Signing Off

3 Mar

I am sure many of you have gotten word that Heaven received a beautiful angel today.  Emily passed peacefully in her sleep at 7:30 this morning.  I have been in St. Louis for a week now, and consider myself so blessed to be with her for these past few days.  Even though this time was the roughest part of her journey, Em had a way of keeping her wits about her and making us all smile at the most unexpected times.

A few days ago, she shared with us that she wanted to do one last blog post to let all of her followers know that she was “signing off.”  Of course, in true Emily fashion, she began by thanking everyone for their unconditional love, support, and prayers, and was apologetic for not having posted anything since Christmas.  She said there wasn’t a day that passed without her praying and praying for a miracle, but that this time, it just wasn’t meant to be.  She said she’ll be waiting at the pearly white gates to give us all a tour. 

We are arranging to have a funeral service in Minneapolis, hopefully next weekend, with a great celebration to follow, per Em’s request.  Further details are yet to be determined.

From all of the family, thanks to each and every one of you.  We all know what a precious gem my sister was.

36 Responses to “Signing Off”

  1. Kate Lund March 3, 2012 at 4:10 pm #

    You are so right – heaven received a beautiful angel today! We are praying for all of you. We love you so much!

  2. Carol Budzinski March 3, 2012 at 4:16 pm #

    A beautiful ‘sign off,’ Jane – thank you so much.

  3. fabs March 3, 2012 at 4:36 pm #

    Jane beautiful words. Em will be missed, my heart is broken. I pray for you and the whole family. love fabs

  4. Roberta "Berta" Wilder March 3, 2012 at 4:46 pm #

    We are so sorry for your loss and that the world has lost such a beautiful soul. You, your mom, brother, and Emily’s husband, along with all of Emily’s family and friends are in our thoughts and prayers.

    Berta Wilder and Carol Hall,
    Your Golden Valley Neighbors

  5. Betsy March 3, 2012 at 4:51 pm #

    Nick, Jane, and the entire Ihrke/Akerberg family –
    One of my co-interns told me Emily had a blog and I sat and read the entire thing last night in awe of what you have been through. I am so sorry to have met you under these circumstances, but I wanted to tell you what a privilage it was to have met you and Emily. You have an amazing, loving, and beautiful family, and there will not be a day in my medical career and my life that I don’t think of you. I wish you all the best. You and Emily are in my thoughts and prayers.

    – Betsy Odom

  6. Karen Moger March 3, 2012 at 5:06 pm #

    Nick, Larry, Toni, Bill and Jane, may you all find your own peace knowing her battle has ended. You know she is with the greatest of company now. God Bless you all.

    Aunt Karen

  7. Rita Hartert March 3, 2012 at 5:07 pm #

    Emily’s death is truly a loss for society……..she had so much potential for a lifetime of good will and positive energy and service for humankind. However, we cannot forget that in her few short years she touched so many…..hundreds, thousands… think about her beautiful smile, and smile yourself. We all have loved her in our own way, and while we grieve, it is for ourselves, as we know she is now in a better place. Until we meet again………

  8. Camille March 3, 2012 at 5:30 pm #

    My thoughts and prayers are with you all. Emily will forever be an inspiration – her amazing ability to make light of even the darkest cloud, find laughter in any situation, and bring happiness with her contagious and infectious smile will live on in us all. All my love to the Ihrkes and akerbergs…

  9. Alison March 3, 2012 at 5:30 pm #

    Jane, I am beyond sorry for you and your family for the loss of your beautiful, inspiring sister. I went to college with Emily and while we were never close, I have found myself weeping in grief over her passing. I followed her blog regularly and was constantly praying for her to get well. I took great strength from her incredible strength. It is such a loss for you, Nick and your family, but also just a loss for the world that her beautiful spirit is no longer with us. I hope that you and your family are taking comfort from the love and support of all those who knew Emily and are touched by her loss.

  10. Suzanne Huwald March 3, 2012 at 5:33 pm #

    To all of Emily’s family our love and deepest sympathy goes out to you all. God truly blessed you all with a wonderful woman. We are so saddened for you that he called her home so early. Take comfort in knowing she is home with God and support each other in these difficult days ahead. God bless, Lance and Suzanne Huwald

  11. Suzanne March 3, 2012 at 6:05 pm #

    I did not have the pleasure of meeting her, but I felt as if she were my friend, we had emailed individually to one another over the past year. When I just now turned on my computer and noticed there was a blog update and it took me a few minutes before I could actually open it because I just knew. She is such an inspiration to so many people we will all miss her very much. There is a saying “It is not how many years in your life, but how much life in your years”, and one thing I do know is that Emily actually “lived” every hour & minute of her life I wish everyone could be so lucky. She touched so many people and had so many, praying for her and her family, but it was her time. We may not like it, not be able to accept it or understand it, but God does not ask our opinion on these matters. Now she is with him and only he and Emily know what plans he has for her. I will truly miss her and I am copying and keeping her blog with me forever to share with others. I will miss you Emily. Love Sue

  12. Ryan March 3, 2012 at 6:34 pm #

    Best wishes, M.. Thank you for all the great times and sharing with us the incredibly difficult journey you endoured. To think of us while going through such pain is selfless. You have truely taught us all many invaluable things about our own lives and to that we are indebted for you time shared and wisdom. Bill & Jane, Niko… Family… Be strong… Your sister, Wife, Daughter would simply not approve otherwise. I’ll provide the weeping for you all. Stay positive and pay it forward and know our guardian angel Em will be looking over us all. I love you M… You wil never be forgotten.

  13. Stacy Smugala March 3, 2012 at 7:03 pm #

    I have had the honor of being part of Emily’s surgical team for the last three months. Over that time, I have gotten to know a very courageous and inspiring young lady. Someone who was never willing to give up. It has been hard on many of us over the last few weeks, but she has definitely left a lasting impression. That beautiful smile and never ending determination will always live on.
    Throughout my career, there have been times where I wonder why I do what I do and if I really make a difference. It only takes one patient like Emily to make me realize that I love being a nurse. In this case, I only wish I could have done more. I watched a devoted mother, who was always there for her daughter. A family that never left her bedside. Along with an everlasting memory of her little sister sitting next to the bed, holding Emily’s hand.
    Please know that Emily and the entire family are in my thoughts and prayers. She will definitely be missed!

    • Rita Hartert March 3, 2012 at 8:33 pm #

      Thank you, Miss Nurse, for helping take care of dear Emily. As an aunt, I truly appreciate your efforts, along with the rest of the staff at the hospital. Yes, they are an amazing family and an inspiration to the rest of us.

  14. Mary Nakaki March 3, 2012 at 8:01 pm #

    God makes no mistakes. Emily has been an example of the best a person can be. She is worthy of God’s grace and we celebrate her eternal happiness.
    Someone asked me this week if God asked us if we could have an Emily; but for only 30 years, would we agree to that? The answer is a resounding yes.

  15. diane rislow March 3, 2012 at 9:04 pm #

    Emily’s Family, It breaks my heart to know that Emily had to leave us all. God must have given her the miracle of being able to come to Heaven, although it wasn’t the miracle we had hoped for, we all know she is with our Father In Heaven. It doesn’t get any better than that. I totally enjoyed getting to know Emily through her blogs and was lucky enough to meet her at the Fools Five Race in 2011. Please feel a bear hug from Lewiston, MN. God be with you all. Good-bye Emily.

  16. Kathleen Dickinson March 3, 2012 at 9:16 pm #

    Thank you for letting us know. Emily is a beautiful spirit. My sympathies to you and your family for your loss. My prayers are with you.

  17. Susan Lutes March 3, 2012 at 10:59 pm #

    Words simply cannot express the depth of sadness I feel for you all at having to say good-bye to your precious Emily. My strongest memories of her are as a young girl swimming in our backyard pool; babysitting my “little” Emily and Ian; playing Golden Valley summer softball; and attending Kyle’s sleepovers. She was always a very sweet, beautiful, and kind girl. Her life was way too short but she was, and continues to be, a bright, shining star! I’m sending you all gigantic, compassionate hugs and will hold you up in prayer during your time of unimaginable grief. May God’s grace and peace sustain you.
    –Susan Lutes

  18. Brynn Wexler March 4, 2012 at 2:49 am #

    We all have people who come and go in our lives, but very very few make a indelible imprint on our hearts and our lives like Emily. I loved Emily the moment I met her freshman year in our dorm at Madison. She was a rare and precious being that will never be replaced or replicated. Emily was truly one of a kind. One of kindest, most gentle and compassionate souls I have ever met. A willing ear, a warm embrace, a infectious spirit, and inspiration to us all. An Angel on Earth- That’s who Emily was. I aspire to have an ounce of the grace that god gave her. It’s not fair, and I’ll never understand this great, and painful loss. But I do know this, if there is anyone who would be waiting at ‘the pearly gates’ ready and willing to give us all a ‘tour,’ it would no doubt be Emily. Emily- That’s a promise I expect you to keep. I’ll see you in another life my dear, beautiful friend. You’ll be in my heart always.

  19. Danette Jaeger March 4, 2012 at 5:49 am #

    Em has really and truly been the leader in this battle. The way she inspired so many around her, even those that never had the true privilege of knowing her. I look forward to digging out my highest pair of heals to celebrate her life. As for now, all of my prayers and support are now turned to you guys – Nick, Toni, Larry, Bill, and Jane. Please know that in these difficult days and moments you are facing, Em is right there with you, and the love and prayers from all of us are wrapped around you. The soul is the part of us that lives on forever, and Colo-Rectal cancer never stood a chance against Em’s soul.

  20. Holly and Bernie Philipps March 4, 2012 at 6:11 am #

    Our prayers go out to all of you. Emily is a beautiful soul and was was a gift to so many through her example of living and her amazing writing of this blog. Jane, what a beautiful send off for your sister. In deepest sympathy, Holly and Bernie Philipps

  21. Suzanne March 4, 2012 at 9:51 am #

    I am so sorry for you loss. Emily was a beautiful soul and I had the pleasure of working with her and knowing her. She will be missed. My prayers and thoughts go out to all of you during this difficult time.

  22. Robyn Fox March 4, 2012 at 10:49 am #

    I hope you are all able to find some peace knowing that Emily now rests in the arms of our Dear Lord.My heart and prayers go out to all of you. Robyn

  23. Brad and Ann Ihrke March 4, 2012 at 2:27 pm #

    We just really got to know Emily over the past year, yet she leaves a lasting impression. Her strong will, her zest for living each moment to its fullest, and a smile that lit the entire room. Although we now feel the pain of her loss we know that she is now home with God and she is no longer in any pain. Heaven shines even brighter with Emily’s presence. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you as you search for ways to relearn living without your daughter/wife/sister. If everyone has just a pinch of her courage, an ounce of her inspiration, and a dash of her positivity the world would be an amazing place.

    Brad and Ann Ihrke

  24. Gene and Sandy Sturgis March 4, 2012 at 5:07 pm #

    Yesterday, we lost a very beautiful and loving lady who has been an inspiration to us all. Emily is now our newest Angel and is in God’s hands and is watching over everyone. Nick, Toni, Larry, Bill and Jane, Emily is with you during this difficult time as she will be always. Our prayers and thoughts are with you at this very trying time —–Good bye Emily, Uncle Gene and Sandy.

  25. Laura March 4, 2012 at 7:26 pm #

    We are so, so sorry for your loss. Emily showed us what it meant to truly have courage, faith, and hope. She will remain forever in our hearts.
    Rest now Emily, you are home.
    Darin and Laura Doherty and family

  26. Rachel Katz March 4, 2012 at 9:32 pm #

    Thank you for this last post. Emily was such a wonderful person. I am so lucky to have known her. I was always so touched by her grace and infectious humor. Knowing Emily and having heard her stories over the past few years, she provided meaningful insight into the experience of the patient. I will carry her story forever with me in medicine. She will be missed.
    Rachel Katz

  27. Trent Bales March 5, 2012 at 8:49 am #

    Zil & I are deeply saddened for the loss of such an amazing woman, Emily…! She was one of the most positive individuals that I have ever known…!

    Our thoughts and prayers are will you all…!

    Trent & Zil Bales

  28. Molly Davin March 5, 2012 at 11:03 am #

    Like so many people, I have been following Emily’s story via this blog for a while. We didn’t see much of each other after high school, but I felt connected to her through this site due to her gift for writing. Her passing makes me wish I could go back in time and spend more time with her in school. I didn’t realize what an incredible person she was then, or how funny. She was just a nice girl in my class. It makes me wonder what else the people in my life would have to offer if I got to know them better. Emily has made us all appreciate what we have, particularly the precious little time we had with her.

  29. Tricia Burg March 5, 2012 at 12:53 pm #

    I’m so sorry for you loss. I didn’t know Emily but I came across her blog and was fascinated by her story and determination to beat her cancer. I loved how she kept her humor, with wearing cute shoes to chemo, etc., at a time many of us would just feel hopeless. I can only wonder if something bigger than what we can fathom here on earth is waiting for her in the afterlife. God Bless:)

  30. Kristine Olson March 5, 2012 at 5:23 pm #

    To the Ihrke and Akerberg Families — I am so very sorry for your loss. Although I had never met Emily, she was a distant cousin of mine (3rd cousin, once-removed) and had met Toni and Jane at an Easter family gathering in Minnesota in 2002. I keep in regular touch with Emily’s Aunt Rita, and she is the one who directed me to Emily’s blog in 2010. I looked forward to reading Emily’s posts, which were always filled with optimism and humor. She was an amazing person on Earth and now she is shining brightly in Heaven.

    Kristine Olson

  31. Carol March 7, 2012 at 9:15 am #

    Toni, I was so sad to read on the Fools Five Facebook page that Emily had passed. I am so glad that we got to see you last year at the race. Our thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family. I read what Jane wrote and it was a beautiful tribute to Emily. Emily will be greatly missed but now you have your very own angel watching over all of you.
    God Bless and help you through this hard time.
    All our love, Tom and Carol

  32. Carol March 7, 2012 at 9:19 am #

    RIP Emily

  33. Pat Wenner March 14, 2012 at 8:06 pm #

    As tears flow for a person I never met, I feel a deep love in my heart for Emily. Her Aunt Marie “introduced” HER shining star thru loving words. Please know her family will always be in my thoughts and prayers. Pat Wenner

  34. Cathi Britz April 5, 2012 at 7:55 pm #

    Was thinking about Emily today, just wanted to comment :)

  35. anne June 19, 2012 at 7:20 am #

    I have been doing a lot of ‘at-home’ research into what I’m experiencing and came across this site. First, please know that Emily and her family are in my thoughts and prayers. I started off reading this as an informational site to learn more and quickly became engulfed in her story. I will be setting up an appt. to, as she put it, get to the bottom of this. Thank you for your inspiration and my best wishes and strength to all that are going through this. Peace, love and health, Anne

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