Dear Betsy,

I didn’t know you. Not personally. In fact, when I saw the post on the church Facebook page that their “Beloved Betsy” had passed away unexpectedly last night, I had to click the link to see who it was.

When I saw your face, my heart sank. No. Nooooo. Not you. Please not you.

You see, in the short time we have been visiting and sporadically attending Cedar Ridge Community Church, you have been the constant in my 3 year old’s experience. Your smile, your joy, and your pink hair. All were a comforting and welcome sight each time we walked to the room. I always waited for the 3 year old to start crying, to resist me leaving her in the room. But you were always there. And she always let go and went to you, happily. That is no small thing. I always loved seeing you bring in the littles to the tail end of the service so you all could sing and dance in worship. That, too, is no small thing to me. It is a shining example of how you lived love with our little ones.

And then there was the Advent Party. I was in charge of the fair trade gift shop downstairs. I heard that you were going to be there doing crafts with the kids, so I brought my 8 year old, who really, really loves crafts. She spent about 3 hours straight with you… doing all kinds of crafts. You were patient and kind and fun, and she walked away telling me how awesome you were, and how amazing you were at crafts. That is no small thing to this mama.

When I read about your tragic passing from this life (tragic for all of us, of course, but glorious for you), I just couldn’t imagine what it would be like walking into that space today and not seeing you.

Turns out hundreds of others felt the same. We spent the morning wresting with real grief, anger, shock, and also a painful sort of hope and joy. Joy for you, knowing you are now in the presence of the One you loved so deeply and authentically, so openly and demonstratively. But deep grief in not having you be a part of the community you truly helped grow and build. Again , I am the newbie… I didn’t have the privilege of knowing you personally in this life. Turns out that was really my loss.

But you just have to know how deeply you have touched my life, with or without a personal connection. I sat there this morning weeping as I listened to story after story of the life of love, faithfulness, friendship and service you lived. And I am deeply challenged to rethink my own life… my own lack of commitment and service and even real love. Though your life seems cut way too short, you lived it FULLY… and you have left behind such a deep, rich and tangible legacy in this community.

So thank you. Thank you for serving my children. For loving them. Week after week. Craft project after craft project. As a mom, there are few things more meaningful to me than to see someone else truly loving my children. And you loved them. Each and every one of them.

My heart grieves for those who have lost your daily presence. Your son, who is 8, your husband and the multitude of people you have touched and reached out to on a regular basis.  I hurt for them.

But I saw something so special this morning, something that gives me hope in the midst of the grief. That community you were foundational in building? That church that is truly operating as a family because of your legacy of loving people authentically and unconditionally? That family is going to help carry your husband and son through this. They are not alone. Thanks in large part to your faithfulness, they will not be alone.

What a legacy. I hope you are basking in the presence of Jesus right now, healed and whole. And we all know at least one thing He has already said to you, perhaps while holding you in His arms… “Well done, Betsy. Well done My good and faithful servant. Well done!”


With love, and the deepest of thanks to you,


(Nadia, Sydney and Adelaide’s mom)

13 thoughts on “Dear Betsy,

  1. Very beautiful. I didn’t know Betsy personally either, but I agree that she was a beautiful person with incredible presence. I loved her free spirit and love of God.

  2. Beautiful, absolutely beautiful. From a CRCC member who is far from her home, I thank you for putting your experience into words so eloquently. It gives me much comfort and solace knowing that she was celebrated and honored just as she should be (and as I know CRCC would do!).

  3. This is astounding. I’ve been trying to figure out how to write about her and you have captured her perfectly. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and lovely words. We will miss her so much at Cedar Ridge.

  4. Pingback: For Betsy | brandyglows

  5. Wow! I have read this three times now and I simply have to say……you know her much better than you claim too. You captured the Betsy we all know and love. The Betsy I know is so filled with life that; to me, she will never be gone.

    • thank you Jim, but i just have to say in all honesty, that it must have been the holy spirit sharing through me. i cannot understand it any other way. i have been blown away by the response to this, and i am seeing now that god has allowed me to enter into this time of beautiful suffering and grieving with this new church family in such a sweet way. i really didn’t know betsy at all. not even by name. i just saw how she loved on and treated my kids each week. i noticed that. and listening to everyone else talk about her on sunday just filled out my understanding of who she was. and mostly i walked away challenged to live a little more like betsy, which as we all know is kinda like living a little more like Jesus. love, love, and more love.

      • “beautiful suffering and grieving”….you have a way with words Chelsea. I haven’t attended CRCC for 4 years. I hope I get a chance to meet you. Perhaps at the memorial. I will be the guy with 2 “active” kids in tow.

  6. I found this to be so beautiful and amazing, I have returned to it several times to read it over the last few days. Thank you for writing it, sharing it and understanding how wonderfully Betsy touched us all.

  7. Betsy and Eric were two of the earliest members of Cedar Ridge we met and became friends with when we attended so many years ago. Leaving Maryland meant leaving behind wonderful people like Betsy. Her sincerity was incredibly powerful and her humor wonderful to experience. She knew exactly how to make anyone feel special both children and adults. -dave

  8. Betsy was an amazing human being who made everyone feel special at any age. So many years ago when we lived in Maryland we had the privelege of knowing her and Eric, seeking their advice and enjoying their fellowship. Thank you Betsy for those wonderful memories.

  9. Pingback: Part I – In Which Grief is Surprised By Another Death | melanielynngriffin

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