Saturday, August 16, 2014

It's been a sad week...

Early yesterday morning a dear friend of mine crossed from this life into the next. 
I know she was welcomed home as a celebrity because Wanda Barnes was, and is, 
one of the most Christ centered people I've ever known.

The last time I saw her was Monday evening. 
She couldn't talk and her eyes were closed but when her daughter told her I was there 
she opened her eyes just a tiny bit. Her mouth quivered as she tried to talk, but couldn't.
I talked to her and I could tell she heard me.

This was one of my favorite pictures of Wanda. 
She was SO excited to meet Bonnie Parkin, our general Relief Society President from Utah. 
I think this was around 2007 or 2008?

Wanda was one of my counselors when I was Relief Society president a few years back. 
She loved and served and loved every day of her life. We would often discuss different sisters 
and situations in our ward with challenges, and her response was always the same….
"We can do this! no problem! I'll take care of it." She never even paused to think about her
schedule or what she could fit in. She just said yes. 

Her most favorite calling of all in the church was working in the nursery with the children ages 18
months to 3. She could never get enough of them. And they loved her back big time. 

She has also been my visiting teaching partner for the past several years. If there were small
children in the homes we would visit, that is who she would gravitate towards.

Each month Wanda and I were so busy that it was hard to schedule our visiting teaching early in the
month like we preferred. On one such month she wrote this to me in an email:

"... I feel like if we wait till the end of the month, maybe they might think we think they 
are just an obligation to fulfill. Oh, I don't know, I sure hope not. I get crazy like that. I 
guess I just want people to really know that when I do something for the church I just 
don't do it because of obedience,(that is good), but I think I am past that. I just really 
feel each day I am here and any little thing I can do to help in the Lord's church is 
blessing and a privilege to me. I am grateful for it. Besides it just makes me feel good 
inside. My little tune starts singing in my heart…."

When I would pick her up to go with me, this is one of the first things she would almost always say
with this huge smile on her face, "Tell me about the babies. I want to know how they are."
She was referring to my grand babies.

Last January right after Wanda learned of her cancer but before she had her big surgery she was more
concerned about her children and grandchildren than anyone or anything else. Her youngest son and
his wife were expecting their first baby and she said she had to make it so she could hold her newest
grandson, Milo. From one of her emails to me:

"...I was going to NC to his baby blessing the 2 of March. Not happening now. 
Canceled tickets, I hope I get to hold him on this side of the veil. So far that is the only 
thing that can really make go to tears, QUICKLY!... "

Well look what happened! After her surgery in February, she got her wish. 
Milo's parents surprised Wanda by flying him across country just so Grandma could hold him!

We all thought she was recovering. She had a great summer and 
even went camping with her grandchildren last month! 

Always and Forever Wanda!

You loved everybody, everywhere you went.

You have taught us all,
 "There is NO greater power than LOVE."


Tyler Heasley said...

That is a wonderful tribute.

Karen Mortensen said...

What a dear lady.

Anonymous said...

What a touching story. You must be so sad to lose her. People like that are one in a million.
Love, darlene

Scrapally said...

I was so sad to hear about this. Wanda had a radiant smile and was always so friendly and nice! I didn't even know she was sick. Hugs and prayers to you and all her family from us...we feel far away.

grandmapeg said...

Oh Jill, I'm very sorry for your loss of such a dear friend. I know what that feels like. This was a very nice tribute that you did. She sounds like a wonderful person and friend.

Fisher Family Fun said...

I am so going to miss her cheerfulness and the happiness that just followed her everywhere!!

Anna said...

I really miss Wanda, she was absolutely fabulous. When I went to visit her last Tuesday, I burst into tears when Robyn told me her setback wasn't temporary. When I spoke to Wanda she opened her eyes for a bit, then I just held her hand.

Grandma Honey said...

I know what you mean Anna. She was one of a kind. Only one Wanda Barnes in this world and I am having the hardest time believing she is gone. I like what Brittany said during her lesson yesterday…that we are all feeling the loss. Our ward is in mourning, including everyone who knew her.