Wednesday, March 25, 2009

party for 'beppe'

On Sunday morning around 3 a.m., Christine Voetberg, 97 years of age left her body for another time and place. She was the grandmother to my wife Kathy, and she was the great-grandmother to my three kids. We celebrate her life! Here is a conversation that took place between Kathy & Jaden (age 6) on Sunday night. Jaden: Mom, do I have school tomorrow (He usually asks the same question every night). Me: Yes, you do. Long pause, followed by a frustrated voice. Jaden: uhhh, why do I have to miss school on Thursday!! (Pause) For Beppe’s party!! Unfortunately, I immediately tried to tell him that it was a funeral we were going to, not Beppe’s party. As I was awkwardly trying to explain it, it sounded all wrong. Me: You’re right Jaden, it will be like a party. What are we going to celebrate? Jaden: Beppe Then he asked all kinds of questions about when we had to be there and if he could still go to school for awhile. In typical Jaden style, the burial fascinated him. Here are a few more of his questions? Where are we going to put her? What’s a cemetery? How is the world do they dig that huge hole? How do they put her in that hole? I know I’m asking a lot of questions, but who makes the equipment that digs the hole and puts her in it? What will her body look like? Anna also ended up in the conversation. In the end, we all agreed that Thursday would indeed be going to Beppe’s party to celebrate her, and that she is with Jesus. I think Jaden will be quite observant at the burial. See ya Thursday for the party, Kathy


Rich and Patsy said...

Randy and Kathy,
Thanks for sharing your story of Beppe's party. So true. I tried to post the following on online condolences but it wouldn't work. Then I found your blog and thought, "Well, I can post the message there and ask them to pass it along to the family." Would you please do that? Thank you. May the Lord bless you all as you celebrate and say goodbye to Beppe!

Dear family of Beppe,
We lived upstairs in your old family farmhouse while I attended Calvin Seminary from 1990 to 1993. Your Mom was so sweet to us. She was Beppe to us and our four children. We visited back and forth often and it was not unusual for us to open the door and find a plate of freshly baked cookies or a raisin bread. We enjoyed conversing in English, throwing in the odd Dutch saying. We visited her last fall in her new (retirement) home and though she was failing a little she still inspired us with her cheerful attitude and contagious laughter. On the day that her grandson (Michael, I believe it was; Bob's son) passed away, I greeted her in the driveway and said, "Beppe, today must have been hard. How are you?" And she replied with customary faith and joy, "I'm good! God's people are always good. We have our hills and valleys but we're always good." I have never forgotten that comment or that faith she displayed with such grace in a time of adversity. I pray that you as a family will also be able to experience the grace and peace of the Lord who is with us in the hills and valleys. I said in a recent a sermon about her, "In my seminary years, I learned a lot of good things from professors, but I learned more about being a child of God from 'Beppe,' learned more about true faith in Christ from her than from anyone else in my time in seminary." I mean that. Beppe has left a legacy in many people's hearts. Our children cherished her in those years and she loved them like they were her own grandkids. I'm not sure how many chocolate kisses they consumed but she had a good supply! May the grace and peace of God fill you all as you say goodbye to her and live without her. She's HOME! Praise the Lord for His awesome salvation. (sorry for the little sermon:)--preachers!!) with our love and sincerest sympathy,
Rich & Patsy deLange
Rachel, Adrian, Erik and Jessica
Aylmer, Ontario, Canada.

randy buist said...

Honored to pass this along!

randy buist said...

Rich & Patsy,

Family is now asking for your email address? Mine is