To Know Christ and the Power of His Resurrection

April 23, 2014

“I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death.” (Philippians 3:10)

I decided to wait until after Easter to reflect on my mother’s sudden death, because it just seemed proper to walk through the week of the Passion and Crucifixion of our Lord first. The convincing realization of that remembrance is that Jesus understands our sorrow, our pain, and has fully experienced death itself. What sweet comfort that reality is, and what stupendous hope we have because of his Resurrection that followed! With the knowledge that our Lord and Shepherd Jesus Christ lives and reigns, our entire perspective on life and death is a hopeful one. Through the lens of resurrection, then, some understanding of the suffering preceding it is possible.

The reflections coming out of this experience may take a couple days to pour out, but so many threads of my life come together in my mother’s story, which is now mine to steward and learn from. Over these last few months, I have pondered the meaning of life and death through my own prolonged illness, though I have not completely lived into Paul’s perspective by “shar[ing] Christ’s sufferings by becoming like him in his death, . . .” That perhaps will come later. But right now, my theme verse is “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection!”

I have experienced a short-term resurrection through this experience of coming out the other side of lung cancer. However, my mom in 2014 joins my dad, who also died suddenly of a brain hemorrhage in 1996, in resurrection and life after death. They both are being ushered by Jesus into their long-term abode in his house, however that sequence of events plays out. [You can read N. T. Wright, Surprised by Hope, on which I commented in a previous post.]

So to begin my mother’s story, let me share her obituary, which appeared in the Seattle Times on Sunday, April 13:

Alice Irene (DeJong) Holder
November 3, 1930 — April 8, 2014

Alice Holder photoAlice Holder died early Tuesday, April 8, 2014, at Overlake Hospital after suffering a stroke at home. She was 83 years old.

Alice was born in Rockford, Illinois, on November 3, 1930, the third child of Alice Paulson and Henry W. DeJong. A graduate of West High School, Rockford, Alice set off to the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where she majored in French. While there, she met the love of her life, Leonard G. Holder, on a blind date. They were married after her graduation in 1952, and resided in Ann Arbor while Len finished his senior year. Their first daughter Mary was born the night Len took his last final exam, and two months later the new family moved to Seattle, Washington, where Len began his life-long career with Boeing and Alice managed things at home. They first lived on Capitol Hill, but eventually moved to the East Side (Lake Hills). She gave birth to three more children, Martha, Michael, and Louise.

Alice was a charter member and active participant in her faith community at St. Louise Catholic Church, singing in the church choir for years and ministering with the Legion of Mary. She and Len were long-time members of the Seattle Chorale, with whom they sang some of the great choral works in concert with the Seattle Symphony.

Once the children were launched in school, Alice attended the University of Washington to earn a teaching credential in foreign language. She taught French at Sammamish High School for several years, until a severe back problem required her retirement. A highlight of her life was a trip to France in 1972 during which she navigated the language competently and gathered many great stories for class lessons. More recently, Alice, always an avid reader, digested books on American and European history and world leaders, with special interest in the Civil War and World War Two.

Her husband Leonard died suddenly in 1996. Shortly thereafter she moved from the family home to Silver Glen in Bellevue, where she enjoyed many friendships and served on the board.

Alice is survived by her sister, Mary Joan DeJong of Issaquah; her four children Mary Holder Naegeli (Andy) of Walnut Creek, CA, Martha Householter (Dennis) of Morton, IL, Michael Holder of Redmond, and Louise Holder of Kirkland; and by six grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her brother Henry DeJong and grandson Joel Householter.

A Mass of the Resurrection will be held at St. Louise Catholic Church, Bellevue, on Monday, April 14, at 11 a.m. Inurnment at Sunset Hills Memorial Park will be conducted in a private family service later.


Next post: the story behind the story


One Response to “To Know Christ and the Power of His Resurrection”

  1. emd5542 Says:

    Thank you, Mary. Prayerfully, your revealing work, with God alongside you, through Mansions of the Heart is helping steady you as you grieve and invite us to mourn with you. Your relationship with your parents and siblings is not like mine and so I welcome your sharing. Thanks be to God. Eleanor

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