My daughter Rachel emailed me from Tanzania asking if I had heard about Sarah and Michael’s mom, Kathy Bernert.


Heard what? I wondered, already fearing the worst.


Knots starting tying up in my stomach.


Sarah and Michael’s mom, Kathleen Carol Bernert, 51, had died.


I weep just writing these words. I listen to Wayne Watson’s song, HOME FREE


Rachel shared with me the words on Sarah’s Facebook page:


My beautiful mother, friend and role model, departed for Heaven this Monday.… Thank you for everyone’s wonderful support and love.”


Those words by the sweet 25-year-old Sarah about her mom just make me weep. I am so sad for Sarah and for her two sisters and brother.


Kathleen Carol Bernert is the nicest person. She was grace and kindness and gentleness embodied. Born May 24, 1962 and passed away Oct. 28, 2013.

“Our mom, sister, daughter and wife.”


She was such a wonderful mom and person. Her whole family was a pillar in our community. They are the kind of people you just want to be around. Kathleen exudes grace and warmth.


I saw Kathy and her husband at cross country and track races of our kids over the years, starting with our oldest children, my Rachel and her Sarah. Sarah was the captain when my Rach was a freshman on the team, and Sarah’s brother was also a freshman on the team. They were both really nice, and I remember how Sarah was so sweet to my Rachel. Kathleen Bernert-540774_3530419701060_500350231_nSarah seemed so kind, like her mom. Kathleen was the mom of four children, spread out like my 5 are, and they all ran track and cross-country like mine.


It seems like I just saw Kathleen recently cheering on her youngest daughter while I was rooting for my twins, 16. I had no idea she was sick. Maybe it was last spring when I saw her. Time gets away. Though I did not spend time with her outside of sports events and end-of season banquets, it was always really great to see her. I wanted to connect with her, to say hello.


Kathleen helped me gather photos from her husband’s family, the Bernerts, for my West Linn history book–she was always trying to help.


How can she be gone?


I looked at her daughter Sarah’s Facebook page, with the tribute to her mom and Sarah’s profile photo is of her and her mom at Sarah’s wedding. It is heart wrenching to see. I also scanned Kathleen’s Facebook page, which featured a photo of the family together. 


I learned that it was pancreatic cancer that took Kathleen’s life. My Rach told me it went really quickly. Four months, I read later. So, maybe the last time I saw Kathleen, she wasn’t actually sick.


The obituary online shared that Kathleen KathleenBernert-ore0003535464_022849was a physical therapist, volunteer and Sunday School teacher.


I thought about how devastated I would be if I was separated from my daughter, who is now so far away in Tanzania. My heart ached.  I want to be there for my daughter, with her, and for and with all of my children. I want to share life and love and everyday moments and am grateful for every single breath. When someone so beautiful passes so quickly you just want to go hold your babies and tell them once again how much you love them and adore them and cherish them. And you want to tell other people you care about them too, and that they are wonderful. And, you wish you had gotten to know others more.


I weep deeply for the Bernert family. I weep over their loss. The hurt. The pain. The words on the tribute pages about Kathleen speak of her grace and faith and kindness. One tribute said she was one of the nicest people they knew. The memorial service mass today at Resurrection Catholic Church was packed IMG_5131 - Version 2with people who have been touched by the sweet woman.


I think of Sarah’s words regarding her mom. That is such a testimony. I cannot get those words out of my heart. She is stronger than I am. She gets the larger picture. Her faith is amazing. Sarah’s love for her mom, her admiration for her mom, her faith, and her gratefulness.


My beautiful mother, friend and role model… departed for Heaven this Monday.”…


And, after I sent a personal note on Facebook to Sarah expressing my sadness, she replied: We miss my mom so much, but know she is smiling down from Heaven.”

[NOTE: In lieu of flowers, remembrances may be made to Catholic Relief Services. Catholic Relief Services]

For more info, and to sign the guest book, visit: Kathleen Bernert Obit



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