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