Originally Posted Spring 2017
1. LEE’S DEPARTURE
~^~by David Stewart, PhD
LEE’S PREPARAION TO MEET HER LORD
My wife, Lee, had retired from our business, and from any regular duties in CARE, a year of so ago. She had been slowing down since late 2015, and began focusing on getting things in order for what she sensed to be the imminent conclusion of her earthly life. This, she had been thinking, was not far into the future, even though she felt okay with no pains or bodily discomfort. However, she was unusually fatigued most of the time.
Her ultimate preparations to relinquish earthly things included her going through all of the closets, drawers, and boxes in our house Lee, and keeping her daily appointments with her God and Savior with regular morning and evening prayers, meditations, and scriptural readings. For all practical purposes, She had also given up cooking and daily meal preparations, relying on restaurant food brought in, or simple meals like cold cereal, fresh fruit, and canned soup.
Lee had been the regular choir director in the Marble Hill United Methodist Church, since the early 1980’s, with me singing tenor. She had also played the piano for hymns during regular services for the last 36 years, as a duo with her husband (me) playing the organ. However, she had given up the piano playing in church at the beginning of 2016, and stopped directing the choir in the late Summer of 2016. Her daughter, Lora Lee Stewart, and her sister, Phoebe Pomeroy, had taken over the leadership of the church choir ever since around that time.
LEE’S SUCCESS IN OVERCOMING CANCER IN 2014
Two years ago, she had been diagnosed with Stage IV (terminal) cancer in April 2014, but we had immediately gone to Gary Young’s Nova Vita Clinic in Ecuador back then. After five months of continuous treatment with essential oils administered orally, topically, and intravenously, she was in remission. We returned home to Missouri, cancer-free, around August 1st, 2014. Until very recently, she has been in remission. (A complete account of Lee’s success is in the Archives of “The Raindrop Messenger,” Summer 2014, Vol. 12, No. 2, available at www.RaindropTraining.com.)-
We have taught an annual 4-day CARE Intensive Seminar in Branson, Missouri, in early November every year since 2001. However, last year, November 2016, for the first time ever, Lee came to Branson with the family (me, Anthony, Keith, Lora Lee, and grandkids), but did not participate in teaching or facilitating the seminar. Instead, she remained resting in our condominium the whole week, and did not even leave to go out to eat in a restaurant. She was experiencing no pain or discomfort, but was very tired and just wanted to rest, relax, read, and meditate.
THE DECISION TO GO TO FLORIDA
We returned home from Branson on Monday, November 7, when we came to the realization that that something was seriously wrong. Lee’s fatigue was a sign of something more serious than we had realized.
Our first thought was to return to Gary Young’s Clinic in Ecuador, Nova Vita, but we were unsuccessful at that time in making contact, either by phone or by email. The staff and administration of Nova Vita have changed since, 2014, when Lee was successfully treated for cancer there with essential oils. Dr. Young had been there when Lee’s successful treatment began in April 2014, but he was not available at this time. He had been in and out of hospitals, himself, recovering from an injury he had received jousting on horse back in June, 2016, just before the Young Living Convention.
Since time was of the essence, we contacted our personal physician, Dr. Lisa Hendricks, MD, in Paragould, Arkansas. She has been a Young Living Distributor for several years and employs essential oils, and other natural therapies, in her own practice. Upon consultation, she suggested that we take Lee to an “alternative” physician in Clearwater, Florida, to whom she goes for her own needs.
Dr. David Minkoff, MD, is not only an MD, but also a Naturopathic and Homeopathic doctor (an ND and an HD). He also practices oriental medicine. He has a clinic staffed with about 30 trained professionals–the Lifeworks Wellness Center (LWC) in Clearwater. They have an impressive record of many successes with various cancers, Lyme Disease, and other challenging maladies. Lee, Lora Lee, and I flew to Minkoff’s Florida Clinic on November 12, 2016. During the first week there Lee was given a set of diagnostic examinations and was scheduled to begin treatments at the Lifeworks Wellness Center. However, the Clinic would be closed Wed-Fri November 23-25, for the Thanksgiving Holidays. So we flew, with Lee, back home in Missouri, to be with family during Thanksgiving week.
BACK TO FLORIDA FOR THE SECOND & LAST TIME
After enjoying a week with family in Missouri, we then drove back to Clearwater, Florida, on the weekend of November 26-27, 2016. On the way down, as we were eating a meal in a restaurant in Valdosta, Georgia, and while Lora Lee had gone to get something at the buffet, with just Lee and me at the table . . . Lee reached across, took my hand in hers, looked at me with tears in her eyes and said, . . . “I don’t know why God is keeping me here. I am ready to go. I know I am going to a better place”
Before Thanksgiving, we had rented a nice little two-bedroom cottage in Clearwater, across the street from the Wellness Center. It was painted lavender with light green shutters and white trim, an attractive little cottage. It was comfortable and included everything we needed, complete with furnished kitchen, laundry, living room, dining room, bedrooms with sheets and blankets, one-and-a-half bathrooms–and a small fenced in yard, front and back, that included an orange tree bearing ripe fruit. There was lawn furniture in the front and back yards, and a screened-in porch with a comfortable outdoor couch, coffee table, and cushioned chairs. There was also a toy-box full of outdoor toys and beach equipment. So when we arrived Sunday evening, on November 27, we could move right in to a dwelling that was already furnished and familiar.
We completed the drive to Clearwater on November 27, a Sunday evening, and re-entered Lee to the Wellness Center in Clearwater on Monday morning, November 28. She immediately began to receive Intravenous infusions of Vitamin C, Potassium, Cesium, and other elements. Her live blood was also passed through a device and treated with ultraviolet Light, that would rid her of any pathogenic microbes.
She also received a PET scan (Positron Emission Tomography) which confirmed that the cancer had returned, which had metastasized to her lungs, and lymph nodes. It had also spread to her left breast. She received intravenous and electromagnetic treatments daily, as we waited to receive her blood test results that would indicate the best treatments to rid her of the cancer that had returned aggressively after all of this time.
On Friday, December 2, we met with Dr. Minkoff who discussed the possible treatments that could eliminate the cancer. He recommended Insulin Potentiated Therapy (IPT). Unlike traditionally chemotherapy that is toxic to the whole body, and damages the body’s healthy cells along with the diseased ones, IPT is an advanced methodology where the chemo-drugs specifically target only the malignant cells, without causing harmful damage to healthy cells elsewhere in the body.
Our middle son, Keith, arrived Monday morning with his wife, Shu-o and their two young children, Isabel, age 3, and Kristopher, ll. The presence of their company noticeably uplifted Lee’s spirits.
On Tuesday, I went to the beach with our two visiting grandkids, who enjoyed the surf and played with the toys furnished from our little cottage, which included a couple of buckets and plastic shovels. Before we left the seashore, Isabel and Kristopher had buried their grandpa in sand, including a couple of scoops on top of his head. Meanwhile, Lee had spent the day receiving intravenous and electromagnetic therapies at the Wellness Center, accompanied by her daughter, Lora Lee.
Tuesday, December 6th, was to be the day that Lee was to begin her IPT treatments that would ultimately clear her body of the malignancy over the next several weeks or months. However, her blood tests showed that she was dehydrated and her blood sugar was high. So the nurse practitioner in charge thought that if Lee was hydrated with intravenous fluids, and given medication to reduce her blood sugar, that would help matters enough to begin the IPT cancer treatments on Wednesday, the next day. So Lee received IV treatments all day in the company of her daughter, Lora Lee
DIAGNOSIS AND PROGNOSIS
Early Wednesday morning, December 7th, we received a call from the nurse practitioner asking us to come to the clinic immediately for a consultation. Dr. Minkoff was there to explain things and advise us that Lee’s cancer was actively spreading. What we learned is that even after all of the fluids she had received the previous day, her potassium levels were still extremely low and her Calcium levels were still extremely high. The results also showed low kidney functionality, which they thought might be improved with the restoration of her electrolyte balance. With such an extreme mineral imbalance, the treatments that had been planned (IPT) could not be conducted until a balance was restored. This would require 24-hour care in a hospital, which the Wellness Center could not provide, since they were a day-clinic only.
Late on Wednesday afternoon, December 7, we transferred Lee to the Largo Medical Center, about six miles away, where they could administer Sodium and reduce the Calcium levels intravenously on a continuous basis around the clock, and also monitor her kidney function. Upon entering the hospital, her breathing became progressively and noticeably more difficult, and she then required continuous oxygen. We stayed by her bedside the rest of the day, with Lora Lee spending the first night with her (Wed) and me spending the second night (Thurs). During the night she was interrupted many times with nurses, doctors, and other personnel to check blood pressures, temperatures, oxygen levels, and if there was any pain, etc. Because of her difficulty in breathing she also received a chest X-ray during the night, but we did not get any results from the doctor until more than 24 hours later.
Lee’s condition began to decline steadily almost immediately upon entering the hospital. I think that in her mind, when she realized where she was and what that probably meant, she mentally surrendered to her inevitable transition, for which she was well prepared spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. Her appetite, which had not been great for the past couple of months, began to dwindle even more. She was considerably dehydrated and was receiving hydrating fluids continuously by an IV. When the chest x-ray report was finally revealed, it was discovered that her left lung was was almost completely full of fluid, and the fluid was also seeping into her right lung. Hence, her difficulty in taking in a full breath.
Driving down from Missouri, Anthony, our youngest son, arrived Friday morning and stayed by her bedside throughout Friday night. Friday morning, the doctors extracted two liters of fluid from Lee’s left lung, using a large needle, hoping that this would ease her difficulty in breathing–which it did. However, they then also realized that her kidneys were getting worse and beginning to fail. When kidneys no longer function as they should, fluids are shunted to the lungs instead of being excreted normally, which explains the constant build up of fluid in Lee’s lungs at that time. Had she lived, she would have to be on a regular kidney dialysis regimen to survive.
We were then advised by the doctors in charge that the correction of her mineral imbalance might take weeks, or even months, of continuous intravenous administration in a hospital. Furthermore, even engaging in those extreme measures, there was no guarantee that her blood chemistry would ever come back into balance. However, they recommended that we stay in the hospital because they felt that Lee was in a critical state. However, they could not force us to stay and indicated that we could leave, even though, in their view, it would be “Against Medical Advice,” and we would have to sign a waiver of responsibility for the hospital.
One of the things Lee and I had discussed early on, in the days just prior to our marriage, back in late August 1962, was how we would handle the last days of our lives, whichever one went first. We mutually agreed that whenever the time came for either of us, there would be no extreme measures taken to prolong life. When it became apparent that it was time for either of us to go, we both would choose to pass into our eternal home peacefully, voluntarily, in the presence of each other, and, if possible, with our family. We mutually promised to see that our common wishes in that regard were respected and carried out as best would be possible at the time. When Lee’s father and mother each individually passed away, in 1990 and 1999 respectively, we were able to enable their wishes in this regard, standing by their bedsides at home as they each took their last peaceful breaths.
Keith, his wife and children, had left Thursday afternoon after a last visit with Lee in the hospital. They then began their long drive back to Missouri in order to minimize their son, Kristopher’s, absence from school.
Anthony, Lee’s Youngest, arrived Friday morning after an over-night drive from Missouri. The three of us remaining with Lee during the day, (Lora Lee, Anthony, and I), discussed the possibility of returning home with Lee, immediately. December 25 was to be Lee’s 79th birthday celebration. We knew she wanted to be home then. We also knew that her death was probably imminent and inevitable, and that she would want to be home, with her family, and not in a strange medical facility, during her final days, or hours, on earth.
So on Friday, December 9, we all agreed, Lee included, to go back home to Missouri as soon as possible. By Auto, it would be a long arduous two-day drive, which would be too much of a strain on Lee. So we chartered a six-passenger plane to leave Saturday, December 10, the next morning. That would only be a 3 or 4 hour flight. We commissioned a plane and pilot to fly down from Missouri to the Clearwater Airport early Saturday morning, which was only a short distance from the hospital.
Jonathan, Lee’s oldest son, and his wife, Ellyn, had driven from Oklahoma to Southeast Missouri, during the night and dawning hours, to meet up with the pilot at the airport. They flew down to Clearwater with the him, early Saturday morning, from Missouri to Florida. They arrived early that Saturday morning and came immediately to the Largo Hospital to be with Lee, Anthony, Lora Lee, and myself. They had come to assist in transferring Lee to the airport and airplane, and to accompany her back home.
That morning, we all assisted (Anthony, Lora Lee, Jonathan, Ellyn, and I) to bring Lee, in a wheelchair, from the fourth floor hospital room to the front entrance. There she was gently lifted into the front passenger seat of our Chrysler Van for the short trip to the airport. (Lee could no longer stand or walk at that point.) The plane and pilot were waiting. At the airport she was carried into the plane by two of her sons, her oldest and her youngest. As the rest of us boarded and prepared for take-off, Anthony took the Chrysler back to the cottage to be parked and to pick up his own van to drive back to Missouri. (Lora Lee would later fly to Clearwater to finalize things with the clinic and the landlord, and drive the Chrysler van back home, loaded with our belongings left at the little lavender cottage.
The plane took off around 10:30 am Eastern Time, with Lee, her oldest son, Jonathan and his wife, with Lora Lee her only daughter, and me, her husband and life-partner of 54 years. She was lying comfortably inclined, between two seats, while I sat next to her across the narrow aisle, turned facing her and holding her hand. She remained alert and conversant during the first two hours.
During our 54 years of marriage, Lee and I have always had an enjoyable relationship with lots of laughter, kidding, and joking. At one point, early in the flight, I said something to Lora Lee, but the noise in the cabin was so loud that she didn’t understand what I had said. “What did you say,” Lora Lee loudly said to me, to which Lee quickly responded, “Probably something stupid.” We all laughed.
For the next hour or so, Lee lay quietly, semi-upright, not saying much, resting quietly with her eyes closed, breathing slowly and deliberately. As we entered airspace over Tennessee, about half-way to Missouri, Lee began to struggle with her breathing, unable to inhale a complete breath. Lora Lee recognized that she was, at that moment in time, in the process of dying. So Lora Lee took both of her hands in hers while I held tightly to her left hand and arm, and Jonathan moved to her head where he could stand, and lay his hands on her shoulders, and stroke her hair gently.
HER LAST SERENADE
We had sung as a family group for years, under Lee’s musical guidance and direction. So we had a repertoire. Jonathan began singing “How Great Thou Art,” when Lora Lee and I joined in, with tears streaming down. We then sang “Amazing Grace,” followed by “We Are Climbing Jacob’s Ladder,” and finally, “In the Garden,” one of her favorites. Lee had a rose garden and went out first thing, almost every morning, to inspect and communicate with her flowers, after greeting and feeding the colorful wild, but friendly, birds around our house. It was also a time she spent daily communing with her Lord in the morning sunshine.
As we came to the stanzas of the chorus of the hymn, “In the Garden,” with the words: “Oh He walks with me, and He talks with me, . . . and He tells me ‘I am His own’, . . . And the joy we share, as we tarry there, . . . none other, has ever, known.” With the singing of those words, I felt a slight sudden movement in her left arm and hand. Then she opened her eyes and briefly looked directly and intently at me, . . .then closed her eyes, and peacefully began to take her last few breaths.
Lora Lee wanted to be sure that Lee knew that we were all still there by her side, that we would be OK when she was gone, and that she should not hesitate to go to that special, beautiful place that she had already seen and spoken of. With that, her head dropped to the side and we knew that was the end.
I continued, seated close by her side and holding her hand for the remainder of the trip to Missouri, until after we landed and were pulled into the hangar. There I remained inside the plane, holding her hand, gazing at the serene expression on her peaceful face, . . . until the Scott County Coroner arrived in a kind gentle manner to carry out his duties. (Lora Lee had contacted the Funeral Director in our home town as soon as the plane landed. He, in turn, had contacted the Coroner.)
We were somewhere over Tennessee or Kentucky at the moment she so gracefully left her body and slipped away. I thought later that her leaving the planet at 30,000 feet above the earth, and at 250 miles per hour, she probably got a head start to heaven. I also happened to glance down at my watch as she took her last breaths, and it was 12:25 pm Eastern Standard Time. “12-25” is the numerical representation of the date of her birthday, on Christmas Day. So in one sense, she did make it to her 79th birthday after all.
Although we did not make it to her home near Marble Hill, Missouri, … to the farm where we have lived since 1978, … where she was born in 1937 at home in the old farm house, (to the delight of her older brother, Eddie, who considered Lee as his special Christmas Gift), … where thirty years later she would give birth to her daughter, Lora Lee, in August of 1967, assisted by her husband, David, and in the presence of her four-year-old son, Jonathan, … and where she spent her childhood, happy and free, and learned to sing and play the piano. . . As the plane circled the airfield near Scott City, Missouri, on December 10, 2016, to get into landing position, we passed right over the Scott City Public School building, one mile from the landing strip … the location of her first position, hired out of college in 1958, as a Certified School Teacher of Music.
2. TRIBUTE TO AN EXTRAORDINARY LIFE: LEE POMEROY STEWART
~^~by Edward Close, PhD
The following is a tribute to Lee Stewart posted on Facebook by Ed Close, my roommate in Central Methodist College (1956-58) and Best Man at our wedding September 1st, 1962. Ed is Author of several books in Physics and Metaphysics, as well as a book and DVD on remediating toxic mold with Thieves Essential Oil. He has been a close friend of Lee and I for the last 54 years. In his tribute, written shortly after her funeral on December 15, 2016, he refers to the global impact of Lee’s life as a leader in promoting natural childbirth, home birth, breastfeeding, home-schooling, good parenting.
BACKGROUND INFO ON LEE STEWART (by David Stewart)
Lee was President of the local Parent-Teachers’ Organization (PTO) in 1981 when, against opposition from local teachers and school officials, she courageously took her children out of public school and home-schooled them. Ultimately, over the next several years, she taught all grades–K thru 12–after which three of her children applied for, and successfully received, scholarships to College. She was the first parent to home school in Bollinger County, Missouri, and started a movement wherein many other mothers were encouraged to do likewise, both locally and in other States, as well.
Lee had all five of our healthy children at home, where no doctor or midwife was available. She was diligently self-educated and gave birth five times in her own bedroom (attended by her husband), starting with Jonathan Stewart in 1963–long before homebirth became a national movement. In 1983 she was invited to be the featured speaker at an International Midwifery Conference in London, England, to talk about natural childbirth, midwifery, and having babies at home in the presence of their older siblings. Most recently, in March of 2016, she was invited, and flown out, to a Conference in Southern California to be recognized as a leading pioneer who had initiated the international homebirth movement in the 1960’s and ’70’s. In presenting Lee’s award, Carla Hartley, Founder and Head of a California Midwifery School, commented: “If you have been born at home, or have given birth at home with a midwife, during the last 30 or 40 years, you can thank Lee Stewart, who is the principle one who started it all.”
Lee has published a number of articles on pregnancy and parenting, and has co-authored several books on childbirth, two of which won the “BOOK OF THE YEAR” from the American Journal of Nursing (in 1976 & 1978). Several of these books are still available at www.carepublications.net, including her co-authored best-selling book, “Safe Alternatives in Childbirth,” that has been in print since 1976, and has been translated into Swedish.
Given below is Dr. Close’s tribute, to which, during the week after he posted it on Facebook, he received over 300 positive responses.
A TRIBUTE TO LEE
Generally speaking, no one enjoys a funeral. Yesterday (Dec. 15, 2016) we experienced a rare exception to this. My wife, Jacqui, and I attended the funeral of a dear friend: Lee Pomeroy Stewart. What we experienced yesterday was not a wailing and gnashing of teeth. It was a wonderful, uplifting CELEBRATION OF LEE’S OUTSTANDING LIFE OF SERVICE TO HER FAMILY, FRIENDS, AND HUMANITY !
There were tears, of course, and I shed my share, but the superlative testaments to Lee’s exemplary life and amazing accomplishments far outweighed the sadness that she is no longer with us in physical form.
People came to the quiet little town of Marble Hill in the Southern Missouri Ozarks yesterday, from all over, to pay tribute to Lee. She was a very humble person, never boastful or arrogant, but the life she lived has affected millions of people for the better, and will continue to do so for many years to come. She was a gifted singer, musician, teacher and co-founder with her husband, David Stewart, of NAPSAC, the Inter-National Association of Parents & Professionals for Safe Alternatives in Childbirth, and also co-founder of CARE, the Center for Aromatherapy Research & Education, which educates thousands each year in the healing applications of essential oils. As a Diamond Leader in Young Living Essential Oils, her leadership and wisdom has affected the lives of literally millions of people all over the world.
But the most remarkable testimony to Lee’s Life is the superb character of the five children she and Dave raised and nurtured. Each one of them is a gifted and talented individual in his/her own right. They too, through their lives, and the lives of their children, will affect human society and the world for many years to come.
I have known Lee for 54 years, and her husband Dave for 61 years. Dave and I were college roommates at Central Methodist College in Fayette, Missouri, and we have called each other “best friends” for all this time. In 1962, I was Best Man at their wedding in Marble Hill. It has been my privilege to know and love them.
Lee, you will be greatly missed, but your legacy will live on forever.
3. LEE’S FUNERAL CELEBRATION
Lee’s funeral was planned and carried out entirely by her children, listed here in descending order by age: Jonathan, Lora Lee, Keith, Benjamin, Anthony.
Lee lay in state at the church alter in a beautiful metallic-green casket with gold trim and a cushioned, white silk interior. On top was a large bouquet of red roses and white five-pointed stargazer flowers. She was wearing a deep red suit jacket with a black chiffon flowered blouse, both her favorites. She wore silver Christmas-tree ear-rings Lora Lee had gotten for her this Christmas, a necklace of tiny red rose buds, and a small pink and purple jeweled pendant that had been her mother’s. On her fingers were her simple gold wedding band, and a red garnet ring (her birth stone)–all gifts from her family through the years. Posted on the inside of the coffin lid was a small head-photo of Lee at age 19, the age of both Lee and David when they first met at a Christian Leadership Conference, in South Dakota, as juniors in College.
ORDER OF SERVICE
Prelude (Quiet Organ Music) played by Jo Ann Schrum, Lee’s classmate & friend from high school, since 1951
Song: “Where the Spirit of the Lord Is” Duet by Dave and Lee Stewart (from a CD recorded in 1985)
Scripture (Isaiah 9:2 & 6-7) and Obituary
Solo: “O Holy Night,” sung by Phoebe Pomeroy (Lee’s sister), accompanied on the piano by Lora Lee Stewart
Song: “It’s so Hard to Say Goodbye” sung with guitar by Anthony Stewart
“Life as a Pomeroy,” by Phoebe Ponmeroy
“Words on My Mother’s Life, by Ben Stewart
“Mom’s Last Days,” by Lora Lee Stewart
Anthem: “Amazing Grace,” sung by the Church Choir, Directed by Lora Lee Stewart Joined by David, Jonathan, Keith, and Ben, along with Lee’s sister, Phoebe Pomeroy
and some of the grandchildren and other family members
Eulogy: Rev. Anthony Stewart, a United Methodist Pastor
Beginning with a quote, “Don’t cry because it’s over; Smile because it happened.”
Song: “We Are Climbing Jacob’s Ladder” sung acapella & in harmony, by Jonathan, Lora Lee, Keith, Ben, and Anthony
Message: “A Day of Celebration” Luke 2:1-20 by Pastor Michael Hargraves
Solo: “The Holy City” sung by Professor, Dr.Jonathan Stewart, accompanied on the piano by Lora Lee Stewart
Congregational Hymn: “In the Garden,” accompanied on the organ by husband, David, and on the Piano by daughter, Lora Lee
Closing Prayer & Blessing
Postlude (Quiet Organ Music) played by Jo Ann Schrum
The church service was followed immediately by a caravan to her graveside service and burial at a local cemetery, the same cemetery with her parents, two brothers, two aunts and uncles, and her maternal grandmother. Following the gravesite committal, a meal was served back in town, at the Marble Hill United Methodist Church. Everyone was invited. During the service the sanctuary was packed completely, with the pews full and people sitting against the walls on the sides. People were there from Arizona to New York, from Texas to Minnesota, and with flowers, cards or email messages from more than ten countries–from Canada to Asia, to New Zealand, Australia, and Europe.