Author: angiem, 10 18th, 2011

A good woman will be laid to rest at midday. A loving mother, an attentive wife and a caring friend. I am saddened at this unnecessary death. I wonder what drove her out into the cold, wet, Pacific Northwest woods, dressed only in a housecoat, flip flops on her feet. I wonder at the despair she must have felt. At the terror she had attempted to flee. I wonder if there’s someway, anyway, anyone could have intervened.

Speculations abound. But I don’t like the words that are said just for the sake of feeding that vicious, hungry rumor mouth. Words about mental illness. And the other ones, that she had wanted to end her life. I don’t like how her memory is sullied with each one. I don’t want these ugly, unfounded accusations to be the last thing her children remember of her. I want these words and the people saying them to stop.

I’m thinking of her children. Of how unmoored and uprooted they must feel. How lost. How alone. There’s a tightness in my chest. A lump in my throat I can’t seem to swallow past. My heart wants to wrap itself around theirs and not let go. I pray that they will always remember her love. Her smile. Her words of wisdom. Her recipes. The songs she sang to them, and the prayers she whispered over their sleeping heads. I pray that they’ll remember her courage. Her kindness. Her faith.

If you have a moment, dear friends, whisper a prayer for the children, and think of them in the days ahead.


42 Responses to “farewell”

  1. Geta Werner Says:

    I would love to say just a few words! It makes me sad, no it makes me sick to hear all this vicious gossip about this lady that has passed away, how she has ended her life, or how she was not normal in the head! Why do people have to make up such horrible story’s? Even in tragedy gossip spreads like wild fire. Where is the compassion for the broken heart?

  2. Ava Says:

    Oh my dear God. I don’t know what to say. Bless these children comfort them and give them peace.

    Angie I saw this on the news and couldn’t put it out of my head. What’s the latest on it?

  3. angiem Says:

    Geta - I don’t know. But I am just as sickened by all the nasty gossip. Some people have no respect or compassion for those suffering.

    Ava - There was no foul play. She died of hypothermia.

  4. Julie Says:

    Hi Angie
    I haven’t heard any of this news.. maybe it hasn’t hit my shores yet.. but all I can think of is that these children have lost their mother.. It doesn’t really matter how to them.. they will still be feeling lost and engulfed in sadness irrespective of the cause. Although as you say.. nasty rumours may only make their grief worse..

    Just yesterday I read on an aussie blog of a young mother losing her life and the children left behind.. I know this feeling,.. their world has turned upside.

    I’ll say a little prayer for all these motherless children.. xxx Julie

  5. Jessica Nelson Says:

    That’s horribly sad. Thinking about the children makes me want to cry. Praying…

  6. Victoria @ Hibiscus Bloem Says:

    How very very sad. Thinking about her children and their great grief.

    And… yes we are still heading your way! First for a school viewing trip next week! Then the final move should be mid-December. Excited beyond belief that we’ll be in PDX in a few days.

  7. Janna Qualman Says:

    Oh, I’m so sorry. What a difficult thing to go through. No one (especially those kids) should have to grasp what all of this means.

  8. Elisabeth Stewart Says:

    When such a choice is made – if, indeed, it was a choice – others cannot begin to comprehend the reasons, the depths of despair. It’s even more incomprehensible for children.
    My prayers are with them – and with their mother.

  9. SJ Says:

    Your writing always gives me the shivers. It’s so beautiful.

  10. Joyce Says:

    My heart and prayers go out to her children and everyone she has touched with her kindness. I hope the ones with loose tongues will take a moment to remember her children and to think if the shoe was on the other foot how they would want to be remembered. I’m sorry my friend. Big hugs… xo

  11. Mato Says:

    I knew her.. Truth is she was depressed and her husband was/is abusive to her and her kids.

  12. Mary Moon Says:

    Maybe she did want to end her life. I do not think that this is reason for shame. I think it is reason for huge sadness. For her, for her family. For all.

  13. Stephanie @ La Dolce Vita Says:

    Angie, I am so sorry, both for the loss of your friend and the ugly speculation. We had a similar situation here a few years ago, which fortunately had a happier ending, and yet people still disparage this poor girl. It is so sad. I will definitely say a prayer for her and her children.

  14. angiem Says:

    Julie - I can’t begin to fathom what the children are going through, but some are young and what they hear still makes a huge impact.

    Jessica - Thank you.

    Victoria - Thank you.
    If you have time for coffee or lunch when you’re in town next week, send me a message. Would love to see you!

    Janna - I know.

    Elizabeth - Yes.

    SJ - You are too kind.

    Joyce - Thank you. Loose tongues never seem to put themselves in the lace of those suffering.

    Mato - I am so sorry for your loss. I did not know her personally, and as such, I do not know what she went through in her daily life. If her husband was abusive then I am appalled that no one reached out to her.

    Ms. Moon - Huge sadness indeed. But regardless, shame follows, we are human after all, words said can never be unsaid, and our reaction to them depends so much on our religious upbringing, and what we believe to be right.

    Stephanie - I did not know her personally. She belonged to the same church as my mom, and since the community is small enough, the ugly talk has reached me too.

  15. Susan Tiner Says:

    What a sad story, and yes, I will think of the children and include them in my prayers.

  16. kelleyn Says:

    Sorry for your loss. I will say a prayer that everyone will find peace in the situation..

  17. cathi Says:

    Sending a prayer for her and the children. What a tragic loss! xxoo

  18. Susan Says:

    These are horrible situations & no one really knows what went on in someone’s mind. That much I do know.

  19. Maria Says:

    I saw your post on Facebook. I want to comment that you are brave to write what you write. I know you dont know this woman in person and I think it’s admirable that you tell the people to stop with the gossips. I knew this lady. She was sweet and encouraging. She say beautiful poetry. Her children will miss her. I am praying for them. I am praying also that people in community don’t use her death to push their own agendas. The majority of the community is suffering along with her family.
    Thank you for this beautiful writing to remind us all to cherish the good memories we have.

  20. Jena Says:

    My heart goes to the children. God bless them and comfort them through this horrible time. I am saddened that there are so many busybodies with nothing better to do.

  21. Char Says:

    I am praying for her children also. If she was suffering she is now at peace. What went through her mind is anybody’s guess. The tragedy is that she was part of a community and no one did a single thing to stop this useless death. If there was physical, emotional, or verbal abuse and those closest to her knew I wonder why they didn’t step in. I know you didn’t know her personally, or of her, before this took place. I know you enough by now from reading your blog to know how passionate you are about women and family issues.
    God bless you for that. Trust me, there will be a lot of friends of hers or so called friends who will have a violent reaction to what you say. They are the ones abetting the rumors and they won’t stand that someone who didn’t know her had the guts to write and tell it like it is. I know you are close to the community so be prepared for the backlash.

  22. angiem Says:

    Susan - Yes.

    Kelleyn - I pray the same for her family.

    Cathi - Very tragic.

    Susan - Isn’t that the truth. I can’t begin to imagine.

    Maria - Thanks for your comment. And thanks for giving us a glimpse into her character. I would hope that no one uses this tragedy to further their own cause. Shame on them if they do.

    Jena - God bless the children.

    Char - Hm. I have already had negative input from readers who believe I shouldn’t stick my nose where it doesn’t belong. Readers who claim to have been her friend. I say, bring it on. This isn’t about them.

  23. Adina Says:

    I only knew of her from pictures in the news, but regardless, I am deeply saddened by the loss the children are experiencing. People who gossip about her need to stop pretending they know everything and that they have all the answers. They know squat. If they really knew what was going on for sure, then shame on them for not stepping up and helping this poor woman. If her husband abused her, physically or emotionally, then shame on those who gossip about it but didn’t have the guts to do something to help her and her children out. If she was depressed, then shame on the ones that gossip about it now, but didn’t offer a kind word and help when she needed it. It’s sad that we, as human beings, find it so easy to come up with reasons to blame after the fact, but refuse to accept and see when someone is hurting and suffering. These children lost their mother, and my heart and prayers go out to them. God wrap his loving arms around them, give them strength and show them that they are not alone.

  24. angiem Says:

    Adina - Amen!

  25. Ani Says:

    I agree with Adina! I knew sora Lidiya only from seeing her sitting on the women’s side in church… She was always smiling… always praying fervently and I knew one thing for sure… she loved her children passionately… I now know from her children that she also loved the nature very much and High Rocks was a hiking spot that her and her son would frequent. We will never have answers for all the unanswered questions… it’s time to set aside speculations and PRAY… SUPPORT… and ENCOURAGE… these 9 very beautiful and smart and talented children! They need our prayers and support now more than ever… God bless the Russu family!

  26. angiem Says:

    Ani - I agree. My prayers are with them.

  27. Sofie Says:

    Truly very sad. We don’t know what her true intentions were - did she go out there to clear her head and was afterwards unable to find her way back? or was it truly her intent to not return? Which leads to the question of: why and how did it get to that point? Truth is, we all have worries, stresses, disappointments that come up - this is part of life. The thing I wonder about is - how is it that she felt she had no one to turn to in her time of need? Especially being involved in such a large community. Sadly, the answer is very easy to find. It lies clearly before us. Although she attended several weekly services, I wonder how many of the other women took the time to get to know her, and to hear her troubles. I am sure that many asked a superficial “How are you?” only to get in return a superficial “Fine”….. but did anyone ever take the time to truly ask “How are you, really?” and share in her sorrows with her, and help carry her burdens, simply by listening. We get so busy in our daily lives, busy with our “businesses”, busy with busyness. There is a great need for true fellowship, time spent in sincere care for others around us. May we learn from this tragedy, and attempt to break this cycle. I urge all who read this to make time for someone who you maybe haven’t paid much attention to lately…they may need someone who is willing to help carry their burden, and it might be you who makes the difference.

  28. Ani Says:

    Thank you Sofie for your very wise response… I completely agree… We all get so “busy with busyness” that we neglect what’s really important, caring for one another and listening to each others needs and offering a kind word of support and encouragement. 1. Thessalonians 5:11 says “Therefore encourage each other and build each other up”… Other good reads… 1 Corinthians 12:26 and Hebrews 10:24-25… Let’s all make it a point to care more about those around us… to build each other up.

  29. angiem Says:

    Sofie - I agree wholeheartedly with your reply. We need to break this cycle. We need to make time for each other. Real time. Thank you.

  30. Lili Says:

    Hi Angie I don’t know what to say this is a very sad time for the whole community. What I know is that your doing a good thing calling an end to the ugly gossips. The children are innocent and they should remember their mama in a good way. She loved them very much… God bless you for thinking of her children. God bless you for having guts to tell people to stop gossiping.

  31. Elena Says:

    as christians we are called to judge what’s right from what’s wrong. we aren’t called to gossip. theres a big differenc between judging and gossiping and many dont seem to tell apart one thing from the other. we all need to remember to act with kindness to the orphans in our midst and be careful what we say because our words have the power to hurt. we should use them to heal.

  32. Gina Says:

    Hi Angie!!! I don’t think you remember me. You used to be our interpreter when we came to the US 20 years ago. You were in college and drove a red sports car… I used to think it was the coolest car on the planet! I remember how nice you were to us, me especially and my mom. Our dad abused us and I think you knew. You were so kind and sweet to my mother and me. Always going out of your way even at church to come and give us hugs and talk to us. He abused all of my brothers and me, but our mom got the worst of it. He died no long ago and what a relief that was. When I was a kid I used to pray to God every night to take my dad away. My mom stayed with him because of us and because of the church. She tried confiding in the women there but they told her that she needed to be a better Christian and a better wife, and later on my mother cried and said that everyone in the church knew about her situation and talked about her. No one really wanted to be her friend. It was like she had leprosy. I wanted to yell in their faces that she was a better Christian than they were. Because she was. And she is. And she prayed a whole lot. And me and my brothers did too.
    I don’t mean to write so much. What I wanted to say is that I don’t know this woman or her children or what they went through. I don’t know if there was abuse as some of the people here say. I left church the day I turned 15. I ran away from home and went to live with my mother’s sister who hated Christians. Sorry I keep going off the subject. I wish -what good is it? The past is long gone now- but I nevertheless wish there was someone like you then: a Christian woman who admitted to her weaknesses and her struggles but at the same time took the side of the weak and was brave enough to tell the babblers - what I call gossipers- to stop the rumor spreading and show compassion.
    I’m slowly making my way back to the fold of the church. It’s a daily struggle but I’m so lost without God’s presence in my life. Thank you for being you! Thank you for being brave! Thank you for reminding Christians that support, encouragement, and prayer is what the world’s suffering need.
    My heart goes out to these children. I don’t know how many they are or their ages but that doesn’t matter. I pray that they find peace and that they will always remember their mother’s love for them. God bless you Angie. This talent you have and your kind heart, use them wisely, for they are really special. They are a blessing for many.

  33. angiem Says:

    Lili- Hi. Thanks for your blessings.

    Elena - Too true. Words have the power to hurt or heal.

    Gina - Wow! It’s been so long since I worked as an interpreter. Your name doesn’t ring a bell. Did you go by another?
    I’m so sorry about your abusive childhood and negative church experience. I’m so sorry your mother had no one to talk to. I want you to know that those women were not the true representatives of the sisterhood. There are many who are truly sincere and kind and loving. If you need to talk to anyone, or to have someone pray with you, I’d be happy to put you in touch. Drop me an email and I’ll respond right away.

  34. Francesca Says:

    it is a tragedy, whichever way you look at it.

  35. Anonymous Says:

    As a little girl, I always admired how my father treated my mother. I dreamed that one day I will be married to a man that had the same characteristics as he had. Always loved and respected her tremendously. Those were my prayers almost every night. Many years past and my dad was always the same, he never changed. He was a profit in his household, a father, provider, and always showed my family love! Eventually I got married to a man that I thought he had my fathers values and morals. He made me believe that he was good for me, and promised me unrealistic promises that he did not keep. Shortly after I married him, he was a completely different person. He treated me very badly, harsh belittling words towards me were his top priority. Eventually the physical abuse was part of our lives. My whole world crumbled in a million pieces. I could not believe that this was happening to me. I thought I was doing the right thing before marriage, by staying faithful to God, and to be punished in such a way, baffled me. It was a new world to me, not seeing this in my parents life together, I did not know what to do. I never felt so alone and lost. I felt ashamed to expose my life to my family or even my friends. As the years went by, it became harder and instead of changing for the better it was worse, because by then kids were involved. My children were small but they still witnessed the abuse. Out of everything, that broke my heart the most. Still keeping the thought of my life at home with my parents. It was devastating for me to raise my kids in such an environment. Finally after 7 years of torture in many forms of abuse, I decided to take it in my own hands and end this poisonous marriage. It was the best decision I ever made for me and my kids. I often would tell my parents, if I stay in this much longer, you will find me in a mental institute or dead. I reached out to the church many times, and they would read me verses that pertain to how a wife needs to be with her husband. Very rarely would they addresses the roles of a husband. There was no relief, in fact when we would talk to them, my husband (at the time) would feel the need to apologize publicly to show them that he is trying to change. Only I know what happened after they left our home. My heart goes out to all these precious women that are trying to raise a family and they are hindered by an unsupported abusive husband. Support and loving words of encouragement is so necessary when you are so desperate to get help. I want to tell you all that there is a way out. You are not given this cross to carry. The Lord Jesus clearly writes in the scripture the roles of a husband and a wife. No where does it say to discipline your wife with abuse. For me personally, since I made the decision to end my marriage, I am closer to God, a better mother to my children, a loving friend, and overall have a healthy mindset towards life. Gina, I don’t know who you are, but when I read your Post You gave me chills. My heart goes out to your Mom and your family. I hope you have renewed strength, and your experiences did not hinder your present and your future. God bless you! Angie Thank you for bringing awareness to this sensitive subject!

  36. Gina Says:

    Hi Anonymous! Believe it or not I had tears run down my face reading your comment. My mom suffered so much mental anguish that I thought for sure she would end up in an institution. Everything you wrote about, I witnessed happening between my parents except my mom leaving my dad. She couldn’t do that no matter how many times we begged her. She used to say that if she was to die at his hands then that was the way she was supposed to go.
    Angie I will send you an email with my real name. I guess I still feel I need to protect my mom. Have a great weekend!!!

  37. angiem Says:

    Anonymous - That was so brave of you to share. I am glad you got out when you did and I’m sure it wasn’t an easy choice to make, particularly in the church community. Sometimes I wonder how the mothers and fathers of the abused women can stand by and not take action into their own hands. I’m glad your parents supported your decision, even if it they probably put their ‘reputation’ at stake within the church community.

    Gina - I got your email. I do remember you and your mom. She used to insist on paying me for gas, saying that it was the least she could do to show appreciation for my help.

  38. angiem Says:

    I do want to assert, once again, that no one here knows what happened in the case of the lady I posted about. My intention for this post, was to remind everyone to act with kindness, compassion and respect towards the memory her children have of her, and not to cloud those memories with any speculations and unfounded gossip. Thanks.

  39. laura Says:

    Hello, my sweet friend. Thinking of you tonight, missing your stories. Praying for these little ones. Love to you.

  40. Simona Says:

    Angie first I would like to applaud you for this blog! It is clear by the content of the posting that besides having the gift of writing and designing you have the gift of advocavy, even though it may be subtle due to the gravity of the events, the responses you triggered … are valuable. I was deeply sorry to find out about the tragic passing of the one who was a mother of nine and a wife and the great loss that her family experienced! I learn in the last years that even though I have experienced the loss of my mother when I was young, my experience was very personal and could not be used as a standard. Grieving is a personal and highly individual experience: it includes each personality style, life experiences, faith and the nature of the loss but with God’s grace in time the grief will be replaced by memories. Hopefully in time they will remember not only that she died but that she lived … I hope that the support they are getting will not dry up and that they will find people who can trust and help them heal, show them kindness and understanding, and unconditional love…will not pitty them but celebrate them for who they are…

    Reading the responses some issues were brought forward and with your permission I want to touch them briefly. I loved some of them …they greatly moved me:
    (27) Sofie’s response was so spot on and raising a valid question: Why was she so alone and unable to turn to anyone? …not even a women’s shelter?!!!
    (32) Gina and (36) Anonymous your responses were so personal and deep…Nobody wants to talk from personal experience about ‘abusive relationships’ yet your bravery and selflessness sheds light on battered women issues to ohters that are denying that something like this exists. It will take people that experienced abuse first hand to break the mental cycle that so many women find themselves wrapped into ‘submission’ and ready to endure things that are not right from a biblical point of view as well as legal… If the abusers are in the Church, women need to speak up and force the leaders to take a position … would a Christian leader encourage abuse which is condemned by law? I believe not… (I hope I am right). Thank you for your courage!

    Angie keep up the good work and may God bless you and your ‘familia’ with health, joy, laughter and everything that is good! See you!

  41. Cindy L Says:

    I needed to read this post today, if only to be reminded that my problems are relatively small in comparison. Bless you, Angie.

  42. deb Says:

    May those nine babies know a life of love and peace.
    God rest their mother’s soul.

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