Elisabeth Gerarda Notenboom

February 22, 1921 – May 4, 2003

Elisabeth G. Notenboom
Elisabeth G. Notenboom (Art by PaintedSnapshot)

Age 82, of Kirkland, died May 4th 2003. Survived by her husband of 55 years, Leo, her son and daughter-in-law Leo and Kathy, sister Truus, longtime friend Marja, devoted caregiver Kathleen, loyal pet Sassy, numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and friends both here and abroad. A lover of animals of all kinds, there are many awaiting her at The Rainbow Bridge. She will be missed by her family, her friends, and her grand-dogs.

Services will be held 11AM Saturday May 17th at Holy Family Catholic Church, Kirkland, reception to follow.

In lieu of flowers, memorials to your favorite animal welfare organization.

May 17, 2003
Leo A. Notenboom

First, on behalf of my father, Kathy and myself, thank you for being here. It means a lot.

Unfortunately my dad can’t be here today. We told him the day after my mother died, and he clearly understood, but due to his Alzheimer’s he seemed to have mostly forgotten by the next day. Rather than continually reminding him and having him re-experience his grief, we’ve made the difficult decision to simply let him be.

It’s hard to know what to say when your mother dies. Even though you’d think it might, the months leading up to this didn’t really prepare me.

I know that I’m lucky to have had her as my mother. I think she did a great job raising me. Independence, loyalty, work ethic, practicality, even some of my inherent skepticism are all things that I think I got from her.

I know that my father felt lucky as well. As recently as just a few months ago he’d tell me “I’ve made lots of mistakes, but the one thing I did right was to marry your mother”.

My mother was deeply devoted to her family. The most obvious example of course is how she took care of my father during his decline of the past several years – perhaps even to her own detriment. I know that years ago it was my future that was her biggest worry. When I graduated from high school and my dad wanted me to go to a trade school, it was my mom that insisted on college, even to the point of working outside the home cleaning house for others in order to make sure we could afford it. I’m grateful that she was able to see the results of that effort.

I think she felt life had real purpose for her when she could take care of others. At least one of those house cleaning jobs transitioned into a care taking role as the client couple aged. Taking care of my father was, to her, an important duty, a responsibility. “He didn’t ask for this” she once told me about his Alzheimer’s. In the end, she realized and accepted the necessity of his moving out, but I think she couldn’t help feeling like she’d left a job undone.

I’ve made a big deal about her love of animals. I spent some time going through photo albums recently, and you can see from the earliest photos that they’ve always played a big role in her life. There was never enough room on her bed for all the cats & dogs. Her dog, Beertje, even accompanied her on a boat trip back to Holland in the early 50’s. Dogs weren’t supposed to travel in the passenger cabin, but of course that’s where he ended up.

A strong woman, the only time I’ve really seen her shed tears is at the death of pet. I know that the most recent death last September, of Michael, her Boxer, was very hard on her. For several of us involved in these recent months we sometimes think that may have been the real beginning of the end.

What will I miss the most? There’s the obvious stuff – a mother’s unconditional love, the stories of her youth, the connection she represented to family overseas. But there’s more. Just prior to her illness we had been spending Thursday afternoon’s together as a break from her taking care of my dad, and I’ll miss the talking we did then. I’ll miss the crowd of pigeons and squirrels in her back yard, or even the way she spoiled our dogs.

In the end, I’m very grateful that she died the way she lived … at home and as independent as possible, her closest family nearby, and with her dog on the bed.

As I said, I don’t really know what to say at a time like this. Anything I say seems somehow incomplete. But it’s kind of like emptying her house … we can’t keep everything, so we make hard choices. I can’t put everything into words.

What I do know is that she was loved. She is loved. And she is, and will be, missed.


The Rainbow Bridge

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together….

… Author unknown

De Regenboog-Brug

Gewoon aan deze kant van de hemel is er een plek die de Regenboog-Brug wordt genoemd.

Wanneer een dier sterft, dat heel dierbaar is voor iemand hier, dan gaat dit huisdier naar de Regenboog-Brug. Daar zijn grasvelden en heuvels voor al onze speciale vrienden zodat ze samen kunnen rennen en spelen. Daar is een overvloed aan eten, water en zonneschijn en onze vrienden hebben het warm en behaaglijk.

Alle dieren die ziek of oud waren worden weer gezond en vitaal, zij die gewond of verminkt waren worden weer heel en sterk, net zoals wij hen herinneren in onze dromen van de dagen en tijden die voorbij zijn. De dieren zijn blij en tevreden, behalve voor een kleinigheid, ze missen allemaal iemand die voor hen heel dierbaar is en die achter moest blijven.

Allemaal rennen en spelen ze samen, maar er komt een dag wanneer er plotseling een stopt en staart in de verte. Zijn heldere ogen staan gespannen, zijn enthousiast lichaam beeft. Plotseling begint hij weg te rennen van de groep, vliegend over het groene gras, dragen zijn benen hem sneller en sneller.

Jij bent gezien en als jij eindelijk je speciale vriend ontmoet, omhels je elkaar in een vreugdevolle hereniging om nooit meer gescheiden te worden. Gelukkige kusjes regenen op je gezicht, je handen liefkozen zijn geliefde hoofd en jij kijk opnieuw in de vertrouwde ogen van je huisdier, die al zolang uit je leven weg was maar nooit uit je hart.

Dan gaan jullie samen over de Regenboog-Brug…..

… Auteur onbekend