It is with a heavy heart that I have to write this post. We learned late last evening that a dear friend had passed away due to a terrible car accident. Phil and I have been close to the entire family since we both lived in Muncie. Phil spent his first Easter at college at their home because he couldn't make it home for the holiday and some of the beginnings of our relationship also happened around a bonfire at the farm. She sent us our first congratulation cards on our engagement and later with the announcement of our pregnancy with Pete.
She has some of the best children in the world and raised them into great adults, missionaries, spouses, and parents. We never actually called her by her name, just Mama Shrack because she was the surrogate mother for all of the Ball State YSA (young single adults) kids while we were there. If she was driving by on campus she'd give us a lift to where we were going and just be there when our mothers couldn't always be there. Last fall I spent the day at the zoo with her and her granddaughter, Annalyse, while Ryan and Betty Jo were still caring for the twins in the NICU.
She always made everyone feel like family; it was one of her very special gifts to the world: to make everyone feel loved and accepted. She will be deeply missed by her family and all of those that she made feel like part of her family. I am so glad to know that because of a loving Heavenly Father, her family will see her again, that it isn't truly an ending - just a short parting in the grand scheme, that she will always be a mother and Ma to her children and grandchildren, that those relationships last through this life and into the eternities. I am just glad to have had an opportunity to see her as another example, in addition to my mother, of what it truly means to be a mom, not just to your children but all of Heavenly Father's children.