Friday, September 5, 2008

Gail Annette Horn Suhler, My Sister

Gail Annette Horn was born September 28, 1950 in Pueblo, Colorado. She was the younger sister of Paula and the older sister of Keith. She graduated from Centennial High School in 1968. She took piano lessons as a child and was a member of the local swim team.

Gail accepted the Lord Jesus as her Savior when she was a child. She also helped her mom with Bible Clubs that were held in the family home.

In high school Gail was a member of the high school band and played the cornet and later switched to the French Horn. She was an excellent musician. She took both French horn lessons and voice lessons.

In church she sang in the choir, sang special music and played in a church orchestra.

Gail attended Western Bible College in California and in Oregon. She completed a couple of years of school and later she attended Baptist Bible College in Springfield, Missouri and earned her degree.

As a young adult, Gail lived in Canon City, Colorado where she taught in the Christian school. Her students loved and admired her. She had great influence on many lives. She also worked at Park Hill Baptist church as a secretary and at a Baptist church in Michigan. She had a servant's heart and accepted people for who they were.

Gail was an avid reader all her life. She read comic books and novels as a child, and as an adult probably read thousands of books. Her husband Bryan still has a collection of her favorite books.

When Gail was about thirty years old, she married Bryan Suhler. Our mother had invited Bryan over for Sunday dinner and that was the beginning. They talked and talked. After they were married, Gail talked about how much she appreciated Bryan taking care of their finances because as a young woman who taught Christian school, she had had her struggles.

After being married a year or two, Gail and Bryan had a wonderful baby boy named Benjamin. She loved that little boy. Later when she knew she had cancer, she prayed that God would let her live until Ben was finished with junior high, and that's what He did. It was an answer to her prayer.

Gail and Bryan moved to Colorado Springs after living in Pueblo for a while. There she gave birth to Ben and she worked in her home running a day care. She was really good at it, and her kids loved her.

In about 1993 Gail found out she had cancer. The doctors didn't know where it started, but it was first found on the lining around her lungs. She had surgery to have it removed. When we sorted our mother's belongings after she passed away, we found a note Mom had written. Mom said that when Gail came out of the surgery okay, it was the best day of her life. Gail took that note home and kept it.

After many months of chemo and losing her hair several times, the cancer was found in her ovaries. She had extreme surgery to remove as much as could be done--about 99%. It seemed really good. Sometime after that, Gail had to switch doctors, and the new doctor thought she needed to take a break from the chemo to give her body time to recuperate and because Gail was so tired of all the treatments. That was in about May of 2000.

After that tests were run to see what was happening with the cancer, and Gail's whole abdomen was filled with tumors.

I went to visit her many times during that summer. I kept thinking that something would be done about the tumors--surgery, chemo, or something. But nothing was--nothing could be. Clear up to the end I didn't realize we were really coming to the end.

I drove down to see Gail on Saturday, September 3rd. She was uncomfortable but still functioning almost normally. On Monday, she fell and couldn't get up for hours. After she finally got up, she called Bryan. That evening she lost her ability to control some of her functions. He took her to the emergency room, but on the way there she quit breathing. She passed away on September 5, 2000. This is the 8th anniversary of her death.

When Bryan called, it broke my heart. I just couldn't come to grips with it.

At her funeral, a song recorded by Gail for her church was played during the service. That was very hard.

The good news is that Gail is in Heaven. I always did everything ahead of her, but she got to Heaven before me. I am so looking forward to seeing her. She is my best friend and I miss her.


Kay Day said...

This is really nice.
I wrote about her, too.

Julie said...

I didn't know all that was going on. I guess I thought it was something that happened real fast.
I went with her and the boy to a Chemo treatment (a little bit before she died)and was telling her about a book I thought she would like, and she said she wasn't going to read anymore books. I asked her if she thought she would get better, and she told me no. Breaks my heart. But she is with Grandma and your mom and dad. Don't make the missing less, but takes the sharp away.

Momstheword said...

The last time Kay was able to visit with Gail (I think), I had my first atrial fibrillation experience and she and her Dad were called at Gail's house and they didn't get to visit very long. I felt badly about that, because I don't think Kay got to see her alive again. I don't know anyone who didn't love her.

Kay Day said...

I know I saw her twice that summer. I don't remember if the second time was before or after your thing. It seems like it was after....

We talked on the phone, too. Because i was in Kansas then. I talked to her a week before she died.

Robin said...

Beautiful tribute!