Saturday, December 11, 2010

December 11, 2010

Bonnie Opper (7/31/1962-12/11/2010)

This morning Bonnie’s journey here with us ended and started afresh with the Lord. After a year and a half of battling leukemia, her body gave in to a terrible infection that couldn’t feasibly be overcome. Central to all of the complications was the loss or rejection of the stem cell transplant she had a year ago. For some unexplainable reason, her graft stem cells were not present in her most recent bone marrow biopsy, thus the inability to produce white blood cells which were needed to fight the infection.

Normally in past blogs we took the time to explain in detail some of the medical aspects as well as the challenges Bonnie was dealing with. We no longer need to focus on that, but instead need to reflect on the positive impact Bonnie had on people around her.

Bonnie never put herself first; before me, the kids, family, friends or acquaintances. She would be the one eating a cold dinner after making sure our children were provided for. She would work all day teaching and then be correcting papers late at night and encouraging me to go to bed to get rest.

Bonnie never liked the attention to be on her. No matter the situation, whether she was having a good day, or bad day, sick or healthy, she would always brighten up when she encountered anyone. I remember one instant when she had just received her bone marrow transplant last year and had severe mucusitis pain in her mouth and was wrenching in pain and when the doctors came in she had a smile on her face and asked how they were doing. She didn’t just do that as a custom, but rather sincerely wanted to know how they were doing. She didn’t want her pain to be a burden on them. For the caregiver (me) it was difficult because I knew how much pain she was in, so I would quietly let the staff know how Bonnie’s personality was wired.

She left a huge impact on the doctors and nurses at both Sparrow Hospital and Karmanos. The nurses in ICU have been amazed at the number of staff (nurses, doctors, assistants, etc.) that have come over from Karmanos’ wing of the hospital to ICU to see Bonnie. They’ve said “she must have left quite an impression on the staff in the Bone Marrow Transplant unit!”

On the Friday after Thanksgiving, I came into Bonnie’s room at Sparrow Hospital early in the morning. She said she felt the sickest she has felt and said “I think I’m going to meet the Lord today”. Well, that day came and went and so did several more in between then and today. But today, she is meeting the Lord and I’m excited for her, yet grieving for us and praying that God will fill the void she has left here.

One thing Bonnie would want more than anything is to have you know that she is safely home with Christ and had a peace knowing that when this day came she would be with Him for eternity. The reason she was so sure is by the simple steps she took so many years ago of acknowledging to God that she was as sinner; born in a sinful state because of our fallen world; separated from a holy God because of her sin and unable to do anything, any good work in and of herself to satisfy a holy God’s wrath; knowing that it would take someone perfect to appease God’s wrath which Jesus did for her and by putting her faith in Christ, asking or inviting Him into her life, she knew her sins were forgiven and she would spend eternity with Him. Anyone who comes to God confessing their sin, putting their faith and trust in Christ Jesus, inviting Him into their heart, loving Him, and living their life for Him will certainly have the same assurance Bonnie was confident with.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” I John 1:9

So, as we draw this blog to a conclusion, my family and I cannot begin to express our gratitude for the outpouring of love and kindness that has been poured out upon us during this very difficult time. We are so grateful for each and every one of you and appreciate your prayers. We are planning a memorial service for Bonnie which is tentatively planned for 11:00 a.m. this Wednesday, December 15th at Trinity Church in Lansing. Once all arrangements have been confirmed we will do one last post of the date and time.

With love,

Steve, Cassandra, Caleb and Callie


  1. Steve,
    You have really honored Bonnie - both her life and faith - in this blog.

    Bonnie was, without a doubt, one of the most selfless people I have ever met. She was always there for us with her loving face and voice. She was always the first one with a meal or thoughtful card, a hug for Grace or an encouraging word.

    It won't be the same without Bonnie.

    We love you all.
    Dan, Priscilla, and family

  2. My heart is heavy, yet filled with joy, knowing Bonnie is with her Lord and Savior.

    What a privaledge to have known her and prayed for her for so long....and to see her fight the battle she did with such grace.

    You, Steve, are a fantastic and godly husband. I thank God for you, that you would be at her side at every step.

    Calli, Caleb, Cassandra, your mother raised you well and you have shown grace and strength. Now you get to carry on with what you have been taught, keeping your mom's memory alive and making her so proud here on earth. You will see her again!

    All my love and prayers.

    With tears of sorrow, yet also joy,

    Kelly Sites

  3. Jamie and I prayed together for you this morning. We love you and your family. We are thankful that the suffering is over for Bonnie and that now she is in the presence of Christ.

    Revelation 21:3-5

    Chris and Jamie

  4. You have honored her in such a beautiful, beautiful way. May God's blessings be upon you forever. May he honor you for all you have done and for your strength and courage.

  5. We love you all and are heartbroken for you. Bonnie was truly Christ's light in this world. She was a blessing to our family in many ways. She is, I'm sure, experiencing great reward for her faithful and beautiful service to her Jesus.
    We love you,
    Glenn, Kristin, Sam and Syd

  6. Steve, you have been amazing throughout this very difficult stage of life's journey. You have all stood strong in God's faith and have honored Bonnie greatly. We are very sad at the loss of such a wonderful woman, but at peace that Bonnie is now with the Lord. Prayers continue during this very difficult time.

  7. Steve, you fought the good fight with and for Bonnie all these months. Now, God has plans for you as you nurture the young minds you and Bonnie brought into being. You more than fulfilled the needs Bonnie had and took care of her even when you did not feel well. No one, but you, knows the scope of your grief after working so hard for her healing. You and the kids I will always pray for and for your health as you soldier on. You are greatly loved, rely on that to comfort you now.

  8. Steve, Cassandra, Caleb and Callie,
    Our thoughts are with you and each of your family members as you deal with all the emotions that are flooding into your lives at this time. We experienced so much of the journey with you, and relish the good times that we were able to spend together. Life in this universe will not be the same without Bonnie's optimism and faith that things will always find a way of working out. Sending you as much positive energy as the sky and wind can carry to your hearts and to your home. All our love flows to you. Gil and Karen Raff

  9. This is such a sweet testimony of Bonnie's life and her unswerving devotion to her heavenly Father! My heart is heavy for your family but at the same time so thankful that Bonnie is finally pain free and at home with her Lord and Savior! You are in our thoughts and prayers tonight!
    Heather & Jeff Vanderlaan

  10. Steve and family, thank you for your faithfulness in using this blog to inform us, honor Bonnie and honor the Lord. God is magnified in Bonnie's departure, you have all reflected Christ. Blessings.

    Kevin Shaw Family

  11. Mrs. Opper was the epitome of a servant. She was so focused on others, always had a smile on her face and a joyful bounce in her step, and was always the first one to volunteer. The way she honored Christ even through immense suffering... words fail me. She truly is one of my heroes. You all are. I am so glad for Mrs. Opper's sake that she is with her Lord and will never have to face any suffering ever again.

    But for the rest of us still on earth, especially your family, this is so sorrowful.

    We love you all. Our hearts are heavy and hurting for you and we are praying for you and thinking of you always.
    Stephanie, and the Edwards family

  12. What a beautifully written note. And a beautiful Godly woman who will be missed by everyone at Graham. Please know the Guenthers are praying for you all.

  13. Steve, Cassandra, Caleb, and Callie,
    “To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.” What a blessing to know your wife and mom is this very moment walking side by side with Jesus in a new, healthy, pain-free body. Her energy is renewed and she is serving Him in new and exciting ways, but with the same smile that lit up every room she ever walked into.
    As you learn to carry on in the days ahead, we want to be here to help you fulfill Bonnie’s dedication to educating her children in a way that honors God. We are praying for all of you, and we will do all we can to assist you.
    Kathy Annis & the Teenworks Staff

  14. We are sad for your and our loss. Her life touched so many in this earth. Praise God she was truly an ambassador for Him. We will pray for your family, that you will feel God's presence especially during this painful time, and that He will pour out his grace upon your family.
    Michael, Linda, Rachel, Jonathan, Sarah & Becca Bacon