Yvonne Messner decided to let the world know about her fulfilled life in her words.
The Vernon woman, 63, who died March 18 after a fourth battle with cancer, wrote her own obituary. She had been given six-to-24 months to live after her last diagnosis and stretched it to 26 months.
Messner decided in January to write her final story and her daughter, Amy, said she completed it the week before her passing.
“Well, I have dragged my heels, procrastinated and stretched time as far as I can,” wrote Messner. “But it has come to the point of saying goodbye. As much as I am saddened to be writing my farewell, I also must give thanks for all the blessings I received during my lifetime.”
Said Amy: “She had everything arranged before she passed. Her identity was greatly tied to being a caretaker. She was a foster parent for more than 30 years. That was what she found the hardest about this last fight with cancer – that others had to take care of her.”
Through Messner’s words, we learn she was born in the Columbia Valley to a true ranching family. She had two older siblings, and the three of them “enjoyed a childhood of unconditional love and support, punctuated with the occasional, much-needed kick in the butt for motivation.”
Messner met her soul mate, Gary, in 1980, and the couple had two children and four grandchildren, “every grandma’s dream come true.”
“She was strong, family-oriented, straight forward, honest and hard-working, especially on her golf game,” laughed Amy.
Messner had a wicked sense of humour. She would make strangers in grocery lineups laugh, and Amy said she wasn’t afraid to make light of her situation with cancer with all of the health professionals she met.
“It often caught them off guard,” Amy said.
Messner said she was given a family she was proud to be part of.
“To the people who entered my life and actually stayed around, your friendship gave me a sense of belonging that I never felt before,” she wrote. “That was a gift beyond measuring. I do not know how to thank you for enriching my life and giving it meaning. You are all amazing.”