by Laurie-Ann Copple
We have continued to love and work in Worcester, South Africa despite L-A's diagnosis of breast cancer, and cancer treatments. However, our time here will be cut short due to leaving South Africa to continue these treatments in Canada. The chemotherapy treatments actually kept L-A in South Africa since when you receive chemo, you are in no condition to fly, especially not at least two long overseas flights, and navigating long, long airports. So when L-A's mom Carol became very ill and was in St. Joesph's Hospital all of December up to January 9th, L-A was concerned. But there was no way to go, so L-A had her sister read a message to their mother, which gave her comfort. Otherwise Carol kept asking for L-A. So Tara had to represent L-A. This went very well and was a comfort. The next day, Carol died with loving support from her younger sister Nancy, niece Cathy and second daughter Tara. It was an intimate moment; one of many during visits.
Laurie-Ann so wanted to be able to share at the funeral and she found a solution. She reached out to Carol's pastor, who is leading the service. He is very happy to share the message. So because the service won't be webcast, we are pleased to share what L-A would share via Rev. Rick:
Hi everyone, I’m Carol’s other, older daughter Laurie-Ann. I can’t be here since I’m in chemo treatments for breast cancer, but I’m with you in spirit.
Mom and I have been on many adventures together, and we shared a love for learning new places, cultures and art. I inherited from her the never-ending itch for the next adventure in different lands or provinces. She also had the desire to philosophize or talk about Jesus over a glass of wine, coffee or tea.
Mom had a big heart and one of her love languages was giving small gifts, and the other was touch in the form of hugs and a loving hand on the shoulder. She loved doing printmaking art at the Neilson Creative Centre and to sing in choirs, including Humber Valley’s senior choir, since the early 1970’s. She and I sat in the alto section, and both of us loved listening to harmonies in many kinds of music. I learned from her a deep appreciation of seeing life and nature as a symphony. All pieces are to work in harmony and give praise to God.
Mom also loved to laugh, especially at Dad’s jokes, of which there are many. She was also intensely curious, which Tara and I often interpreted as part of being a nosy mom. But I now think that she was just trying in her own way to see if we were ok. She loved Blue Jays baseball, and heaven help us if we dare interrupt her during a game. Thankfully we got to a few games in person, but otherwise she was glued to the radio.
She had favourite songs and hymns, including “It is Well with my Soul,” which she sang continually when her mother died. Once Mom and I were part of a Lenten interdenominational service when we were still part of the choir. There was a power failure and the five assembled choirs were trying to make do with candlelight. We had to walk through several hallways before we approached the sanctuary, and Mom insisted on singing “Jesus bids us shine.” I was very embarrassed at the time, but she had the right idea. We ARE called to shine in the dark places and not be afraid of those who try to shut our faith in Jesus down. Mom’s wisdom shines out at the funniest times. I still hear her voice in my head guiding me at times.
Mom’s heart’s desire was often to the welfare of Dad, Tara and myself, even though Daddy ended up being Mom’s caretaker many times – especially during the last few years. Otherwise, she needed the escape of travel and her intense desire to capture a moment of beauty in her art, or to express a spiritual question visually. She was a creative, and worked to instill that in Tara and myself. Her poetry expressed her love of travel, her questions in faith and the love of her family. I already miss the sound of her voice, which all of us will remember, whether she was singing, telling stories, or calling for Steve. And so, in her heart, she was still singing. I heard a beautiful whisper from God’s Holy Spirit shortly before she passed. I heard that “Carol Sweetly Carol” was singing to Jesus. I glimpsed a sweet impression of her singing with an expression of pure joy. Mom was given a nickname of Carol Sweetly Carol by another Humber Valley member and somehow that stuck. But at times, we often only saw the pain and reactions that come through living with it. Thankfully now Mom no longer knows pain. We can rejoice in where she is – on a great adventure. Jesus brought her to heaven and if we are willing, he can bring a taste of that to us, while we are missing Carol. We are never far from God’s love in Christ. (Say yes and let him carry you too). Thank you for letting me share, and may you receive God’s comfort as you remember my Mom, Tara’s mom, Steve’s wife – Carol Eileen Zachar. She made her life count.
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Tony and Laurie-Ann Copple (usually Laurie-Ann)
L-A's devotional blog
TONY'S DEVOTIONAL BLOG
Tony's south african journal
TONY'S POST MISSION JOURNAL