Obituary of Elizabeth Anne (Crispina) Johnson - Written 3/20/22 by Elizabeth
I was born in Greenfield, Massachusetts on March 27, 1954
Date of death: April 25, 2023
My parents were Kathryn Mary (Hicks) Roberts and Donald Dwight Roberts.
My surviving family members are as follows: my husband Bradley Peter Johnson to whom I have been married for (47) years and three children – Jeremiah Johnson, Alia Heise, and Celeste Gregor. I have nine grandchildren (Tayler, Hunter, Skyler, and Amber Johnson, Faeli (Felicia) Noah, and Ellie (Eliot Heise) and Dulcy and Willa Gregor). Also dear to my heart are two step-granddaughters Meredith and Samantha Gregor, and my husband’s niece Elizabeth (Liz) Johnson who spent time living with us during her childhood years. I have two older sisters - Sally Phillips from Massachusetts and Linda Hamel from Ontario, Canada.
Some of my most joyous childhood times were those spent camping and canoeing with my family (thank you Mom and Dad) and playing in our quintessential backyard brook making little pools, clearing away sticks and debris to free the water and send it merrily on its way. I loved watching the birds that made their homes all around us. The kingfishers and, of course, the chickadees were favorites. (Thank you, Mom for helping me identify them.) The hilly woods on the far side of the brook held its own opportunities for adventures, including the that of occasionally getting just a wee bit lost and arriving home late for dinner. On the two afternoons a week that our small stone library was open (conveniently situated adjacent to our house), I would curl up in a corner of the children’s section and often not go home until one of my sisters was sent to collect me. Spending time on my neighbor’s farm and particularly with her cows round out this list.
As an adult, those same joys remained: camping, canoeing, reading, and a bit of homestead farming (including training a team of oxen, Lars and Anders.) However, I also added writing to the list- particularly writing for children. I was truly excited when four of my stories (faith-based from Eastern Orthodox traditions) were published. It was a highlight for me, indeed.
Places I lived: Massachusetts, Minnesota, Morocco, California, Colorado, and New York.
Places I focused my energy and a few of the ways I spent my life hours over the years: homeschooling, teaching elementary school classes and poetry, writing, a tad of homestead farming, and involvement in my grandchildren’s lives.
A few of my favorite authors were: Madeleine L'Engle; A.A. Milne; Frances Hodgson Burnett; and Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.
Expressions I used frequently: Onward and upward; Timing is everything; God is good – always (an expression taught to me by a dear friend;) We’ve got this; Be kind; Thank you; and I love you. At bedtime it was always, “Sleep with the angels.”
And one closing bit of information about me:
I detest the expression, “She lost her battle with cancer.” If you find yourself passing along news regarding my death, please do not say it that way. “She lost her battle with cancer.” Yes, ultimately it was cancer that caused my bodily demise, but I will confess that I find that statement unsettling because its focal message is that “I lost.” And if someone loses, the logical extrapolation is that that makes them the loser. (Perhaps I did not fight hard enough? Perhaps I chose the wrong strategy? Perhaps in some way or another I did not engage in the realities of the situation as I ought to have done?) Some people may declare that it is only a matter of semantics. After all, “losing their battle” is just the popular expression that is used. But having lived with cancerous cells taking over my body, I want to say that at least for me, semantics do matter. I am not the loser. Yes, cancer killed my body. It did not kill me, my soul. I still am. Somehow. Somewhere. In as ethereal a way as your mind, your belief system, and your heart will allow you to imagine it, believe it.
I have won because by God’s grace my soul lives on. I have won because I was blessed by being bathed in the mercy and strength of phenomenal people around me who poured out their love for me in truly sacrificial ways. I have won because I was given the opportunity to receive the ministrations of the natural world around me, the songs of the birds lifting my spirits, the sound of water calming my fretful mind, and the beauty of the hills, where I have spent so much of my life, blessing me with immeasurable memories and joy. I have won because of having lived my life first within the nurturing sphere of my parents, and then by sharing the next 47 years with my extraordinary husband. I have won by having so many years with my dear, dear children and grandchildren and then, of course, with so many precious friends. I have won because I have been gifted with dying without fear of what lies ahead, but with gratitude and with awe at life itself.
So dear ones, endeavor to focus on those truths, and in your grieving may you also find healing and peace.