Tim & Vanessa Lorentzen Family!

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Funeral Tribute by Vanessa Lorentzen

Treasures Art Work
Treasures 2 favorite songs - Swing Low and Peace in the Valley - are the background music for these pages.

Vanessa Lorentzen spoke at the funeral - this is the text of her speech.

 “Things I’ve learned” February, 19th, 2002 as read at the Funeral

I titled this little talk “Things I’ve learned from Treasure”; because I realized that I couldn’t speak about Treasure without telling you all how she impacted my life.

This is what I learned from Treasure; How to be useful, or taking joy in the mundane things in life.  This one is put very simply; She did not knowing the difference between work or play.

And here is where the credit lays; her mother.  The other night Nadine said to me, I had the perfect daughter.  Here’s the truth about “perfect” daughters.  They come from “perfect” mothers.  My friend has exclaimed to me many times, “How did I get a little gal that wanted to do everything with me”?  Here’s the truth; ALL little girls want to do everything; we sometimes are just too busy to notice.  I’ve learned a lot, from watching my friend, Nadine, interact with her daughter.  Instead of going down to her level, she brought her UP to her level.  From the time she came home from the hospital as a newborn, the little gal spent her time with her mother, watching from the counter in the kitchen, and then began to get involved in everything that took place there.  Nadine has a little joke, “she didn’t start sewing or cooking until she was four!” This is why the little gal really did not know the difference between work or play, and liked each, equally as well.  I’m so glad to have learned this secret.

This is what I learned from Treasure; How to be fully engaged in Life, I was most amazed by her ability especially at the end to want to continue living.  Along with wondering how long her body could continue in such a decrepit state, I often wondered when is SHE going to just GIVE UP!  Amazingly, she never did.  Her physical heart finally gave up, but up until that point, she just kept on, keeping on.

At this point I want to add that I was very inspired by the conduct of her three brothers.  To begin with, I think it was very hard for them to accept what was going on with their dear little sister.  In fact, I think all three, could have easily slid into denial and “spaced out” the following months without a thought toward her.  Instead they were very courageous as they faced the situation head on and sought out new ways to “be brothers”.  Because she was so sick, the old routines didn’t work.  No longer did she want hugs, or physical attention as her body was becoming more uncomfortable to live in.  “The bruvers” as she called them, became very gentle and would take little opportunities to show they cared.  Like bringing her “Sweet Tarts”, (she loved this, whether she ate them or not), or just sitting with her in her room, as her mother worked, so she didn’t have to be alone.

This is what I learned from Treasure; Keep short accounts. I rarely saw her cry because of the disease or being in real physical pain, in fact she would say ouch, ouch, ouch, but never wail or cry because of the pain.  BUT, she did cry when her feelings were hurt.  One instance was a couple of days before she died, when she felt betrayed by Colt and Starlit, as they had eaten her Mike and Ike’s while she was asleep.  They knew the rules.  Tears were shed over the piddly remains.  But here’s the good part of the story.  My daughter and her brother repented for their evil doing, and Treasure immediately forgave them.  The tears were dried and life went on.  So I’ve learned, this is how to handle things, don’t pretend, get it out, deal with it, and go on.  This situation worked in reverse as well, when the dear little gal got just a little snippy with her mother and I chastised her.  I felt bad about doing this at the time, but thought, how can I let her get by with that, even though she is sick? She sat there stewing for several minutes, coming to grips with her own wrongdoing, then quietly she asked her mother to come over and said she was sorry.  I was surprised, because I live with little, short, proud people who never want to admit they’ve done a thing wrong.  I thought, this little girl is remarkable; this is how to live life!

This is what I learned from Treasure; How to be thoughtful.  Another amazing thing about living life with Treasure was watching her prepare her artwork with someone else in mind.  Just as Kathleen Hruby said it last night, She just didn’t decorate cookies, she decorated them with specific people in mind.  I remember that her fatigue was great as she finished the project, barely able to stay upright, but with all her strength she completed her goal.  Everyone had a decorated sugar cookie.  How amazing to be thinking of others all the time!  Wow, what would that do to my own life, what would that do for my relationships?  AND just think, she had no time for a pity party, eh?! 

She took delight in preparing artwork for people.  I saw one last night that she had sent to my niece Shelby.  In the corner it said, “I love you Shelby”.  She had people in her mind all the time.  She would say, “When is Grandpa Ace coming?”  Or the minute she saw her Grandma Dena, “Read Books”.  It’s because her goal was to get YOU, right beside her.  One night early in the diagnosis Nadine told me that she said, “Mom, I want you.” Nadine said, “I’m here!”  But Treasure said, “No, I want MORE of you.” You know that’s the hearts cry of every little person on this planet.  She had her ideas of what was “really living”. AND that, was to be with the people she really loved.   One of my favorite pictures she drew has herself, and her mother and her father all depicted as bears, but with cartoon thoughts above their heads, with big hearts.  She would say, “We’re thinking love about each other”.

This little girl was remarkable because she had remarkable parents.  I’ve learned from watching her parents.  In fact, when I began getting involved I would wonder what to do.  I felt so helpless, then the idea to watch them and do what they do, popped into my mind.  So I did, and it worked!  I became a caregiver that wiggled my way into the little gals heart.  Ha!  I didn’t think it was possible.  She was so shy, her inner circle so small.  My main goal when I began was to be of service to Nadine.  When this little child decided to love me, it was like getting a gift.  SHE CHOSE ME.

This is what I learned from Treasure;   Sometimes I would wonder about her tenacity to keep hoping and not get mad at God.  When she would sing peace, peace in the valley, I would think, OK…isn’t THIS, the valley.  Shouldn’t there be peace?  Last night at the family service, I shared my thoughts on the verse “Neither Death nor Life can separate us from the love of God.”  Yes, as Christians we all understand that death cannot separate us from God when we have a personal relationship with our Savior. But now I understand how “LIFE” can “threaten” to divide us from Him.  When life get this hard, you can began to wonder if this crisis will cause you to lose your faith.  The good news is that even if we waver, He doesn’t.  She was an example for me follow. She could continue living in the worst circumstances, and not lose hope.  Sometimes while I was entertaining her (trying to get her mind off her pain) I would switch to a “spiritual talk” trying to encourage her.  Now I realize that it was SHE that was showing me how to do it, YOU JUST KEEP GOING.  She had a faith that put me to shame.  Rom 8:18, explains, For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. She understood completely that this life here on earth is but a vapor.  Her eye was on the heavenly goal, and there she found her “peace in the valley.”

Earlier I mentioned Nadine’s role, but the role that Dave played was really the most special and most amazing.  Because here is the biggest thing I learned from Treasure; Dependence on the Father!  The last couple weeks especially, Treasure was beginning to naturally pull away from the things of this world and began clinging to her Dad.  She had always been crazy about him, but it puzzled me a little, as to why she insisted on him for everything.  All of a sudden it was his name she cried out, day and night, and Nadine and I lost our significance to a degree.  But on the night she died it became very clear to me. In those final moments she taught me about the only safe place.  The only safe place to be is in the Father’s hand;  John 10:27-28 27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.

Speaking of sheep hearing His voice.  I think of how Treasure could detect her Father’s presence the minute he walked in the house.  I remember having her in the tub with the water running and me talking away. She would hear him come in and immediately call out DA-da! 

So, in those final moments she had her complete faith in the earthly model of what is above, or what is to come.  I imagine that Dave suffered greatly as she died in his capable arms, because at that point, there was nothing more that he could do.  But here’s the great thing; where he left off, our Heavenly Father took off.  I believe that she went from one really “great” lap to a really GREAT lap.   And I believe that the Father in Heaven will do that for each one of us here today, if we let him. Rom 8:14-17 puts this very well, 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, "Abba, Father." 16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17and if children, then heirs--heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.

Here is a short reading that Nadine asked me to read one year ago, when she was thinking of each of you, that would be here today.

I am standing upon the seashore.  A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean.  She is an object of beauty and strength.  
I stand and watch her, until at length; she hangs like a speck, a white cloud, just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.
Then someone at my side says: “There, she is gone!
“Gone where?”
Gone from my sight.  That is all.  She is just as large in mast and hull and spar, as she was when she left my side, and she is just as able to bear her load of living freight to her destined port.
Her diminished size is in me, not in her.  And just at the moment when someone at my side says:  “There, she is gone!”  There are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices ready to take up the glad shout: “Here she comes!”
And that is dying.

I have seen first hand, up and personally, what Dave & Nadine have gone through this past year and how they have handled it with love and compassion for Treasure and all the rest of us that kept coming around.  They allowed the love of God to sustain them and they were secure in the hope of where they and Treasure are going when this life is over!  They ministered to us although we were the ones trying to bless them!   Dave & Nadine, you are my heroes of the faith!  Tim Lorentzen