Salonen: Teatime will never be the same without Ann
Columnist Roxane Salonen shares memories of a "beautiful fellow mother, mentor, and comrade in Christ" who recently passed away.
“Hello, Roxane. We have never met, but I have wanted to meet you ever since you wrote an article…a few years ago,” the email from Ann Dahl began.
It was August 5, 2015, and she’d learned I’d been confronting some public criticism. “I just wanted you to know that many people do appreciate…your gracious tone in writing.”
At a coffee shop on Sept. 11, 2015, my seven-year friendship began with this beautiful fellow mother, mentor, and comrade in Christ. Her recent death has left me gripped and grieved.
We last met on St. Patrick’s Day 2022 at the Soirée Victorian Tea Room—our second visit there—for a rare, decadent treat. As always, her presence immediately warmed me. I’d arrived with a yoke on my shoulders, and left much lightened.
That’s how it was with Ann. The very atmosphere of the room brightened with her in it. She was always respectful, and as her obituary noted, curious. She approached me with grace, wanting to know about my life, and in turn, sharing pieces of hers.
Ann was a devoted mother and devoted wife. She’d always ask for updates on my family, but gladly shared hers as well, speaking admirably about her children and adoringly of her grandchildren.
I’m finding her death especially difficult. Its suddenness shocked me. Though I hadn’t heard from Ann over the summer, that wasn’t atypical. Spring had become our season.
So, seeing her sweet face attached to an obituary seemed altogether wrong. I hadn’t even known she was ill, so hadn’t known to even pray for her. I’d do anything to have a chance to say goodbye, and be near her for even a little while as she drew closer to meeting the Lord she loved so much.
Death doesn’t make sense to the living, and it shouldn’t. We were made for life. That’s why eternal life makes sense. An eternal God wouldn’t create us only to have us disappear, but would yearn to be united with us, in love, forever.
Ann, I wish I could have told you how truly dear you were to me, and what a treasure it was to know you these past years. I’d expected more time with you—and yes, I feel slighted. But God saw deeper, even though I don’t understand.
But I think I know what you would have held out for me, had we had our spring 2023 tea. You would have reminded me that this life is just the prelude to the most exquisite symphony conceivable; one I believe you’re now enjoying.
You now know, Ann, all the answers to the questions we pondered together. I always sensed you held just a few more secrets to God’s heart than I did, and now I’m sure of it.
But you’re deeply missed. For those closest to you, I offer this beatitude from Matthew 5:4, which I, too, am clinging to: “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”
Go gently into his arms, lovely lady.
Salonen, a wife and mother of five, works as a freelance writer and speaker in Fargo. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org, and find more of her work at Peace Garden Passage, roxanesalonen.com