My mom called me last week to inform me that a dear friend of our family, Brenda Allsop, had passed away on Monday (the 10th). She had been sick with arthritis and melanoma for many years. Yesterday I was able to attend her funeral. It was a beautiful tribute to a wonderful woman. She leaves behind five children ages 26, 20, 19, 17, and 15.
Her children and husband said many times how grateful she was for everything around her. Instead of being angry at the world for the struggles she was going through, she decided to make the best of the situation and do what she could to serve those around her. She wasn't able to do many of the things that she wanted to with her kids, but she gave them her love, shared her testimony with them, and gave them her time. They also talked about her infectious smiles and laugh. I can only imagine how much she will be missed by her dear husband and children.
As I was sitting at the funeral I was flooded with memories of Brenda.
When I was young our families, along with one or two others, would go boating almost every Saturday. We would "synchronize" swim (parents and kids included), ski until we couldn't any longer, and just enjoy time together. We would laugh and play all day.
On New Year's Eve we would get together and play silly games, eat and eat and eat, play more games, and at midnight we would all run outside banging on pots and pans to ring in the new year.
When I was 10, I started to babysit for their family. I spent many Friday and Saturday nights over the next 8 years playing with their kids. I nannied for them one summer. Several summers they even took me to Lake Powell with them so that I could help them look after their two youngest (at the time) and play with their older daughter. Memories of those trips to Lake Powell have been floating through my mind the past few days. Here are a few:
Kenny G. in the truck for 5 hours. Brenda loved Kenny G. I was pretty sure she was trying to torture the 13 year old in the backseat for 5 hours when she would pull out those CDs. :)
One time we arrived at Bullfrog around midnight. We didn't have anywhere to sleep since the houseboat was tied up in the marina. Not phased by the complete lack of light, they launched the boat. My duty was to sit on the front of the boat with a huge flashlight and watch fro rocks that were barely poking up out the water. The kids waved their flashlights around and Doug and Brenda tried to navigate over to where they thought the houseboat was tied up. We finally found it I had to drop the flashlight quick and then grab onto the houseboat. Being the scrawny 13 or 14 year old that I was I grabbed onto the the houseboat with my hands but then the ski boat started to float away. Next thing I knew I had my hands on the houseboat, my toes curled under the rail of the ski boat and I was looking at the water. Somehow I managed to get the two pulled together. We unloaded and spent the night tied to the buoy.
On another trip we were headed home and the tires blew out on the trailer. Doug left Brenda, their oldest daughter and me on the side of the road with the boat, and off he went with the two little ones to get a new tire or two. Brenda was so calm. We sat in the boat and played games, told stories, snacked on anything that was left, and truly enjoyed our time waiting for Doug to come back. A few hours later he came back. The tires were put on the trailer and off we went.
We stopped for dinner and his youngest son threw up all over Doug. The rest of us weren't finished eating, so Doug just took off his shirt like nothing had happened and we all finished our meal while he sat there without a shirt.
Same trip, it was late as we came through Spanish Fork Canyon. Doug looked at the gas gauge and about the time he said, "Brenda, I don't know if was have enough gas" we stopped completely. Luckily Doug had some gas leftover from the boat so he used the little gas can to fill us up and we were on our way again. It was always an adventure with them!
About the time Mr. Blue and I got married, Brenda had been battling arthritis for quite some time, and had just been diagnosed with melanoma. She was given 6 months to 1 year to live. It was special having her be part of my wedding. She wasn't sure if she would ever live to see one of her children get married. At the time, she was worried that she wouldn't see her 7 year old get baptized.
When Mr. Orange was born, Brenda sent him his blanket as a gift. He attached to that blanket like nobody's business. The flannel has long since fallen off, but he still insists on having it by his side at (almost) all times.
Brenda, you will be missed. Thank you for all of the memories and the example that you set as a wife and mother. I love you and your family.