Top, friend Krista Nolan and Baby Steven?s mother Elizabeth Hill, 19 at reception after the baby?s memorial service. Bottom (l-r) baby Steven's urn and flowers; Krista Nolan, Liz Hill and Pastor Chris Buma at reception.
Community Steps up for Memorial Service for Baby Steven
By Patric Hedlund
Members of the community gathered on Saturday, March 28 in Cuddy Hall to honor the brief life of Steven Otto Schimmel. “He was my little ‘S.O.S.’,” said his mother Elizabeth Hill, 19 in her eulogy. “He was the light of my life and the air that I breathe, my miracle, my baby.”
Friend Krista Nolan stood with her at the lectern, holding Hill’s hand to support her.
Steven was born December 14, 2008 in Bakersfield and died March 2, 2009 in Lockwood Valley. Nolan spoke of “the perfect little boy,” who was two and a half months old when he died. “He was so tiny, so small. He wasn’t here that long, but he touched all of us. He was a beautiful baby boy. We all wish he was still here,” Nolan said.
Pastor Chris Buma offered a warm and thoughtful service, “In which we gather to grieve, not to blame, to seek solace in God and faith.”
Speaking of the baby’s death, Buma said, “‘Why?’ is the question most of us ask, and ‘Why?’ is the question to which none of us can know the answer. There is One who does know—yet we may not get an answer… I firmly believe this was not God’s will, but it is His will that all things work together to bring good out of tragedy. God is with us not just in our joys, but in our sorrows as well….
“With our choices there are always consequences. God knows. God forgives. God gives. God loves.”
Music was provided by Bee Be Schwarm, Lynne Shane and Stan Smith of YesterYear. Christi and Michelle Rose performed a delicate and heartrending version of “Return to Pooh Corner.”
Buma quoted from the Gospel of Mark 10:13-16 “in which Jesus called for the children to be brought to him, …for of such is the kingdom of God…. Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.”
Buma, who lives in Pine Mountain and serves as pastor at Emamnuel Lutheran Church in Bakersfield, spoke about the approach of Easter as a time of hope after despair and noted: “We are all here today for service. Some gave money to help with Steven’s cremation. Some gave food. Some gave gifts of friendship. Some gave the gift of music. Some offered this meeting hall as a gift for this gathering. Elizabeth has been blessed with good friends such as the Jones family, who have given her a home in a time of need….”
Ginny Duhm, a member of the Pine Mountain Community Christian Church, sent an email list of those who stepped forward to contribute to Steven’s memorial and the reception: Bear Claw Bakery (rolls), Coffee Cantina (sandwiches), Dream Castle (sandwiches), Screaming Squirrel (sandwiches), Calvary Chapel (sandwiches) Ladies from Christian Women’s Club of Frazier Park (sandwiches), Frazier Mountain Community Church (floral purchase), Pine Mountain Community Christian Church (fruit, punch, chips, cookies, vegetables), Wild at Heart Nursery of Lebec (reduced price on floral arrangement), Four Square Church (cookies).
Cheryl, David and Drew Jones helped HiIl set up Cuddy Hall, which had been donated by the Lake of the Woods Property Owners Association.
The Mountain Communities Family Resource Center coordinated donations and payment to the mortuary home. Buma made handmade candles for a candle lighting. Naturalist Joel Robinson dedicated a wildflower walk in Wind Wolves Preserve after the service in Steven’s honor. Duhm and Dianne Parker prepared the punch and served the food for the reception.
Buma’s closing words were reflected in the generosity of those gifts: “Steven’s legacy may be that this community will learn to love a little better and forgive a little quicker….”
This is part of the April 03, 2009 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.
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