I haven't been blogging much the past few months. Life has been busy as usual, but it has also been difficult as I was anticipating the loss of one of my dearest friends. Beverly passed away last Tuesday, November 3rd after a 9-month battle with gastric cancer. The past few weeks have been spent in earnest prayer for her and her family and coordinating their needs with our local community. I was blessed to spend a few hours with her a few days before she died, which will be in my heart forever. I was also honored to be asked to share a little bit about her life at the Visitation and Rosary at the church last night, which I have shared below. Today was the funeral mass, which was beautiful and was a standing-room only crowd in the huge church. There were so many people at the reception, you could hardly walk through the gym, and I didn't get to say hello to severalold friends who were there. We have many similar friends in our homeschooling, Catholic, and Aggie communities and it was lovely to see all of these beautiful faces, although I wish it was for a different occasion. Beverly touched many, many people's lives and it was a great honor to be her friend. I miss her so much.
Hello, my name is Blair and I’m a close friend of Beverly and the Kloesel family, a fellow homeschool mom of five, fellow Aggie, godmother of precious Cecilia, and I consider Beverly like one of my big sisters and mentors in motherhood. As I’ve been talking to friends and reading Facebook reflections the past week, there are a few thoughts from fellow moms that really struck me as a true reflection of Beverly’s life.
“Lord, let me live until I die.” A friend shared this quote the other day and it’s truly an attitude that Beverly personified, even before her cancer diagnosis. Beverly seemed to live about three lifetimes in her one lifetime! I’m not sure if she ever slept! (Did you get those emails at 2am? Did you know she pulled all-nighters well into her 40s?) She truly seized the day and lived life to the fullest. She never turned down an opportunity to learn or grow in faith with her children. She took them to daily mass often and participated in many church ministries. She and Gordon traveled with them to special masses and church events, and they made every holiday, every birthday, and every church holy day a special one with beautiful family traditions. They’ve taught their children to pray, to serve God, to follow the saints, and to live virtuous lives, and we’ve all experienced the fruits of this labor. How many of us have received a thank-you card from them? How many of us have had a Kloesel child approach us with a genuine hello and how we are doing? How many of us received meals when we were ill or had a new baby? She was even first to sign up to deliver a meal right after her cancer diagnosis! Their family has always been there with a smile, with a prayer when we were hurting, or a special note to let us know their family was thinking of us. Beverly truly lived until she died, and I hope I can do the same.
“The Kloesels are like a professional family.” Other moms were commenting on how beautiful and admirable the Kloesel family photos have always been. They are all so poised and beautiful! Most of us know those Christmas card photos, because I think the family sends them to about 500 people every Christmas! Coordinating clothes, beautiful poses, Penny the dog included. But these photos were only a snapshot of their home life which often seemed even more “professional.” She helped create such a beautiful little “domestic church” for her family. We’d come over for a quick visit, but soon after arriving, the children would quickly set the table and we were welcomed into a beautiful meal. Maybe she’d ask if we’d like to come over for some small holiday or holy day activity, and we’d arrive to find decorations, crafts, food, songs, and an evening of activities planned for the children. I hope we can continue this beautiful legacy of family meals and celebrating church holy days with our children and friends the way she did. Beverly was truly a professional mom!
“Our ultimate cheerleader.” Beverly was the ultimate fan of her children’s sports teams. Even to the end, she was putting together gifts and trinkets to give to their teammates. When she first arrived home in the ambulance to begin hospice care, she got a text message from her sister saying that the score at Johanna’s volleyball game was tied at 11-11. She said, “Go get me a blue shirt and some pants. We are going to the game!” And she did. What a great memory of her last outing with the family. Beverly also encouraged the children in their academics and taught them all in their homeschool classroom. The family shared that after she passed on Tuesday, sweet Cecilia said “She taught me how to read.” And then the other children began discussing that “100 Easy Lessons” reading book, or their version “100 Not So Easy Lessons!” She always challenged the children to stay on top of their schoolwork, and to be successful students, and we know that they are and they will continue to strive to be the best they can be. I hope that I can be as big of an encourager and cheerleader for my own children, in their activities, in their academics, and in their lives. And I also hope Beverly will pray and cheer us all onto Heaven, just like she cheered for and encouraged us when she was with us on earth.
“Beverly was a model of friendship.” Friend after friend was sharing about how Beverly was the one who first welcomed them and made them feel like an important part of our homeschooling group, and I’m sure she did the same thing with all the other many groups in which she was involved. Her ever-present smile and warm words made us feel loved and welcomed, and she always inquired about our day, our children, or our sick or struggling family members. She was a true friend through and through, a model of friendship for us to emulate. As we reflect on the beautiful life of our friend, we pray for her soul, and we also trust in the mercy of God that she will be with all the saints and angels in Heaven. As we ask those saints in heaven to pray to God for us, I hope that Beverly will be able to pray for all of us too, as we aim to be as good of a friend to others as she was to us.