Posted By Mike&Leslie

Leslie Beach
I expect this to be the last blog post.  Please know that it brought Leslie so much happiness knowing you were reading and responding to her writings.  And as long as you keep Leslie's love for others alive in your heart and in your actions, Leslie will always be with us.

 

Eulogy  

 

"It’s not the amount of years in a life, it’s the amount of life in those years". It’s the sort of thing we say when someone is taken from us too soon, but in Leslie’s case it was so very true. Leslie lived more in her 49 years than most people do in 100. Leslie loved to celebrate any occasion, she patented the "birth-MONTH" celebration. She loved the holidays, especially Christmas. Every year from the beginning of October to the end of December, our house would be wall-to-wall with decorations - "throwing up Christmas" she would say. The reason Leslie loved celebrations was because Leslie loved people. Holidays are for family and EVERYONE was family to Leslie. Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve were times for family and the house was always full. She always invited some "strays" too – people who didn’t have any family near.  Leslie always made everyone feel welcome. Serving others was one of her greatest joys.

Leslie was a wonderful mother to our children. She loved them and disciplined them. She taught them right from wrong, she instilled a strong work ethic in them. She attended every function they were in, often attending multiple performances of the same event. She was so proud of them in everything they did, so proud to see them grow into good and Godly adults. Jenna and Jeff were not finished needing their mother, but she equipped them to go on without her. Leslie LOVED being a "Nani" to her precious Tyler. As much as anything else, Tyler was the source of her eternal optimism. She gave him her love for learning and for books and she gave him an un-ending supply of love.

As hard as it is for me to say, cancer made Leslie a better person. It gave her a sense of urgency to encourage others, to foster relationships between people, and to share the love of God. Many of you read her Blog every day and felt her radiant optimism. That optimism was real, it was not just putting on a brave face for the world to see. That is not to say that were not hard times, but Leslie always held on to hope – she knew that God was in control and that He had a plan for her life. She was overjoyed to see the small and the large differences in people’s lives because of her experiences. She said that her tribulations were all worth it if it brought people closer to God and to each other. Leslie frequently told me how happy she was that God allowed her to see the "little miracles" that He brought about through her.

Leslie never lost hope. She slipped painlessly from this world knowing full well it was part of God’s plan. I have absolutely no doubt that Leslie is resting safely in the arms of Jesus, that He has given her a full explanation of why this had to happen, and she is completely satisfied with His reasons. Leslie was able to catch glimpses of truth before and now her understanding is complete, just as ours will be someday.

Leslie was my best friend - I was complete in her. It sounds cliché, but Leslie and I never argued. We learned very early in marriage that the secret to happiness was to put each other first. She made me the man I am today, she is my hero, my soulmate, my encourager, my PR agent, my beautiful angel. Leslie is the love of my life.

I love you Babe.

Mike

 
Posted By Mike&Leslie

Leslie's memorial service today was absolutely beautiful  It was an outpouring of love and support from family, friends, and members of the community.  It was so touching to see so many people whose lives had been impacted by Leslie, to hear the love in people's voices as they shared memories together at the lunch.  It is easy to see that Leslie's loving and caring spirit will live on in the hearts of all she met.

 

Thanks to all who came, who offered condolences, who offered love and prayers.  Thank you to all those who were unable to attend, we could feel your love across the miles.  A great big thank you to all those who helped with the lunch - it was absolutely perfect.  All those who planned, decorated, cooked, cleaned, and did tasks I didn't even know about.  Thank you so much

 

We started this blog as a method to communicate Leslie's progress to all of her family and friends.  But Leslie soon saw it as an opportunity to reach out to people, to help encourage them, to pray for them, to love them.  And, as I have told you before, she took that seriously.  This blog was her ministry and no one could replace her in that.  Tomorrow I will make the last blog post, my eulogy to her.

 
Posted By Mike&Leslie

Leslie Flower Field

 

Those of you who knew Leslie through the blog knew that cards were important to her.  During her first round of chemotherapy, she was so amazed by the fact that a $2 piece of paper, recieved in the mail could make such a difference to a person's spirit.  She resolved to send cards to people and she encouraged you to send cards.  Because, to Leslie, cards were about people and Leslie loved people.

Besides encouragement cards, thank you cards were important to her too.  During her last month of life, Leslie got many "thinking of you" gifts.  Several times she mentioned to me that she was keeping a mental list, she had me get her thank you cards and was planning to write them as soon as she was over this speedbump.  But please know she was so appreciative of your gifts, your cards, your love, your thoughts, and your prayers.  She especially wanted to give a BIG THANK YOU to everyone who organized, worked, and supported the Craft Extravaganza, you have her gratitude and mine too.

 
Posted By Mike&Leslie

Smiling Leslie

After a long and courageous battle with Melanoma, Leslie went peacefully to be with the Lord whom she loved so much on August 18. Born March 26, 1962 in Beech Grove, Indiana - Leslie attended McCabe School and Central Union High School. She worked at Ben Hulse and, most recently, T.L. Waggoner Elementary school where she was loved by children, parents, and co-workers.

Leslie raised two beautiful children and was a wonderful “Nani” to her grandson Tyler, who was the light of her smile. She battled cancer with grace, courage, beauty and, most of all, hope. Hope for a cure but a more abiding hope that God is in control no matter what the earthly outcome. Leslie blogged her journey, where she inspired thousands all across the country. “Leslie’s Celebration of Life” blog can be seen at www.mgilbert.net

Leslie is survived by her husband Mike, her children Ryan, Jenna & Jeff, her grandson Tyler, her parents Bill & Besse Cones, her other parents Frank & Jodi Gilbert, her siblings and in-laws John & Lori, Donald & Noni, & Monica & Gregg, Greg & Yolanda, Mary, Mark & Tina, Matt & Tammy, numerous nieces, nephews, and more friends than anyone could ask for. We love her and we will miss her dearly, but she is cancer free now and with God, that’s all we ever really wanted.

A memorial service will be held Saturday August 27, 10am at Faith Assembly Church in Imperial. Lunch reception to follow at Frank Wright Cafeteria - please bring Leslie’s favorite side dish, salad, or dessert.

 
Posted By Mike&Leslie

Small change of plans - Imperial Unified School District graciously offered the use of the Frank Wright cafeteria for Leslie's lunch reception on Saturday.  So we will be holding that there instead of at the Casa de Manana.  We even get to use the cafeteria tables, maybe it will help bring out the childlike innocence in all of us that Leslie loved so much.  Again, meat will be provided, so bring Leslie's favorite side dish, salad, or dessert.  It will be good to relax together, we have printed up a couple hundred pictures that will be displayed around the room to bring back lots of great memories.

There will be someone at Frank Wright prior to the 10 am service so that food can be dropped off.  Frank Wright is at 885 N Imperial Ave in Imperial in case you need to Google directions, the cafeteria is located on the North side of 15th street.  If you have any food questions, please contact Jessica at First Christian Church 352-8300

We will see you Saturday. 

 


 
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