Realizing the value of living among good people of Stettler

Dear Editor,

I have written letters to the editor before about how wonderful it is to live in Stettler, but an event happened recently that really showed me the value of living in this caring community and made me really appreciate the difficult jobs people perform that we often do not realize.

On February 23, my mother died suddenly and unexpectedly. I was at work when Terry Best from the Stettler RCMP arrived to give me the terrible news. He said that he chose to be the one to see me as he had known me for many years. Terry told me as kindly and gently as possible what had happened. I am not even sure of what my reaction was but I realized later how very sad and challenging it must be for him to be the bearer of such bad news. I am certain telling someone he knew was as terrible for him as it was for me.

Having to make heartrending choices when you are stunned by grief is surely the worst thing in the world but Corinne Nattestad at the Stettler Funeral Home managed to help us make arrangements with tact, grace, and real humanity. There was a sense of calmness, order, and genuine sympathy. There was no pressure to make choices and Corinne managed all of the arrangements for us from flowers, to notices, to food. Her low-key attitude was appreciated more than she knew. Corrine told me that they often meet the nicest people under the most difficult circumstances but I think we were the ones truly blessed to have such a warm and caring person managing our sad decisions with courtesy and real understanding.

Pastor Ross Helgeton presided over the funeral service. We later discovered he had not been well and was essentially out of the hospital on a day pass in order to be at our service. Pastor Ross made two visits to our home before the funeral. At the time of mom’s death, there were over a dozen funerals taking place in Stettler that week, several of which he was dealing with. Pastor Ross took the time to visit and to ensure we were coping despite a very busy time for him and a time when his own health was a concern.

Death touches all of our lives at some point but we don’t realize that it touches certain professions on a daily basis. I know all three of these wonderful people were affected by my mother’s death in one way or another. They do amazing and truly difficult jobs every day that are never recognized. They need our support as much as we need theirs.

I am in tears as I write this letter but I am also comforted by friends and by people that I also consider my friends, such as Terry, Corrine, and Pastor Ross, who have made my loss easier to bear by their kindness, compassion, and professionalism. I am truly grateful that they (and I) live in Stettler. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

With respect and gratitude,

Gail Peterson