“Wow, the view from this side of the bridge is so beautiful!”
Today is February 27, 2023, and just a few minutes ago God decided he needed a new “chef, head gardener, and inspirational writer. “ He found all three in Sandra Lambiotte. She died at home, peacefully in her sleep Sunday night following after a long, very long, and fierce fight against cancer and other health issues. Her husband, Mike, was by her side, and they were holding hands. She looked at him and said, I Love you.” And he said,” I love you more.” And she followed with, “I love you more more.” Later that night, she just closed her eyes.
As she approached the Gates to Heaven”, God said, “Sandra, welcome to my Kingdom and your eternal home. I know you were not ready, but I needed you…we needed you. Mike will be OK; you have trained him well. And, do not be surprised. I have a feeling it won’t be too long before he joins you, but that is a conversation for another time.”
“I have seen your beautiful gardens, the wonderful French meals you prepared, and read your blog. I needed you. Trust me, Mike will make it.”
“In the meantime, it’s time to check you in. Here is what I have on record. You were born in Oakland, Maryland on October 11, 1950. Your mother’s name was Louise Fears, from Collins Mississippi. Your father was Cecil Hahn from Oakland. They met while your mother was a nurse at Hopemont Hospital. Your parents were only married for a few years before they divorced. They both died years ago, and you are the last remaining member of your immediate family. You have no brothers or sisters. Ah, I see Mike was also an only child.”
“Your mother moved to Clarksburg, West Virginia, and then married Lester Ogden, of Enterprise, West Virginia in 1953. You were a member of the First Presbyterian Church in Clarksburg. It was there you met your childhood friend Janet when you were both three. Amazing, you two have talked almost daily for 70 years.”
“You went to Towers Elementary School, then to Central Junior High School, and graduated from Washington Irving High School in 1968. After high school graduation, you immedicably went to work for the FBI in Washington D.C. Then you worked for the Letters Carrier Union in D.C. Soon after that, I see you had enough of the big city and its politics and returned to Clarksburg in 1970. A month after returning, you became the bookkeeper for Avis Rent-A-Car and attended business school while with Avis.
On July 1, 1972, you married Mike (Lambiotte) at the First Presbyterian Church in Clarksburg. You were high school sweethearts, meeting when you were 15 and he was 16. And, you were together for 57 years and married for 50 years and seven months, until you came to live with me in Heaven?”
“A few weeks after your marriage, you moved to Virginia Beach, Virginia. While in Virginia Beach, you worked for the Virginia Beach City Public Schools for 30 years: first as the bookkeeper for Kempsville High School, then in the Guidance Department and main office at Princess Anne Middle School. For a while, you attended classes at Old Dominion University in Norfolk. Then, you were hired as the office manager at the newly opened 1,500 students, Larkspur Middle School. After some changes in leadership at Larkspur, you thought it was time to move on. You were then hired as the Executive Assistant to the Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources, retiring in 2005.”
“During the last twenty years in Virginia Beach, you and Mike had a small farm where you raised chickens, pigs, geese, Angora goats, two beautiful Labrador Retrievers, and wool-breed sheep (12). You learned to spin and weave, using the wool from your own sheep, and won several awards for your spinning and weaving – “Best in Show, Sheep to Shawl” at the Virginia Beach Convention Center Annual Art Show – two years in a row. You also taught basket-making classes at the Virginia Beach Art Center.
“In 2005, after you both retired from the Virginia Beach school system, you decided to return to Clarksburg to take care of your elderly mothers. That must have been tough, considering everything you had in Virginia, but you were both only children. “
“It did not take long for you to get involved in the Clarksburg community, in between caring for your mother and training Mike. You were a member of the League for Service and the Goff Plaza Garden Club, winning several Blue Ribbons for your flower arrangements and individual entries in area flower shows. You also served a term as the club president. You were also a member of the Harrison County Senior Center and also a member of the Oral Lake Fishing Club. Sandra, you had a very busy and fulfilling life.”
“You leave behind, Mike, your husband for over 50 years. I never blessed you with children. There are some distant cousins on both sides, but you have not had contact for decades.”
“Back to why you are here. Oh, Sandra, I have had my eyes on you for the last few years: following your love for cooking, especially French cooking; the beautiful gardens you created around your home (Maison la Jardin) on Main Street in Clarksburg, and your inspirational posts on your blog (whereinspirationblooms.com). You are creative, caring, a hard worker, and always put others before yourself. Here is your first Heavenly assignment: Look to your right. As you can see, my gardens need hour hands. About your inspirational posts, which helped so many: Together, somehow, we will find a way to continue your writing.”
“Well Sandra, that’s about it. You have had quite a rewarding life and touched the lives of so many. Look down, yes, that is Mike. No, he is not really alone. You have left a little of you everywhere he looks, around your home and gardens. He will manage the pain.”
Sandra spoke up, “God, make sure Mike honors my wishes: I want to be cremated and buried in the plot not far from our home, the plot Mike and I bought a few years ago. He can walk to visit if he chooses. He is to bury me when the peonies bloom, with a small private graveside service and church service. Ask him to see if the minister at the First Presbyterian Church could say a few words. No flowers. Mike will make sure I have plenty of peonies, daffodils, Irises, and some French poppies from our gardens.”
“Instead of my friends sending flowers, ask them to make a contribution in my name to the West Virginia Botanic Garden in Morgantown, West Virginia. Mike said he will match all donations and create something special, inspirational, and permanent within the Botanic Gardens. Here is their address: West Virginia Botanic Garden, 714 Venture Drive, PMB 121, Morgantown, WV 26508. This is the link for donations: https://www.wvbg.org/tributes-and-memorials/ Make sure to enter my name.” “ Do not worry, Sandra, I will send my most dependable Angel to make sure your wishes are carried out. Right now, Mike is trying to pick up all the pieces, pieces scattered near and far, large and small.”
“Well, Sandra, it is about time. Fear not, notice you are now pain-free and walking like you did when you were 20. I know enduring cancer, crippling arthritis, kidney and bladder issues, and other serious health problems was not easy on you and Mike. You wanted to keep everything private. I understand. Keep in mind, my son was beside you every day of your suffering. Remember how he suffered on the cross, the pain he endured. You did not suffer alone. He rose with you and opened the gates of Heaven for you.”
“Welcome, Sandra Lambiotte to your eternal home…enjoy the beauty and inspiration of these heavenly gardens. Rest today my child, for tomorrow, you go to work. “
For those interested, online condolences may be expressed through the Davis – Weaver Funeral Home, 329 E. Main St., Clarksburg, West Virginia www.davisweaverfuneralhome.com. Note: Davis-Weaver has been proud to serve Mike and Sandra during this difficult time. Mike would also like to thank the doctors at UHC, especially Oncology, those who attended to her, WVU Home Health Services, and Amedisys Hospice. All the nurses were caring and gentle while caring for Sandra and counseling Mike.
It may take a while for Mike to respond to the condolences, but he will. Sandra will see to it! Right now, though, he is experiencing a bit of a major problem…fitting some of the pieces back together again. He is a bit like Humpty Dumpty! However, unlike Humpty, “All the King’s horses and all the King’s men will put Mike back together again.”
And finally, “Rest in peace my precious. There will never be a peony bloom, a daffodil open, an iris show its beauty, a hydrangea reach to touch the sun, nor a field of lavender dance in the wind, that I shall not think of you and the love we shared. I love you more” – Mike
8 thoughts on “Sandra Lambiotte…truly ‘Where Inspiration Bloomed’”
So sorry for your loss Mike. Although I never met Sandra, I enjoyed her FB entries and felt a connection. I am Vickie Bowden’s aunt, living in RI.
My heart is both heavy with sadness now as I read that my dear blog friend has left us but also my heart leaps with joy that she is with the Lord. As I picture her there after reading this beautiful sad post, Sandra is so very real to me and I am thankful for the gift of the words left to honor her life. While I know the road ahead for Mike will be difficult it is also easy to have faith that God truly will be with him every step of the way.
I hope you keep Sandra’s beautiful blog live, Mike, for us to return to. God bless and keep you,
Very nicely written, I feel like I knew her much better after reading. I am sorry for your loss.
Thank you, Mike, for this wonderful tribute to your dear Sandra. Although we never met here on Earth, I look forward to meeting her in heaven’s garden someday. Her words and love of beauty were truly inspiring.
Praying for comfort and peace for you as you walk through these difficult days.
Estimado Mike, no se como espresar mi emoción al leer tu carta. Mis emociones han salido de lo más profundo de mi ser. No exagero nada…Sandra mediante sus escritos sacaba de su alma todo lo bello que ella llevaba.
Ella está en mis oraciones, nnunca la podré olvidar porque llegó a mí en un momento no muy bueno y sus escritos llegaron al fondo de mi ser porque encontré en ella alguien maravillosa. Transmitía bondad, delicadeza, sencillez, amistad…y eran realmente agradables los momentos que se leían sus mensajes, siempre positivos y hermosos.
Un gran abrazo y que Dios te de la serenidad que necesitas para superar tan gran pèrdida.
Reading Sandra’s blog archives makes me feel both sad and grateful. Grateful for people like her who bring beauty into the world. She lives on in her words and the lives she touched.
Blessings upon you, Mike
First, apologies for hogging the comments section with 2 posts
but while reading the archives the radio started playing “Folk Club Song” by Vicki Swan & Jonny Dyer which is so spot on:
…”i didn’t know her well, I barely knew her name, but I miss her conversation and her friendship all the same”
Sandra’s blog is like a glass of cool water on a parched day, an oasis.
A most beautiful legacy
This may be the most beautifully written and touching obituary I have ever read. It captures the Sandra we knew here and tells us so much more. I hope you will leave her blog active so we can go back and refer to her beautiful writing on days when only Sandra’s words and images can lift us.
I’m so deeply sorry for your loss. Your love story is a beautiful one — and that makes the loss all the harder.
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