Support for Lesia Herider's Family

Support for Lesia Herider's Family

From Angela Gaffney

The Herider-Schnell family give graciously to others; we write today to ask with thoughtful prayer that you consider giving to them in this time of need. All donations will help to pay medical and end-of-life expenses.

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Here’s to our beautiful friend Lesia who taught us all about strength, faith, love and positivity, even in the depths of great hardship.  God called Lesia home on August 14, 2021 and she is greatly missed by all who knew and loved her.  

Lesia’s health journey with Cushing’s and Cancer was a long and difficult one.  Her husband Daryel made the amazing choice of stepping down from his high-demand job to a more flexible option that allowed him to care for her as her medical needs grew.  While it was wonderful for him to walk alongside Lesia in this journey, it did not provide adequate means to cover all the medical bills and end-of-life expenses.    

The Herider-Schnell family give graciously to others, and we write today to ask with thoughtful prayer that you consider giving to them in this time of need.  We are so grateful for your love and support.  Your donations will help pay for medical and end-of-life expenses.  Thank you for your support and love in this difficult and stressful time; we are grateful for you.  <3

Lesia’s life celebration took place in Castle Rock, CO on Saturday, August 28.  This written eulogy will help you understand how incredibly loved Lesia was by everyone who was blessed to know her.  May her prayer touch your heart and provide you comfort today and always . . .

Lesia Ann Herider was born in Lancaster, CA on September 23, 1966.  Her mom Patty will tell you she was a determined, driven and strong-willed little one from the start.  I think we’d all agree when I say this makes total sense – I’d describe her all the same today and it definitely describes how she lived life.

Growing up in a tight-knit family surely instilled strong family values in Lesia.  I guess all the stories about Grandma Herider’s rule that everybody better show up to the family events and get along struck a chord with her.  Lesia deeply loved her family, and would share stories so often that you felt like you’ve known them forever before ever having the chance to meet them in person! 

She loved telling everyone that her grandkids were way cuter than yours.  She’d share their lemonade stands on FB and tell everyone to go.  She loved all the video calls and would count down the days until she could squeeze them tight.  Every conversation included stories like this; Kajla, she was so proud of you and your friend setting up preschool for the littles when Covid hit and always talked about how dedicated a mom you are.  Grant, she loved watching you be an amazing dad and was proud of all your career success too.  As I understand it, you’re a lot like your mom – each of you could walk into a room alone and leave with many friends.  Billy, your mom would share how much she loved it when you got home from work and the two of you would sit and talk.  She also loved your heart for adventure and I believe, loved living vicariously through your adventure stories.  Jake, she praised you for your strength and resilience and would brag about your incredible cooking skills.  Daryel, she described you as her rock, her best friend, her steady ground and she loved you tremendously. 

Family was everything to her. She loved each of you deeply and unconditionally.  But it didn’t stop there. 

She valued her friendships all the same.

I saw Lesia always putting God, her family and her friends first.  But in further conversation with all of you, I realize I may have it wrong.  You see, you all thought it should be Bowling, God, Family, Friends.  I’ve heard that she spent so much time in the bowling alley that for many years all of her stories started with “So, I was in this bar at the bowling alley . . .” 

Lesia was a fierce, competitive bowler.  I saw bits of this competitiveness shine when we’d pull out a card game during one of our girl’s nights.  Highly accomplished; serving on the USA Women’s Bowling Team 2 times and being inducted in the Bowling Hall of Fame.  Her dedication and drive were celebrated often and it was no more apparent than through all of the FB posts on her page after she passed.  The most beautiful thing though is that while her success was celebrated, even more so was the love that all of her friends and acquaintances had for her.  Such a deep level of appreciation for her friendship, for her care and guidance and the support she provided to each of you.  It sounds like even though she was as competitive as they come, she was an amazing cheerleader too.  She LOVED her bowling community. 

I met Lesia a few years ago, it was right before her journey with Cushing’s had begun.  She showed up for a dinner I was having for my Women’s small group from church.  Honestly, I remember feeling slightly intimidated, she had such a strong, confident presence.  She had a boldness about her that I was drawn to.  And when we opened up our conversation on scripture, she had very sound advice and experiences to call on and share with us. 

My goal in starting the Women’s small group was a bit selfish – I wanted to get to know other women, make friends and grow in faith together.  Little did I know the plans God had for us – it’s grown into a strong sisterhood.  We’ve shared laughs, tears, celebrations and baptism together. 

I’ve learned so much from Lesia:

She showed up no matter what.

She taught us that you can be happy even when things are hard.

She radiated positivity.

She was always more interested in what was going in any of our lives more than sharing about her own.  Even when the paramedics and firemen came to pick her up for her ambulance ride, she was asking if she’d interrupted their dinner.  Hoping they’d had enough to eat already. 

She loved a good laugh. 

She also loved making jokes – I was with her in ER one late night while Daryel was making his way home from work travel.  The MRI technician had taken her back for testing and after he brought her back into the room, Daryel walked in.  She looked at that MRI tech with the purest of all faces and said “This is my boyfriend Daryel”  The tech said hello and Lesia says “just make sure you don’t tell my husband” and that man’s face looked horrified.  As if he had walked into something he wanted no part in.  It wasn’t until she and Daryel started joking that her husband has the same name and looks just like him that he realized the joke was on him.  She knew what to do to brighten up a challenging situation. 

She loved deeply.

She was fearless.

She trusted more than anyone I’ve ever met.  When I say she trusted, I mean that she trusted God with everything.  Not once in her journey did I ever hear her complain, not even one little ounce.  There was no “why me” or pity party to be had. 

The size of her smile would tell you she lived fully in peace. 

When Lesia was diagnosed with cancer, she shared with me that she made the immediate decision to give it all over to God.  “There’s nothing I can do to fix it – it’s his to fix” she’d say. 

So powerful.  So trusting. 

And way easier said than done.

But I watched her do it.  Over and over again, she trusted him fully with her life.

About a week or two before Lesia passed we were talking about the progression of her diseases and I asked her if she was scared.  She immediately said no.  She was so matter of fact.  No. 

She said “Ang, the minute I got diagnosed, I handed it all over to God and I made a promise thereafter that I would never take it back”.  “Why would I take something back that I still have no ability to fix?”

“Can you imagine”, she said, “how freeing it would be for all of us?  Just to give everything over to God?  Because when you can give it all over to God, it allows you to focus on all of HIS blessings.” 

“We all focus too much on the hard stuff” she said, “and we need to be focusing on all the blessings”

And man, even in the darkest days of her journey, Lesia’s life was full of blessings – her amazing, husband, her incredible children, her grandbabies who are cuter than all of yours, her friends who loved her just as deeply as she loved them, and a community of athletes who all shared their love and competitiveness with her.

God’s blessings are everywhere, we just need to be open to seeing them. 

When you leave today, we have something for you to take with you.  It’s Lesia’s prayer for each us to “Give it all over to God and then focus on all of HIS blessings.”

In Philippians 4: 6-7

Paul writes:

Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

Lesia experienced God’s immense peace that exceeds anything we could ever understand.  As we celebrate Lesia today I pray that God’s peace also remain in you!  And as Lesia tells us, your pain, your grief, your suffering . . .  Give it all over to God and then focus on all of HIS blessings. 

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