This is a sad time for my family. Last week, my Mother in Law Louise Dubois passed away.
Louise was a woman of grit who sacrificed to pave the way for future generations of homeschooling mothers. In the early 1980’s she became a born-again Christian. When her two young children (my husband and his sister) started coming home from school having been taught some things that didn’t align with her new Christian belief system, Louise – with a stubborn spirit of determination that came to define her – decided she would educate her children at home. But a few challenges stood in her way. Her native language was French and she was only just beginning to learn to speak English. Her local school board required that all instruction be in English, so in order to homeschool her children she had to improve her English skills. Then she applied for permission to homeschool her children but the local schoolboard denied her that right, so she became one of the first parents in her state to appeal the schoolboard’s decision and win. Finally, shortly after winning right to homeschool, her husband moved to Europe for a time, leaving her with two young children at home and no income to support them. Another woman might have felt she had no choice but to enroll her children in public school while she earned a living to support the family, but Louise was not an ordinary lady. She was completely dedicated to home education and the concept that parents have the ability and the right to educate their own children. She was resourceful and she found ways to make homeschooling work for her family, even living without running water and electricity for a few years. We once calculated that in the course of raising her children, Louise baked 40,000 loaves of bread from scratch. (Yes, forty-thousand loaves!) Her sacrifice and dedication to home education changed the way our family views education and for that I am deeply grateful. Without her example, we wouldn’t be homeschooling today.
In early February, Louise became ill with what we thought was a simple flu. Much to our shock, at the hospital we were told that she was dying. Her wish was to die at home, on the land her mother had given her, and so our family temporarily moved into her home to care for her in her final days. She was sent home from the hospital to die with support from the hospice team (an experience which I will be writing more about later). The doctor told us she might live as long as a week or two but later we found out that her medical notes warned the hospice staff, “You may not get to meet this patient. She may no longer be alive 24 hours after being discharged from the hospital.” But remember that stubborn spirit of determination I told you about? Having her son and grandchildren with her seemed to give her a renewed “joie de vie” and she lived another 12 weeks. For most of those weeks she was aware, remarkably free from pain and was able to enjoy the extra weeks God gave her with her family.
Memorial Service Information
If you knew Louise or her family, you are invited to join us as we celebrate her life:
Date: Sunday May 19, 2019
Time: 11:00 am
Address: 640 Montgomery Street, Custer, South Dakota
A simple French lunch will be served after the Memorial Service, in honor of Louise.
Instead of having a guestbook, we will be asking everyone to write down their favorite memory of Louise. We will provide paper for this at the memorial service, but if you can’t attend the memorial service (or if you just want to get a head start) please print this page.
(You can give us your completed page in person or email me at AlinaJoy@HappyUnconventionalLife for the address of where to mail your completed page if necessary.)
Instead of Flowers…
Every obituary says “In lieu of flowers…” and people send flowers anyway. Louise was adamant that she didn’t want people to buy flowers for her after she was dead, so this is what we are doing instead:
Please take the money you would have spent on funeral flowers and go do something good in the world with it. Maybe pay for a stranger’s groceries at the store, cover the cost of a single Mom’s electric bill, think of someone going through a hard time and pamper them… just do something to encourage someone. Then use this Random Acts of Kindness printable page to write down what you did and give it to us. We will compile everyone’s kind acts into a book and that will be our permanent “bouquet of flowers” from the seeds you plant.
If you are a blog reader who never met my mother in law, but would like to participate, feel free to simply leave a comment sharing your Random Act of Kindness in my mother in law’s honor.