Saturday, May 09, 2009

On a Motherless Mother’s Day

This Mother’s Day will be my first without my Mom. She passed away this past Wednesday from ovarian cancer, just weeks short of her allocated three score and ten years. My last real conversation with her occurred back in September, the night before her surgery to that was to remove a tumor that had developed on her ovaries. As I posted before, the doctors didn’t know at the time that it was cancerous or that it had spread to several other organs. Everyone thought it would be a relatively routine surgery. That, of course, turned out not to be the case. A quick hour-long surgery turned into a six hour ordeal that my Mom was not physically able to endure. She suffered a rather debilitating stroke that left her unable to speak, eat, or walk without sustained physical therapy and extraordinary effort on her part. So, while I was able to communicate with my Mom after her initial recovery period, it was never really the same. I often think back to that conversation, wondering what more might have been said . . ., yet very thankful for that time, even though I don’t remember any of the details of the conversation.

My Mom taught for years and years at various Christian elementary schools, eventually becoming principal in her later years. In some ways, it all started when he took a summer to tutor me after a disastrous experience at an LA area grade school. I don’t remember this, and I can’t believe that it is true, but I’m told that I was NOT the most cooperative young man during that time. I think my Mom would say that was putting things mildly. I can only hope that I was not as bad as my kids sometimes were during their first year of homeschool. But I digress. Even though my Mom’s degree was not in education she was an excellent teacher who made a lasting impact on her students. One day, after her surgery, my Dad and I got to my Mom’s ICU room and discovered a strange lady, probably in her 30’s, sitting there with my Mom. When we asked who she was, she said she was a student of my Mom’s back when she was in the 5th grade. I don’t even remember who my 5th grade teacher was.

Random memories…hours playing rook, scrabble, ping pong and other games; the best chocolate chip cookies ever, always preparing yummy lunches and snacks for our family trips; scaring her out of her wits when first learning how to drive; cheerfully waking me each morning as I was growing up; taking care of me when I was sick; road trips together to my cousin’s weddings; and pulling me aside during my trip to California when I first introduced Daphne to my family and saying, “Don’t blow it with this one!”

I am thankful for the time we had back in February when the whole family was able to visit with Mom one last time. Jennifer played her violin and the kids sang to her. My one regret is that she will not be able to see the children grow up completely or see them get married off. And, living across the country has made it difficult for my kids to really get to know their grandparents. Nevertheless, the time they spent with her was special and they all cried when they heard the news of Mom’s passing.

I could go on but I will close with this. Daphne has watched my Dad unselfishly take care of my Mom during her last days and told me that I have a lot to live up to. Well, Mom has set the bar pretty high, too.


Carol M. Olsen, 69, went home to be with her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on May 6. For eight years until her retirement in 2007, Carol was principal of San Bernardino Christian School and prior to that taught 14 years in the same school. In all, she spent 32 years in Christian school ministry in schools in California and Washington. She was a member of Heritage Bible Church, Highgrove, CA. She was born May 20, 1939 in Johnson City, NY, moved to Waynesboro, VA as a teenager, and received a BS degree from Bob Jones University, Greenville, SC, in 1961. She met her husband in college and was married December 18, 1961, in Waynesboro, VA.

She is survived by her husband, David Efting, of Colton; son Andrew Efting and his wife Daphne and grandchildren JD, Jennifer, and Anna Grace of Suwanee, GA; son Eric Efting and his wife Kimberly and grandchildren Alina, Tommy, Casey, and Erica of Victorville, CA; son Scott Efting of Sunnyvale, CA; and sister Jeannie Kollarits of Staurts Draft, VA.

The funeral service will be held Monday, May 18, 10:30 o’clock at Faith Bible Church, 2898 North G Street, San Bernardino. There will be a viewing at the same church on Sunday afternoon, May 17, 2:30 – 5:00 o’clock. Interment will be at Desert Lawn Cemetery, Calimesa.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made to San Bernardino Christian School, 2898 North G Street, San Bernardino, CA 92405.


At 10:33 PM, Blogger Don Johnson said...

Hi Andy

Thank God for Christian mothers!

I am sorry to hear of your mother's passing, but very grateful to God for her testimony and influence in your life.

May God bless you all.

Don Johnson
Jer 33.3


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