Tag Archives: death

My first birthday without my mother

I have a birthday this week. It’s my first birthday without my mother.img_0032

I’m not asking for “happy birthdays” or even remarks about “how good I look for my age.” I’m just trying to settle into a new decade (yuk!) and lean into who I am and who I’ve become. I’m desperately trying to move forward. Be proactive. Embrace a new era. But I feel as if my feet are sinking into a muddy pit, and if I step forward, I may sink further. And I will certainly lose my shoes.

There’s a new me ahead. The problem is I’m not sure I will like her.

And to make the week a tad more complicated, in seven days, I will also “celebrate” my parents’ birthdays. They were both born on the same day–Oct. 31–and they are now both gone from this life. Continue reading


Barbara Ann (Bandy) Walley, born Oct. 31, 1937, passed into the glory of her Heavenly Father on July 8, 2016, at the age of 78. She was preceded in death by her husband Lt. Commander Oliver Bruce Walley, on Feb. 11, 1969, and her parents John H. Bandy and Frances (Bisdee) Bandy. She leaves behind a loving family: son Michael Walley and daughter Susan (Walley) Schlesman, daughter-in-law Diana Walley, son-in-law Shane Schlesman, IMG_3708and 5 grandchildren: Bruce Schlesman, Brent Schlesman, Brady Schlesman, Kate Walley, and Caroline Walley; she also leaves her brother John Bandy, sister-in-law Martha Bandy, and 3 nephews and their families. On her husband’s side of the family, Barbara is survived by her sister-in-law Darleen Hozie, 9 nieces and nephews and their spouses, children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Her love and devotion to her family has been admired by everyone who knew her.

Barbara earned a B.A. in English from Northern Illinois University and a M.A. from University of Illinois. She was married to Bruce Walley on June 10, 1961. Barbara accepted Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior shortly after, and has been a devout follower of Christ throughout her life. Her faith proved an important support when her husband Bruce was killed while in the navy reserves on Feb. 11, 1969.
For 43 years, Barbara served in the field of education as a high school English teacher, aIMG_2092 college professor, and an English department head. She built 2 high school libraries and served as librarian at both. Her two favorite schools (with longest duration) were Pillsbury Baptist Bible College and Calvary Baptist School. She taught students in Illinois, Connecticut, Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Carolina, and Pennsylvania. Barbara is known by thousands of her students as being intelligent, compassionate, funny, and dedicated to inspiring excellence. Throughout the years, hundreds of students have kept in touch with her and thanked her for the difference she made in their lives both academically and personally. Barbara has also filled many volunteer roles during her church life, like deaconess, Sunday school teacher, kitchen staff, and camp counselor; she was happy to do whatever needed to be done. But most of her labor went on without any applause or attention. She was a neighbor, friend, confidante, and servant. She inspired people to greatness, and she included them in whatever she was doing.
IMG_3667She enjoyed playing games, being outdoors, reading, buying books, refinishing furniture, learning history, camping, baking cookies, and traveling. She loved attending church and reading the Bible, which she faithfully memorized. She was always teaching–about life, love, and faith. She put everyone–most of all, her children–before herself. She will be greatly missed, but her legacy of faith will live on through her children, grandchildren and the countless lives that she’s touched along the way.

To accommodate her wide circle of friends and family, her children are hosting 2 memorial services: Wed., JIMG_1728uly 13 at 2 pm at First Presbyterian Church of Boulder, CO, and Sat., July 30 at Calvary Baptist Church in Lansdale, PA at 10 am. She is being buried at Oak Ridge Cemetery of Sandwich, IL, alongside her husband.

Getting ready for a loved one to die

I’m not ready.

It’s one the first things I said, sobbing, when I found out that my mom, who’s had dementiaIMG_3688

for about 10 years, had suddenly experienced a debilitating stroke. I was in the process of planning to move her to a lovely facility, just a one-minute drive from my house. I was so excited! I wanted to spend her remaining years giving care, spending time, and enjoying her, even though she is no longer the same mother I have known throughout my lifetime. Her condition had already digressed enough that I wasn’t afraid to move her to a new location, so I set the wheels in motion. While my brother and his family have done an amazing job caring for her, I couldn’t wait for my turn.

But now she’s not moving anywhere, except into heaven’s bliss. That’s a way better move. But it’s still hard to accept. I want more, now.

None of us feel ready for eternity, even though God created us for it. Our earthly lives are a race against time, and time always runs out before we can win the race. At least that’s how it feels. Continue reading