Dear Team Buna

Elise and I started this blog together about six years ago at the beginning of her journey with cancer. Elise would write, pouring her heart out to all of us, updating everyone on the trials and tribulations of suffering with grace while juggling the everyday joys of life as a wife and a mother of five young children. At first, Elise would ask me to edit her writing and help with formatting. We worked with a graphic designer, using her bird motif, which eventually evolved into a Team Buna tee-shirt design. I loved collaborating with Elise. It was so easy! We were a team and I enjoyed every second of serving her in this small way.

Pretty soon, Elise knew exactly what she was doing and no longer needed my help. She had a vision for Team Buna, and her mission and voice for her blog were clear. She might have said, “You don’t tell me what to do!” but I didn’t hear it that way. Elise would publish something and I would scramble to get online and read and laugh and cry. The news wasn’t always easy to see in black and white, but somehow, by the end of each post, I still believed, right alongside Elise, and all of you, that “every little thing was gonna be alright.”

Our precious friend’s journey with cancer ended on Sunday, August 16, 2020. A week ago, on Thursday, August 20th, Elise was laid to rest at St. Joseph Abbey.

Before being entrusted to Hospice Care, Elise wanted to write another post to update us on her diagnosis. She wanted to let her Team Buna Family know how she was doing. For whatever reason, it just wasn’t part of God’s plan for her to do so. She kept in touch with us here. It was a place where she loved us, really. It was a place where she could, even in her greatest suffering, point us to Christ and to our Loving Father. Elise’s message, no matter how heavy the news, was a message of the Father’s love for her, and for all of us, personally. Even though Elise didn’t get to write one last post, the final days of her life on earth, as explained so beautifully by her brothers Jean and Beau, were the culmination of a fight with cancer and a race to heaven that we can all look to as an example. #livelikeelise

I am working on another post to help bring some closure to this beautiful blog. It’s been difficult to find the right words so soon after her passing from this life. (Pray for me? Elise, intercede for me!) In the meantime, I’d like to share the video of the eulogy and the funeral. If you don’t have the time right now to watch it in its entirety, fast forward to 12:40 for Jean Charbonnet’s eulogy and 42:00 for the Proclamation of the Gospel, immediately followed by Fr. Beau Charbonnet’s homily. Elise’s brothers did her proud, to say the least. 

Elise 2 Tim 4

With love and prayers as we all grieve,

Mary (Jones) Collins


7 thoughts on “Dear Team Buna

  1. Praise God for your beautiful words. I was able to watch the mass on UTube and it was very inspiring about our Elise. God bless, Rose Fields


  2. Mary,
    Thank you for getting this out and for helping Elise and her beautiful family. My wife Gwen and I prayed for her and the family over her long journey. God had different plans for her but all our lives have been touched by her beautiful love for Him and faith she held onto. What an example for all of us.

    May God Bless and be with her wonderful family,
    Mitch and Gwen Fournet


  3. Thank you so much, I’ve been following Elise’s blog ever since we were both diagnosed in the summer of 2014. I was able to watch the funeral live streamed and look forward to a final post. She was such an inspiration to me. I enjoyed her writings, her music, her art, her humor, her strength, her honesty, and so much more. I prayed for her every afternoon when I took my Tamoxifen and now Letrozole, now I ask her to pray for me as my prayers are now for her family. Thank you for your love, dedication, and friendship.


  4. I am so sad to read of Elise passing. She was so full of light, it’s hard to believe. I am thankful for her blog and inspiring so many. Prayers for Elise and all her family.


  5. Thank you for posting.Although I did not personally know your dear friend Elise, what I could clearly see through her posts, was that she was a vessel that God was using to bring hope to HIS people. HE used her because she said YES to HIS invitation. Thank you Elise for your YES and for bringing hope to so many. ❤️❤️🙏🙏


  6. As a counselor I know-
    Without death there can be no resurrection. Praise God for Elise’s love and light to heaven. She will continue to help us by God’s grace as one day we call her ST. ELISE Prayers for our ongoing journey!


  7. Such a beautiful post! Many people are continuing to pray for sweet Elise’s family and friends here in Houston! I did not know Elise personally, but knew her through my sister Jennifer who danced with Elise growing up with Mrs. Rosemary. I say I didn’t know her but felt like I did through her blog and the drawing to fervently pray for her and her family. It has been such a blessing to say the least. I will never forget her light and I’m always prompted to share her incredible messages of hope, trust, the joy of being in the moment and the Presence of God through it all. Thank you for sharing this!


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