Wednesday, October 24, 2012

My Friend Liz


I want you to meet my friend Liz.

Elizabeth Van Gesen Roberts
This is Liz
Her family needs our help.



Before my current job, I worked for UPS for nearly a decade. For about five of those years I sat next to Liz. She is the one who told me to read "Twilight," for which I will never forgive her. She is also the one who told me to read "The Hunger Games," which redeemed her for recommending "Twilight."

Liz and I are the same age. Her daughter is about the same age as my daughter. In-between complaining about work we'd compare baby poop stories, share advice and help each other be better parents. Honestly, she helped me much more than I helped her.

When I was having a rough time at work (and there were some really rough times) Liz was the one who would cheer me up. She always had a perfect combination of dry cynicism lightly dusted with encouragement to get me back in the desk for another day.

A few months before I left UPS for my new job, Liz found out she and her husband Michael were having their second child. A month later my wife and I found out that we too would be growing our family by one. It was fun having a friend in such a similar situation. We shared our excitement, and even after I left the company in March we kept in touch as our arrival dates approached.

I last talked to Liz a couple weeks ago. She was on bed rest and mentioned that the pregnancy had been difficult. She was excited for the baby to come and we mentioned getting the girls together sometime shortly after.

Last week Liz and Michael brought their baby girl into the world via cesarean. There were complications with the surgery and Liz died a couple days later. Ever since, I've been taking 5-10 minute trips to the bathroom to cry because I don't want my daughter or my wife or my boss to see that I am an emotional wreck.

This obviously hits close to home for me. My wife will be having a cesarean sometime in the next two weeks, and while I know how unlikely it is that something like this could happen, losing Liz has made that incredibly small possibility far too real.

But this isn't about me, or my fears of what might happen. This post is about my friend Liz and what did happen – and what happens now.

As is the case with most two income households, Liz's income accounted for a significant portion of her family finances. Her husband Michael is now a single father with a 3 year old and a 1 week old at home. I have no idea how he's going to do it - and now I'm crying again. Sh*t. This is just horrible and not fair and... I don't know. I don't even have the words. 

I can't take his pain away. We've only met twice. I can't call him or hug him or let him know that he and his daughters are in my thoughts as much  if not more – than Liz is right now. I'm going to let his family do that.

What I can do is try to rally my readers to help. And that is where you all come in. A memorial fund has been set up to help Michael and his two girls. I've donated what our family can afford, but I'm hoping you will too. In fact, I'm hoping you will donate AND SHARE this post with your friends. Ask them to donate.

Michael Roberts
Michael
Michael is currently living my absolute worst nightmare. My wife is my strength. She is the light of my world, and if she left it, I have no idea what I would do. Michael and his girls needs our help. Please consider donating and sharing this post. I know asking for a post to go viral basically dooms it to obscurity, but I believe in you all. Make this thing fly and let's put Michael and Liz's kids through college. 

Here's how:


Love, Dad

P.S. I will also be donating all Google Adwords Revenue I made from my Hypothetical Gay Son Post to the Roberts family. (It really wasn't much... about $50 dollars, but hopefully it will help.)

P.S.S Here is her beautifully written obituary. 

Update: Friends and family have set up a Facebook Page if you would like to like/visit. The FB page and this Post both link to the same fund on Pay Pal. Thanks again for your help!

61 comments:

  1. I'm trying to donate, but the paypal link isn't linking - could you please provide the email address to which I should send the monies?
    Thank you.
    And thank you for this post.
    Callie

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    1. It should be fixed now. Thank you Callie.

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  2. John, this may be one of the saddest things I have ever read. Donated and shared.

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    1. Ashlee, as always thank you. You are such a great friend. I wish we got to see you more.

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  3. Aw $hit John...:+(
    Both my kids were "from their mother's womb, untimely ripped" with no complications.

    (blog fwd to family)

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  4. Donated what we could. Hopefully we donate again soon.

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  5. Donated. I hope the best for your friend's family in these challenging times.

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    1. Thank you so much Mandi. You are a wonderful friend.

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  6. Such a terrible thing to happen. Makes me so sad for her babies and her husband. And just to hopefully help you breathe a little easier, I had C-Section's with both my kids and had no problems at all.

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    1. Thank you Cassie. And thank you for sharing the post. My love to you and your family.

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  7. Words cannot begin to sum up how sad I am, for you and for Liz's family. Will share and Tweet - and donate.
    Sending hugs x

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    1. Donna, thank you so much for sharing this with your followers. I think we're really going to be able to help, at least with the financial side.

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  8. Eagle Mt 24/7 yardsale is trying to put things together for the family. If others want to donoate look it up on facebook, and there are drop off spots around the city. I didn't know her, but reading your post made me cry, I am so sorry for your loss and I can't even begin to imagine the hardship and pain anyone that loved her will go through. thoughts and prayers with you all

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    1. Thanks J. I've added a link to the FB page at the bottom of the post.

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  9. There is a foundation, the Liz Logelin foundation that might be able to provide him some help, too. Thelizlogelinfoundation.org

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  10. How incredibly sad. I will donate and share. Thinking of u all.

    xx

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    1. That is so kind of you Susanne. Thank you.

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  11. So sorry for your loss Johnny! Having had 4 c-sections myself, this made the tears flow for me. I cannot imagine how the family and friends of Liz are feeling right now and I especially cannot imagine how you are feeling with this loss and with the upcoming c-section. Know that I am sending many prayers your way to help with all of your feelings you are having right now and to give you strength during your grieving and the upcoming c-section. Much love to you from MN and a donation to Liz's family as well!

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    1. Thank you Gena. I miss you guys so much. My love to you and your family. Tell Michael happy birthday for me.

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  12. Oh Wow, I'm crying now. How devastating for everyone who knows Liz. I had 4 c-sections and I know complications are very rare. Condolences for the loss of your Friend. I'll share x

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    1. Thank you so much for sharing. I think we're going to be able to help.

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  13. Saw your post from Guerrilla Mom a.k.a Maria Guido and although I could only donate a small $10.00, I had to give something. May Liz's memory live on and her family find peace through the comfort flowing forth from her community and complete strangers like myself who were touched by your post. Thank you for sharing.

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    1. Jennifer I am Liz's sister. $10.00 is such a blessing. I want you to know how much we appreciate everything that comes in to help my nieces and brother-in-law. You and all those who are just like you and donate to a stranger are amazing. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

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  14. This is sooooo horribly and terribly unfair. I was wondering if the dad had thought about breast milk for the brand new baby? I have read of other communities coming together to support a family in this way and if he was intrested it could totally be looked into. I can't imagine what his thoughts are right now but I hope one day he can find peace.

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    1. I don't think he's gotten that far yet, but I know he loves his girls and will continue to be an amazing dad. Thanks you for your comment.

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  15. So, so sad. John, thank you for sharing this and helping us share our love and support with Liz's family at this very difficult time.

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  16. Saw this story on my Twitter feed. Donation sent. Our thoughts and prayers are with Michael and his family.

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    1. That is a beautiful and kind gesture. Thank you so much.

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  17. I don't know if the family are interested, but here are a couple resources. The Safe Motherhood Quilt Project honors women who have lost their lives becoming mothers. http://www.rememberthemothers.org/ Also, more immediately, the group Human Milk 4 Human Babies on Facebook can find breastmilk for the baby. Lots of love for this family and for those whose lives are touched by this tragic loss.

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    1. You know, I'm not sure. They're still coping with the immediate stuff, but some of them are reading these comments so they'll get the info. Thanks for the suggestion and love.

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  18. I am reading this from Australia and can barely see the screen through my tears. I will donate today and have also shared the link on Facebook. All of my love and hugs to Liz's family and friends xxx

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    1. Thanks Danielle. Your love and hugs are so welcome, even across an ocean or two.

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  19. My heart breaks for that family. I donated a little bit, I so wish I could afford more :(

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    1. A little is a lot. It is an amazing gesture of kindness and love for someone you don't know personally. Thank you.

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  20. Such a sad story, my thoughts and prayers are with Liz's husband and family. Have donated and will share the post.

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    1. That is so kind of you Julie. Thank you.

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  21. My son has been a friend of Mike,s since grade school. I wanted to let everyone know a great guy Mike is. My sister, a single mother had her heater go out in the winter and couldn't afford to have it repaired. My son found out she was living without heat, so he called Mike. Mike and his Dad put a new motor in her heater for free. He also helped her on another occasion when she had a flood. When my son needed to put a fence up, Mike showed him how and worked all day in the hot sun til it was up. Thanks John, and all of those kind people who have donated to a very deserving family.

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    1. It has been a rough week. I'm grateful that I have a way that I can help. The response has been wonderful. Bless you and your family.

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  22. I will do all I can. I am so sorry.

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    1. That is wonderful. Thank you. The family will be so grateful.

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  23. They sound like wonderful people. Blessed to hear the story and be reminded not to take anything/anyone for granted. May these donations be a symbol of the prayful support which is also being sent.

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  24. the Liz Logelin Foundation www.Thelizlogelinfoundation.org would be a great resource for your friend.

    The man who started the foundation, Matt, lost his wife (also named Liz) 27 hours after she delivered their daughter.

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    1. I was going to say this same thing! The foundation gives grants to help with the financial aspect of this situation. mattlogelin.com is the blog where he wrote very candidly about the loss of his wife and raising their daughter alone. Prayers for this family and all they are enduring :(

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  25. I'm so very sorry for your friend, her husband and family. I'm glad you posted this, because I'm going to donate... and I'll share the story.

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    1. Thank you so much Whitney. You are wonderful.

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  26. So very sorry for the loss of your friend. What a tremendously kind thing you're doing.

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  27. Thanks for this. Made a small donation and shared. Wish I could do more but I know there is strength in numbers! God bless those sweet baby girls, Michael, my friend, Amanda, and the whole family.

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  28. I am not in a position to donate money. But I can donate advice. I too am a widow and here are some great resources and sources of strength and one-time donations. The Liz Logelin Foundation was started by a widower is a very similar situation (wife passed due to pregnancy complications) here is the application for their grants: http://thelizlogelinfoundation.org/applicants/
    Also, the Soaring Spirits Loss Foundation is the perfect place to gain support from others who have been in his unfortunate situation. www.sslf.org and their "newly-widowed" checklist. http://sslf.org/check-list.html
    Lastly, there are several Utah-based widows group. I help administer "WWS Utah" if you search for us on Facebook. We offer no financial assistance, just company and support.
    Please pass this along if you can. My deepest sympathies and condolences.

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    1. Thank you so much Jess. I've passed along this information.

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  29. There are no words. And there will never be enough money, I know, to compensate for the loss. But I donated, for those precious babies and that poor father.

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  30. I worked with Liz, she was my Supervisor. Although I didn't know her as long or as well as othersI still feel a great loss. She always made me feel better on bad days. After work business was done we would just sit and talk. I've been blessed enough and not have really had to deal with a loss before so I'm struggling with my emotions and how I should be feeling. I just know I'm deeply saddened and haven't stopped crying. Thank you for touching my soul Liz. You truly will be missed.

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  31. Im Jeff From Snowflake AZ a class mate friend of Liz, all of of frinds and class mates are shocked and very saddend at this sad time in the Loss a great friend, thanks for helping!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  32. I used to work with Liz years ago at UPS, what a heartbreaking story, she was always such a sweetheart. My heart and prayers go out to her family.

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  33. Incredibly sad story... My heart goes out to this family right now that needs our help so badly. Liz's husband sounds like an great man. I hope he will let us all carry him through this trying time!

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  34. John thank you for putting your thoughts into words something I am having a hard time doing. I will be donating through Wells Fargo (just because that is where my account is) but I will gladly share this story. Congratulations on the new baby!

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  35. It is stories like these which really hit home how short life is. None of us knows when our time will come. This story really touched me, especially as I am a mother of three small children myself. I will keep Michael, his daughters and all the family in my prayers at this difficult time. I pray that the Lord will comfort them and give them peace.

    I have donated and shared this post too. I really hope and pray the family receive all the support they need.

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