of Ellen’s blogging friends from around the world. I hope I can convey their thoughts to you in a meaningful manner.
A short explanation of a blog would be a:
Blog is short for weblog. A weblog is a journal (or newsletter) that is frequently updated and intended for general public consumption. Blogs generally represent the personality of the author or the Web site.
I have received so many messages from her blogging friends this last week, and they all wish me well, and assure me they will be the wind on my back while I am speaking, and reflecting their thoughts of this wonderful woman.
Many of her friends have been so kind to give me some direction where to go with this. Her blogger friend Susan summed it all up in a email to me, and this is how she described it:
For people who are not part of the Blog community, it may be difficult for them to conceive the depth of feeling and care that Bloggers develop for each other. The Blogesphere, as it is affectionately referred to by those involved, is a network of people from around the world, that otherwise would never have had the opportunity to know each other. These relationships are very real and the support and encouragement amongst this huge group of friends is deep and genuine.
When fellow Bloggers are in crisis of any sort, word goes out on the web and friends come to leave offers of prayer and kind words on their blog. She went on to say Ellen was an inspiration to her during her nieces trying battle with Cancer last summer. She said, Ellen was a huge support, though she herself was battling the same demon. Perhaps her own suffering made her more understanding of what other cancer fighters were going through. Instead of being bitter or resentful of her condition, she was graceful and courageous, she used that understanding to encourage others and their families through similar times.
I would like to thank all the bloggers who took the time to write me and give their thoughts. I won’t have time to put all your thoughts in this eulogy, but I will try to do a short version of it:
Brian – from Oklahoma – a fellow teacher
Here in Oklahoma we refer to people like Ellen as someone who had “her head screwed on straight”. She had morals and values, a sense of right and wrong, common sense, and sense of perspective. She had a relationship with her husband that she treasured. She fought valiantly, exhibiting a sense of grace and courage that many of us can aspire to. Godspeed my friend.
Sally..in somewhere USA:
Ellen’s generosity of spirit, her willingness to help others whether she met them in person or not; her compassion when she thought we were hurting. I will never forget the many, many hours she spent cross-stitching a beautiful piece or art she made for me at one of my weakest moments. She was always trying to make other feel better even in her own time of pain and crisis.
Who was a blogger friend from Holland, from where her parents originated.
Some of his thoughts were when he and Ellen would chat on “Live Messenger,” and he would communicate in Dutch and she in English. He said “Such a chat party could take sometimes more than an hour or more because we had so much pleasure in “talking” this way with each other. She felt a strong link with this country and sometime almost became “Yankerd”…(cryer) because she had found a Dutch contact.
Goodbye Ellen, look down now and then, bless each of us who love you so much with good memories of a wonderful friend.
Curtis and Ellen kept me believing that true love exists. I am not saying this lightly. I had given up on ever finding anyone but their blogs kept me believing that it would happen for me too. “And it did.” Ellen is one of the world’s most beautiful people. I am so honoured that I have had the opportunity of know her through blogging.
A mother of a student Ellen taught in school.
I began reading her blog before she had cancer. I read all her delightful stories of her youth and adventures as a high school teacher. I read about her dear husband and the loving marriage they had. I was lucky enough to meet her twice. Once when my dad was having treatment for cancer, and then when she was in the hospital. Ellen has appreciated the wonder and joys of this life more that some people do in a lifetime. It is an honour to be counted a friend and I will never forget you.
Who called Ellen “puppycakes”, and was a member of her cancer support group for 5 years. Ellen wrote short stories on their site, which they encouraged her to get published. We all loved her, she said. She gave her support to everyone. She will be missed by us all.
We have lost a wonderful member of the blogging community. Ellen inspired me with her warmth, her giving ways, her sense of humour and her wonderful ways with words.
I knew Curtis first, then got to know Ellen and love Ellen also through blogging. What I remember most is her enthusiasm for decorating for Christmas. She would be so excited to bring everything out and would share pictures of their “Magic Christmas Tree.” Then after Christmas she would wonder if maybe it was her last time putting away the decorations. I’d be thrilled when another Christmas came and she could start over again.
The love between Ellen and Curtis was beyond comparison.
People who don’t blog don’t understand how close a community we’ve become. They don’t understand when we speak of each other as friends.
Daughter of Ellen’s brother Lawrence.
Despite the problems she had, she remained supportive and enquired about how YOU were doing. I had medical problems and when I last saw her she was asking how I was doing. She even managed to give me some support and advise as how to handle it. I am glad my aunt had such a huge support network.
Ellen and I began corresponding via email. Ellen had been diagnosed with renal cell (kidney) cancer in July 2001, at the time we began corresponding, her cancer was in remission, but in November 2004 it was found to have metastasized.
Ellen was keenly interested in the people she came into contact with, and there was always a special bond between her and my son Steven. The cancer was a point of shared experience between them, but not the main point, neither of them have ever been defined by their disease. Both of them share great compassion and a strong love of nature and wildlife.
In 2005 we were planning Steven's Make A Wish trip to see the polar bears in Churchill, Manitoba and our flight was arriving in Winnipeg. Ellen lived in Winnipeg and we made arrangements to meet.
Bears On Broadway is an annual display in Winnipeg, different organizations paint lifesize polar bears and they are displayed on the main street and around town. Ellen had written to Steven about it several months in advance of our trip there.
The bears are put away for the winter, and it turned out they would be put away about two weeks before we were due to arrive for Steven's Make A Wish trip.
Ellen was meeting with her financial planner and when she mentioned that Steven would be coming to Winnipeg to begin his Make A Wish trip, he said it would be possible to arrange for Steven to see the bears in their winter storage area. It was a magical day, thanks to Ellen and her financial planner and Doneta who rose to the occasion in short order and got us taken care of after our luggage failed to arrive in time for our trip to the arctic.
This last December I got together a few friends of Ellen's, those I could find email addresses for and who responded to me, and together we folded over 1000 origami cranes for her. The cranes represented our appreciation of her friendship and our prayers that she could overcome her illness.
She left before any of us were ready for her to go, but she leaves behind her a legacy of compassion and love.
Two and a half years ago, Ellen wrote:
I have conducted my daily life with two questions in mind: What would Jesus do? And what will people have to say about me after I'm gone? For it is my desire to leave behind as many positive marks, no matter how minute. This has especially shaped me as a teacher, a vocation whose responsibilities I took very seriously. Little did I know that, at the age of fifty, I would be prematurely faced with the reality of my own mortality. I guess you could say I'm glad I didn't wait until the last minute to put my house in order.
What first drew me to Ellen was her sense of humour, all medical issues aside. She was quick, and never missed a beat. We had a lot of laughs over the years, personally I think she was laughing or cringing at my grammar and my spelling, it was hard writing a blog with a “teacher” reading it! And she was a pretty good rapper too, I bet you didn’t know that! Well, I don’t want to be telling tales out of school, so I will leave that alone. I will miss her so very much.