Saturday, March 7, 2009

Goodbye Grandma...

(The Barkers, 1988)

We received a call this morning that sometime last night, my grandma passed away in her sleep. She's had numerous health problems for years now, but it still came as a shock - simply because she has had them for SO LONG.

So we headed up to Ogden to spend the day with my grandpa. Though under not-so-ideal circumstances, I can't imagine having spent my day in a better way. We made funeral arrangements, helped with odds and ends and ended the day going through albums of pictures, remembering my grandma the way she was in her happier, healthier years.

The following is her obituary that we composed today:

Lucile Dorothy Van Alfen Barker, 73, passed away peacefully in her sleep on March 7, 2009. She was born June 1, 1935 in Ogden, Utah to Dutch immigrants, John and Pauline Herbert Van Alfen. Lucy was raised in Ogden with her eight siblings and attended Ogden High School. After graduating in 1953, she worked for Safeway Stores and her father at their family real estate office. She married Joseph Keith Barker on August 30, 1955 at the County Courthouse in Salt Lake City. Their vows were later solemnized in the Logan LDS Temple in 1956.

Lucy endured 20 years of military life, moving 19 times throughout the United States and Thailand, before returning to Ogden in 1978. She was a member of the LDS church and enjoyed serving in various callings in the Relief Society. Lucy was an avid cook and was known for her delicious pies and chocolate candies. She loved her many pets on ‘Ma Barkers Ranch’, especially her poodles.

She was a fan of Neil Diamond, Tom Jones, and Englebert Humperdink. Lucy’s notable skills include her excellent penmanship and her organizational abilities. Lucy also loved painting, collecting dolls, planning family reunions, and shopping catalogues. One of her greatest joys was spoiling and loving her grandchildren.

In recent years, Lucy suffered from numerous health problems and her family is grateful she is no longer in pain and has returned to Heaven to be reunited with her sweet babies.

Lucy is survived by her selfless and loving husband, Keith; children: Jeff Barker of Salt Lake City, Cory Barker (Colette) of Orem, Kristi Neeleman (Thomas) of Arlington, WA and Lisa Harris of Tigard, OR; grandchildren, Brandon Barker, Brooke Tu‘ifua, Bryan Teeter, Heidi Strickland, Benjamin Barker, Rebekah Barker, Feliciti Neeleman and Robee Neeleman; great-grandsons J.T. Barker and Jacob Tu‘ifua and step grandchildren Jen Neeleman, Emilee Morzelewski, Angie Neeleman, and Ben Neeleman. Also surviving are sisters Diana Prawitt and Virginia Stark and brothers John and Paul Van Alfen.

She was preceded in death by her parents; baby daughter, Leslie Ray Barker; baby sons, John Michael Barker and Mark Anthony Barker; and sisters, Gertrude Carr, Thelma Martin, Pauline Thomas and Joan Robbins.

Funeral Services will be held Saturday, March 14, 2009, at 11:00 a.m. at Larkin Mortuary, Ogden, Utah. Family and friends may call on Friday, March 13, at Larkin Mortuary from 6 to 8 p.m. and Saturday prior to the service from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. Interment will be at Leavitt’s Altorest Cemetery.

Death always shakes up your life; your way and thinking, and provides perspective. Her death has done that for me today. It brings all the "I wish I had gone to visit more" and "I wish I had taken a picture of her with my sweet Jacob", but more than anything, it brings the reminder that I need to treasure my relationships with my loved ones, and take time to enjoy the simple, yet important things in life, and worry less about little things.

These are just a few memories of her that are on my mind tonight, that I don't want to forget:

She always reminded me of Lucille Ball, with her curly red hair, and the name Lucy. :)

She was an amazing cook, and I especially remember her amazing pies and chocolates candies she'd make during the holidays. I wish she would have been well enough in the last few years to have taught me her skills.

She remembered every birthday and special occasion, and would always send a card.

She lost THREE babies shortly after birth. Being a mother myself now, I cannot even begin to imagine how incredibly difficult an experience that was.

She loved us, her grandkids, and spoiled us relentlessly. When we lived in Hawaii, at Christmas, we would receive box after box of gifts from her and grandpa. I guess you could say they were our own special Santa Claus. :) Because we were so far and rarely got to spend time with them, it was their way of showing their love for us.

Friday, March 6, 2009


His stats from a few weeks ago, at nearly 5 months:
Weight: 18 lbs, 8 ounces (90th percentile)
Height: 26 inches (60th percentile)

I am in love with the cutest, "little" guy in my world. He has grown so much and is currently testing my patience more often with his mischievousness and independence, but I can't get enough!! He definitely keeps me on my toes. He can't sit still and loves to twist and turn, roll and bend, and we're afraid he will be crawling soon. The past week he has been sick with croup - JUST as he was learning to be a better sleeper. NOT FUN, and then yesterday Vaka discovered his first tooth. No wonder the poor guy was having such a rough time. Hopefully we're on the up and will be getting more sleep soon!!