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An Angel Named Rose

Angels are all around us. They walk on Earth beside us and flutter over us as we go through life. Thousands of you have sent your angels to be with my Marjorie during these last few months. Little did I know that Marjorie gained the most amazing angel in June, just days after her second chemo round.

Rose Rolfsen flew to heaven on June 24, at the age of 84.

So who is Rose?

Rewind to April 2011, I had just returned home from treatment and was still trying to get my bearings in the new world of recovery. More days than not, my heart was full of sadness and grief as I began to process the years lost to my eating disorder.

It was a beautiful spring afternoon when an older woman knocked on my door. I answered and she greeted me with a smile. She explained that she was going door to door to raise money for Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Rose was an avid runner and even competed in triathlons. Remember, Rose was 80 at the time! Yes, she was extraordinary.

“I compete in triathlons too,” I said with excitement. Then I realized I should have said ‘competed,’ past tense. I had sold all of my triathlon gear a few days before and was still grieving the sport I loved.

Rose inquisitively asked why I no longer raced and before I knew it I found myself crying to Rose about my eating disorder and all of the things it had stolen from me. I told her how much I loved triathlons, but it was too risky to race again and that I was focused on recovery to hopefully start a family.

Rose and I hugged and cried. After an hour long talk, I wrote her a check for her fundraising. It wasn’t much, but, like I said, you just could not say no to Rose. We hugged again and off she went to her mini-van.

I knew in that moment I was meant to meet Rose. God sent her to give me a hug and let me know that it would all be okay, that racing did not define me. I had something greater in store.

Rose and I emailed back and forth. She brought me her famous ‘bread’ and told me about her races and I told her about my recovery. When Manning was born, Rose and I met for coffee and took this picture. It was the last time I saw her.

206289_10100473842906876_1147262218_nBut it certainly was not the last time we spoke. We emailed here and there, sent Christmas cards and I saw pictures her grandchildren posted on Facebook. As usual, she was always on the go and of course, still raising money for LLS, a disease she lost her husband of 62-years to. Rose raised over $120k for LLS. Simply amazing.

Even after our move from Baton Rouge, I thought of her often. The mark she left on my heart was huge. There is no doubt in my mind God sent her to my door that day in April. These last two months I have thought of her, wanting to email her to let her know about Marjorie, but I never found the time.

Today, as I walked in the door after a night in Jacksonville and two days at the hospital, I see my high school alumni magazine on the counter. I get the kids settled, unload the car and herd the dogs back into the house. About an hour later, I find time to flip through the magazine to see what my fellow St. Joseph gals are up to.

For absolutely no reason, I read all the way to the back page to the ‘In Memoriam’ section. I have never looked at this section, ever, until today. My eyes fell immediately to her name, Rose Schwartz Rolfsen, and my heart broke.

What? When did this happen? I just saw a picture on Facebook or maybe that was a few months ago. I can’t remember.

I pick up my phone and go straight to her Facebook page and there it was. Tributes, messages of love and longing. Tears streamed down my face.

Jordan came in and as soon as I said her name he knew. He knew how much she meant to me and the funny thing was that we only physically met a few times, but that did not matter. Our hearts knew each other and she was my angel on earth.

As I went back to find her picture with Manning, I suddenly realized why I am just now finding out about her passing. It was all Rose’s doing. I might not have told her about Marjorie, but she knew. And as she became Marjorie’s angel, she made sure my focus stayed on Marjorie.

I read about Rose’s passing just hours after getting news about my baby’s PET scan. The day we received the most wonderful news about Marjorie is when she let me know she was no longer here, but in more ways than one she was still with me.

Marjorie’s scan showed that the remaining tumor and cancer cells are significantly less aggressive than when she was first diagnosed. It also confirmed the cancer did not metastasize to the bone or anywhere else. All really great news! We will go back in three months for another CT and PET scan in hopes that the cancer might even be gone! I received this news and felt like I could breath for the first time. I can breath for at least three months and I will take it.

As much as my heart aches, I can’t help but smile. This was all Rose. She has been watching over my Marjorie and me for nearly two months. I have no doubt she is running heaven with her soulmate, probably still trying to raise money and giving out her ‘famous bread’.

So to my sweet Rose: Thank you. Thank you for knocking on my door all those years ago. Thank you for your hugs, your emails and coffee talks. Thank you for loving me and sharing your heart. And most of all thank you for watching over my girl. I will carry you in my heart always and forever and one day I will tell Marjorie all about an angel named Rose.

**For more information on Rose’s extraordinary mission that her family is continuing go to www.raisingforrosie.com

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  • Reply
    Ashlyn Elze
    August 7, 2015 at 11:15 pm

    We never know who our angels are, but some of us are lucky enough to recognize one when we meet them. ❤️

  • Reply
    Chuck Rolfsen
    August 8, 2015 at 10:10 am

    Thanks for sharing this story about our mom. We know that there are many more lives that she touched in the simple ways of baking bread and giving hugs….may God continue to watch over and bless you and your family.

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