is a lady of great capacity. She has always been able to see the “Big Picture”. She could see the potential in people. This was especially true in her family. With sincere dedication, focus, and love, she set about bringing out the best in them. She did this not only by teaching correct principles, but by the very way she lived her life. She saw in her husband the enormous potential of priesthood leadership. Through pure love, faith, and prayer, she saw that vision realized as her husband joined the church and filled the measure of that vision. Indeed, he is one of the finest Priesthood leaders I have ever known. To her children she was focused and steady. In a very difficult world, she steadied the course for them to follow. I think a song lyric describing a loving parent with a “thundering velvet hand” describes her very well. “Thundering” in that “right was right” and it would always be right. “Wrong was wrong” and it would always be wrong. There was no compromise in this. “Velvet” in that she taught with love and kindness, patience and optimism.

I think the vision and blessing of last Tuesday night shall live with me forever. With the family not completely gathered yet, Bishop Rober and I gave Caroline a blessing. Lisa came in with two of her little boys. Others prepared the boys for bed while Lisa spent some tender time with her mother. Then came little Davis bounding down stairs saying “Good night Grandma! Good night Grandma! I love you!”. Assisted by his mother, he was lifted up and gave Grandma all sorts of kisses. Then he sang her a song “We are a Happy family”. He trotted off to bed. The scene repeated when little Beckham came down. Lots of “good nights” and “I love you grandmas” and kisses were given. But the only song he could remember was the ABC song, so he sang that to Grandma. As the rest of the family began to gather, Lorayne and I made our exit. But I am sure that scene played out many times as the evening went on. Her children and grandchildren are the legacy she leaves behind. They are wonderful! I could go on and on about the merits of this good lady, but one only need look at her family to know who she is and what she stands for. That picture is worth thousands of words.

Next I would like to speak about the things Caroline believed.

As she committed herself to learning and self improvement, she found she desired and needed a solid spiritual anchor in her life. She, like most of us came to a point in time when she wondered Who am I? Where did I come from? Why am I here? Where am I going? With faith and a spiritual confirmation, she joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints at age 17. Her testimony of Jesus Christ and the doctrine of salvation guided her throughout her life. Time will not permit a full discussion on answers to all of these questions but I would like to give a brief overview of them. Both ancient and modern scripture support this doctrine.

Our Heavenly Father is a glorified, perfect, celestial being with a glorified body of flesh and bones. He is the father of our spirit bodies. He possesses a fullness of all Godly attributes and joy. He desires that all of His children become like Him. We are literally the spirit children of heavenly parents. I feel the poet Wordsworth captured the vision perfectly when he penned the poem “Ode to Immortality”. Said he:
Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The Soul that rises with us, our life's Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting,
And cometh from afar:
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, who is our home:

In this first estate the Father presented a plan to His children. The plan provided for the creation of an earth whereupon His children would receive physical bodies and would be tested according to His commandments. A grand council in heaven was convened.The divine plan required one to be sent as Savior and Redeemer to fulfill the plan of the Father.The first born of the Eternal Father, Jehovah, willingly volunteered and was chosen. Most sustained the choice. Others rebelled, and there was a war in heaven. Satan and those who followed him were cast out and denied mortality. Thus, to Latter-day Saints, pre-mortal life is characterized by individuality, agency to choose, intelligence, and opportunity for eternal progression.

Those who kept this 1st estate were to be added upon with a physical body and were permitted to live upon this earth in this planned 2nd estate. Each was appointed his times and the bounds of his or her habitation.

The physical creation of the heavens and the earth, and all things thereon was another essential step in helping become like our Father in Heaven. Adam and Eve, in a paradisaical state, were the first man and woman. They were married eternally and were given commandments. They were in a state of innocence and knew no sin.

The fall of Adam and Eve was the next step in the great plan of Salvation. The fall brought about the conditions of mortality, including physical and spiritual death. Mortal life on earth is essential to becoming like our Father in Heaven. It provides us with the opportunity to grow and learn by having the freedom to choose to follow the counsel of God or the enticings of Satan. It is by the choices we make that we prove ourselves.

As was promised, a Savior and Redeemer was born upon the earth. He was the only begotten of the Father in the flesh. He is Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God. Because of the fall of Adam we will all die (Physical Death), we are all cut off from the presence of God and cannot get back to him on our own (Spiritual Death), and we live in a world of toil, sin, and sorrow. The atonement of Jesus Christ provides for the resurrection of all mankind, with immortal bodies, thus overcoming physical death. The atonement ensures too that all mankind will be redeemed from the fall. Mankind will then be brought back into the presence of God, in their resurrected state for the judgment, thus overcoming the first spiritual death. Through the atonement of Jesus Christ, if we repent we can also be cleansed from personal sins and changed from our fallen condition to become like God our Father. No ordinary man could have brought about the resurrection and atoned for the sins of all mankind. Only one who had the power over death and the power of a sinless life could have done so. It required the sacrifice of the only begotten Son.

Physical death is the separation of the body and the spirit. At death, all of Heavenly Father’s children go to a spirit world to await the resurrection. This is a place of paradise and happiness for the righteous. We will also continue to learn be accountable for our actions.

The judgment and the resurrection are closely entwined, and part of our final judgment will take place as we are resurrected. All will come forth in the resurrection with perfect bodies, but they will differ in glory. All will be raised with a body appropriate to the kingdom they will inherit, be that of Celestial, Terrestrial, or Telestial.

Here in mortality, with a veil placed between us and our 1st estate, Caroline developed her faith more perfectly. She has a profound testimony of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He is our advocate with the Father. He is our Redeemer. She has a testimony of the apostasy and the restoration that has taken place on the earth. She has an unshakable witness that God works through Prophets. She knows that through the restoration, the Priesthood of God has been restored. She knows that all the saving ordinances have been restored and that she is a part of a grand family, even the family of God. She has worked tirelessly to find many missing links in the family tree of the Father and made sure their temple work was done.

These are the things that Sister Rober and her family have a testimony of.

A few weeks ago as Bishop Rober was released from his calling, Caroline was asked to bear her testimony. Even though her ability to speak clearly had vanished, she did not shy away for the assignment. Together with her daughter Lisa, they came to the pulpit. With Lisa as voice Caroline bore this sweet testimony:
Dear Brothers and Sisters,

It is with a bit of sadness I stand before you today. Why, because our lives have been so richly blessed as my dear husband has served as our Bishop. We both grew and we have had many choice experiences.

I have personally felt of the love you shared with him. And I, myself have felt more joy and peace. Our home has become our own little piece of Heaven.

No one knows what this life will throw at them, all we can do is to choose the better way and do the best we can. I know from personal experience that if you let the Lord govern your life and trust in Him with all your heart, soul and mind you will never fear when life throws you a curve ball. And since He has thrown us a curve ball we have witnessed the immense love that He has for us through you, the Saints of Placentia Second ward.

You have showed us more loving kindness and service than I thought was possible to show. Everything from the cards and sweet letters to the delicious dinners and wonderful friendships developed. From your personal help with my care to personal visits just to say Hi. The wonderful Primary leaders and the adorable and handsome children that came to our house and brightened my life with their love and songs. I love Primary, the children have always helped me to keep things in perspective. And I have truly lived to see the Angels in Relief Society carry out the Lords blessings as they run the errands of Heaven.

I would be remiss if I didn’t thank Heavenly Father for the blessings the Priesthood brings. I have felt His miraculous healing power in my life and been comforted much during this time of trial. I love the Priesthood, and the righteous Priesthood Power I have felt.

I know God is our father and Jesus Christ, His son Live. I know without a doubt that the Lord loves us. No one on earth will ever be taken home to our Father in Heaven unless they have finished the work they were supposed to do and learned the lessons they need for eternal progression. I am at peace especially now that I will be able to sit with my husband again after 9 years.
Is it any wonder that late last Tuesday night I got a call from my friend Bishop Rober. He said “Caroline has passed away.” There was a bit of a pause. He then said, “it was the most spiritual experience I have ever felt.” This a family of disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. They worry not about Caroline but rather celebrate a life well lived. What a glorious reunion she must be having. Not just with her family, but with the countless number of people she has researched and found in the area of family history. The countless number of ordinances she was responsible for in the temple. Surely this must be a glorious reunion. We all have so much to look forward to.

Let me add my testimony to that of the Robers. I know that God lives. We are His children. He knows and loves us. He has provided the way for us to return to Him. Jesus Christ is the prophesied Messiah. He is the Son of the Living God. He is our advocate with the Father. He is our Savior. The restoration of the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ has occurred. Joseph Smith was the chosen Prophet of this the last dispensation of the fullness of times. Through the restored power of the Priesthood, Apostles and Prophets lead and guide the affairs of the Lord’s church.

I can still hear the little voices of Davis and Beckham...”Good night Grandma! Good night Grandma! I love you!” Then all the kisses. It is my great honor to add my voice to those sweet little boys and say, “Good night sweet Caroline”, I love you! We will all miss you until we meet again.”

In the name of Jesus Christ,

Kenneth F. Mitchell
Placentia 2nd Ward

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The story of her passing.... not an easy thing to write. I'm trying to make sure that I do the experience justice and hope to be done by this weekend.

For now you can enjoy the tree my Dad planted in her honor.

When it blooms it will have pink blossoms. It was suppose to go in the flower bed but ended up being to big so they moved it out in front of the house and put it in the lawn.

I laughed to myself just a bit - its the perfect Caroline tree. To big to be confined to a small space :) I'm glad its where its at because you can see it from the front window.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Lisa's Funeral Remarks

It’s an honor to be here today, it’s an honor to be the daughter of Caroline Rober. I would like to thank you all for coming today. I would also like to express thanks to the Placentia 2nd ward and my ward back in UT – the Hurricane 13th ward for making it possible for me to spend these last few months here with my Mom. I will never be able to express how much that means to me and how much it meant to my Mom.

It was an interesting thing to move back in with my parents after having left, grown up, and started my own family. My Mom and I had developed a deep friendship over the last 10 years and it was fun to have the opportunity to live together again as grown women and friends, rather than as a know it all teenager and mother. When I first started caring for her after Thanksgiving she was gracious in every way. The disease was far enough along that she was no longer able to care for herself but instead of bitterness she handled the everyday annoyance with laughter. At that point she couldn't control her tongue and saliva very well and I always knew when I had her laughing good because she would drool. And instead of being embarrassed and upset it made her laugh ever harder!

My favorite time of day was doing her hair and putting her make up on. We would listen to uplifting music as she allowed me to dress her up and try new ways of doing her hair and makeup. It was delightful. Her speech was also starting to be very difficult to understand and when she said something I couldn't understand I would make up some ridiculous interpretation and she would laugh hysterically! I specifically remember one example of this where she had told my Dad to go "put up the lights." I knew what she had said but my Dad did not understand her. I turned to my Dad and said, she told you to "go get a life." She laughed so hard she could hardly stand it.

My Mom taught us to be tough, to fight our own battles and problem solve. I remember being in the 4th grade and there was a mean girl at the bus stop. I didn't get along with her and the girl started bringing her Mom to the bus stop who would get involved. I remember thinking - oh you just wait until tomorrow when I bring my Mom to the bus stop! But when I asked my Mom to come she said no. I needed to figure out a way to solve it myself. I remember being a little hurt and eventually started going to a different bus stop where I met new and better friends. I am so grateful that she didn't always sweep in and solve our problems for us. As a mother I realize now just how hard that must have been but I also see how much that made me more capable to deal with life as an adult.

There were times when my Mom did come to our aid when it was necessary. It took me until about 4 years ago to finally confess to my Mom one of my childhood secrets I had kept from her. It was one of the most important lessons I ever learned. I was a pretty good kid growing up and never broke the rules while at school. This one time - literally like the one time I did something small wrong I got caught. I knew I would be busted by my Mom and I did not want to get in trouble. So I used the quick wits she also endowed me with and found a sneaky way out of this situation. When I got home I "proved" to my Mom they had the wrong person. That poor school. She took off for Brea Junior High and before long had the school apologizing to me. I felt horrible - she trusted me and she was not going to let any school take advantage of me. I can assure you that her faith and trust in me taught me more than any other lesson I would have learned had I been punished for actually doing what was wrong – and I never broke the rules at school again.

It didn't take long to learn that my Mom was passionate. There was nothing in this world that she could not do through pure hard work and her iron will power. She was one of the hardest working people I have ever known and she always strove for perfection in what she did. It’s something that I see in all of us kids. We don’t want to just do a job – we try to do the job to the best of our abilities. When I started babysitting she would always tell me that I had to leave a home nicer than I had found it. That was how she lived her life - she tried to leave everything and everyone better than when she had encountered them.

There is no doubt that my Mom was strict and she had high expectations for us. I often wondered why none of us rebelled against her rules and high expectations. I heard a speaker in a parenting conference once say that “rules without a relationship will equal rebellion.” That made so much sense to me because while my Mom was strict my Mom loved to play with us - and when my Mom played she played hard!

I remember going to Disneyland with her the first day before school each year, she wore us kids out. She loved to go to movies and we loved to go with her because that always meant treats and popcorn. I remember one time I was living in Seattle and she came to visit. She wanted to take me to see a movie and I wanted to see one but she wanted to see a different movie. She looked at me and said, "why not see them both!" So we did and caught dinner in between. It’s such a small thing but it was the fun and spontaneity that made it special and she was great at that. She loved to go miniature golfing for family night or plan other fun age appropriate activities. I even remember her coordinating laser tag for FHE because that is what Mark and I wanted to do - you know to show those old people up. Turns out when the game was over she had beat us all!

She threw us the best birthday parties ever and made us feel like a VIP - a Very Important Person not only on our birthday but every day of the year. Even when I wasn’t getting along with my Mom I always knew that she loved me. I may have said I doubted it, but I never did. She gave her entire life to making our lives special and wonderful and trying to give us the childhood she never had.

What I loved the most about my Mom was that of all the many things I learned from her they were things she never told us - we learned because that was the way she lived her life. She expected us to work hard and she worked right along beside us. She expected us to be helpful and we grew up watching her help everyone around her. She always was prepared with canned goods in the back of the van so we could help people we saw living on the street. I remember one time I gave one of those bags to a woman with 2 small children right near Luckys grocery store. She was so grateful and I came back heartbroken for them and crying. I’m not sure where we were going but my Mom changed her plans took me into the store and allowed me to buy two bags of groceries and take them back out to that Mother. She had so much compassion empathy for those around her and she loved to help people. She was always the first to extend a welcome and the first to extend help to someone in need.

I found something I wrote in 5th grade that I wanted to share. I wrote, "When I grow up I want to be like my wonderful Mom who cares what you feel like and if you feel sad she will always make you feel better." And she always did. Even when I was here "taking care" of her she lifted and taught me every day.

I wish I could share with you my e-mail inbox full of literally hundreds of e-mails from people that she has touched over the last 6 months. Her willingness to not hide behind pretenses and to share her experience with the entire internet is one of the things I admire the most about her. She wasn’t afraid of being taken advantage of or judged, she never thought of being someone other than herself. She was aware of her shortcomings but she never let them inhibit her. And look at how much good has come out of her willingness to be real and vulnerable. Thousands of people have been touched her story. The day she died her blog had 1,552 views. I will always be grateful that my Mom was real and never tried to someone other than herself. Her integrity was unwavering and she saw the world in black and white. It sometimes caught people of guard but in this world of pretenses and relativism my Mom was like an unwavering anchor and it brought me comfort and security.

My Mom was born into a difficult family life. It had been like that for generations. It always surprised me that she loved Family History so much when her family history wasn't much to brag about. But look at what she did in 1 generation. If you look at our family pedigree chart before my mom you find anger, grief, abuse, addiction. But if you picture her pedigree chart towards her descendants you see the opposite picture. A temple marriage of 35 years, college graduates, well adjusted happy children, 7 beautiful grandchildren…’s a whole new type of posterity. What a remarkable woman. Life may not have handed her an easy set of circumstances but she did not care. She worked passionately to create something different for her children. She practiced what she preached and left this world a better place than she found it.

That is the way that I want my Mom to be remembered. Not only did she love family history - she literally changed family history.