During our recent stay in the San Diego, California area visiting a new supporting church, God in His divine plans, placed us in a small cottage behind the home of a member of the church. This little home-away-from-home became a place of healing and rest for us. But, more than that, God gave us a very special relationship with the owners, Alan and Billye Giesecke. Just a few months prior they had lost their daughter who lived in that same small cottage. The fact that they were willing to allow us to stay there was generous beyond belief. They were still processing the very raw emotions of their daughter’s death but graciously took us in with wide-open arms. Over the next few months God grew total strangers into a deep, inseparable friendship.
Billye Giesecke and I had an instant bond. It was like we were cut from the same cloth. Both of us being social, enjoyed popping in on each other and passing the time just chatting or discussing life. Many an hour I spent on her couch with Rocky (her unusual but sweet Shih Tzu dog) on one of the two of our laps. The more I heard of her life, the more I knew that this was a woman who had been through the fire and come forth as gold. Her oldest daughter was born severely mentally handicapped, her next daughter had learning struggles and had lived with them until her passing the previous year. Her youngest daughter lived further away with her only two grandchildren. Alone and new in town, I was in need of a “mom” to listen to me and take care of me and she was in need of a “daughter” to give advice to and take care of. It really was a match made in heaven.
She’d take me on her treks around town and we would always find a Starbucks. She told me that her daughter said that that finding Starbucks was her super-power, that and finding every curb, which I had to agree with! 😊 She took me to get pedicures at her favorite spot. We’d go grocery shopping. Sometimes we would just go for a drive so I could get to know the town.
As I’d watch her interact with people I learned of her deep compassion and generous spirit. Giving to the homeless, helping a needy neighbor, calling shut-ins, she was always reaching out to serve even though physically she had many health needs of her own.
She loved the Word of God and had been teaching a tremendous, continuous study called “The Amazing Collection” which studies each book of the Bible over a 3 year period. This was her 3rd time through! I was able to attend the study for a few short months and loved the fresh insight she brought to the group.
Her background was fascinating to me. She had grown up in Texas but had moved to California when she married her husband, Alan. Life hadn’t been easy for them but they grew their family on love and devotion. She worked for years being an advocate for people with special needs, even writing a book, Letters to Sheri, which tells of the journey with her oldest daughter with special needs. I was finishing my BSN online at the time and many an hour she helped me write and improve proposals and presentations for that class. Her background in this area was invaluable.
Little did I know that when we pulled out of their drive just a few weeks ago, that this would be our last embrace here on this Earth. God, in His sovereignty, took Billye home to be with him on Easter Sunday. What a great day to be welcomed into the Eternal Rest! When I was still there, Billye and I came across a quote by Joseph Bayly in our Bible study one day:
Death is the great adventure beside which moon landings and space travel pale insignificant.
My daughter is an artist and designs cards. Billye asked me to have her design a card (pictured above) using this quote for her to send as a thank-you for the people who had been such a support to them through the recent loss of their daughter. My daughter painted a moon and we added the verse:
“O death where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” 1 Corinthians 15:55
Little did we know that she would soon be joining her daughter on this, the greatest adventure ever, eternity in the arms of her Savior! The grave could not hold her just like it could not hold her Lord!
So, Billye, I will miss you tremendously. The mark you made on me is permanent and I will always cherish those few short months together. Enjoy this greatest adventure ever with your Savior, zipping around exploring the heavens together with Tiffany (and tell her not to worry, there aren’t any curbs in Heaven that I’m aware of!). I doubt that there is a Starbucks in heaven either, but if there is a coffee shop (and I’m guessing it’s called Heavenbucks 😊), I am sure you and your daughter will use your super powers and find it. I know the barista will have a venti cinnamon dulce latte extra hot with your name on it, waiting for you! Order one for me and keep it hot, we will enjoy it together when I get there.