My Ode to Adeline

Have you ever considered…

  • Why is it that we procrastinate in telling people how much they mean to us?
  • Why do we wait until someone precious to us is dying, or about to die, before we honour them for the role they’ve played in our lives?
  • Why not tell them in the moment, or when we think about them?
  • What is it that makes us wait and wait and wait?

I recently had the sobering realization that I’d waited too long to tell a dear ‘mother’ in my life how much she really meant to me. Adeline Blumer was an amazing woman who impacted the lives of so MANY people around her, and my life immensely. She fought a long battle with cancer, and she was courageous, brave, and beautiful to the very end.

In 1988, I had the privilege of becoming the piano teacher for their four energetic and talented children, a privilege that lasted for over a decade. I was in their home on a weekly basis, and I journeyed with them through many of life’s landmarks, both theirs and mine.

Here are some excerpts of a conversation that I recently had with Angi Greene, Adeline’s eldest daughter. Everyone knew that the cancer had taken its toll on Adeline’s body, and her days on earth were numbered.  The photos on Facebook were heartbreaking, and I just couldn’t shake the urgency to tell Adeline how much I valued her role in my life.


Hi Angi, I’m supposed to be sleeping, but I can’t stop thinking about and praying for you guys. I’m so sorry for the difficult journey you are traveling right now.

May I just take a moment to tell you what your mom means to me? She has no idea that I speak about her as much as I do, but some of my best “MOM advice” is from her very lips. Yup, it’s true!

I remember chatting with her after piano lessons one night. I was deep in the season of trying to choose which school to put Raelynne* into. She was supposed to be going to Kindergarten next September, and I had NO idea where to enroll her. Edmonton is blessed with choices – too many choices! Public schools, Catholic Schools, French immersion, French bilingual, German bilingual, Logos schools, Christian schools, etc., etc., etc.

 I was really overwhelmed. So I asked your mom… “Adeline, why did you put your kids into the Christian school?” And she gave me an answer I’ve NEVER forgotten! She said,

“You are mistaken… I didn’t put my kids into a Christian school when they were little.  They went to a Public School UNTIL THEY KNEW THEY WERE DIFFERENT.

Every child has a deep desire to be unique! If you put them into a Christian school just to protect them from the world, they may feel the need to rebel in order to be unique. Rather, put them somewhere where they can grab onto their faith as part of what makes them unique.”

It was as if explosions went off in my head and my heart. Yeah, why do we protect them and make them into cookie cutter Christians? What have we got to fear? OUR KIDS WERE MADE TO CHANGE THE WORLD, NOT BE OVERCOME BY IT!

That day, fear lost its grip on me! No longer would I fret and be anxious about their souls, their friendships, or their destinies.

Erwin and I simply drove around to each of the schools on our list, and we asked Father God to speak to us. I walked into most of them and met the principals, and I would listen for the Holy Spirit as I walked through the hallways. How wonderful when I finally walked into the local public school, and I heard the Holy Spirit say to my heart, “This is the place.”

Little did I know at the time that our journey would take us all the way to South Africa for over a decade. Adeline’s lesson about uniqueness was especially applicable here.

How did my kids cope with their need to be unique in South Africa? By embracing their Canadian-ness, of course! Yes, they learned to love their new life in SA, but they would gladly recite the many praiseworthy qualities of Canadian culture to any and all who would listen. I’m sure that some of their school friends got sick of hearing about Grandma and Grandpa, Tim Hortons, ice hockey, and Costco.

Leaving the comfort and familiarity of “home” was the best thing we did for our family. Nay-sayers called us “foolish” to move our family to Africa, but we had heard from God, and we obeyed. Once again, we chose not to live in fear!

As a result…

Our kids have learned to be powerful people of faith, standing against all forms of intimidation and religion, AND they’ve learned to appreciate their Canadian heritage! What a gift!

So, how do I begin to tell your beautiful mom how much she means to me? I REALLY am the woman I am today because of those precious moments when she took the time to chat with me after our piano lessons. She was never too busy or too important. Your family is so precious to me, and I love you all so dearly!

I wish I could come tell her all of this in person and give her the biggest hug. But alas, I am on the other side of this crazy planet, with tears streaming down my cheeks and my heart so sore. Please, Angi, if you get a chance (in the middle of everything else you want to say and do), please tell her that I love her and I’ll never forget her!


Sadly, Adeline died shortly after this conversation and never got a chance to hear my message. Why, oh why, did I wait so long?

Yes, I know that I mustn’t beat myself up about this. I know that I’ll be able to tell her in person when I also arrive in Heaven. But that’s not the point. She probably needed to hear it here… on this earth, in this earthly body, with these earthly life circumstances. I am truly sorry for procrastinating so long.

My challenge to all of us is to stop for a moment and ask ourselves…

  • Who has impacted my life and deserves to be honoured for it?
  • Who should I speak with TODAY?
  • Who am I grateful for TODAY?
  • Who needs to be encouraged TODAY?


Don't put off until tomorrow what you can do today! Click To Tweet

* Raelynne is the eldest of our four children.

13 replies
  1. Louisa Dames
    Louisa Dames says:

    This touched my heart so. I don’t think people in general think about saying what and how they feel about the people in their lives, as they should – you know honoring them for who they are, what they mean to you. We always think tomorrow is another day, or there will be another time for it, or worse we think they should just know your heart. But honestly we are not promised tomorrow, and sadly before you know it time is up, and the things that should have been said and heard are lost forever. The other thing I also realized (again) is to not let fear hold you back – not from saying what you need to, or doing what God has put on your heart. Thanks for sharing your words with me (and the world) – to me that is brave, stepping out and being vulnerable.

  2. ellecoetzee
    ellecoetzee says:

    Thank you Shauna! As a new mom I’m beginning to realize how important these relationships are, and now I will never forget to thank all the brave moms who have gone before me and selflessly help me to make sense of it all. THANK YOU for being one of the brightest lights in my life. I love you deeply and appreciate you with all my heart! x


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  1. […] Is He leading you to homeschool? Or perhaps, like me, He’s challenging you to put your kids in public school? […]

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