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.
Steve, Cassandra, Caleb and Callie