Fund – Emily Rose Waste Memorial Fund – Letter


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Emily Rose Waste Memorial Fund

Dear Board Members:

We write on behalf of our daughter, Emily Rose Waste, who died of cancer on May 21, 2014. She was 22 years old. We wish to honor and remember Emily by placing a bench in her name on the Shrine grounds. We have attached her obituary so that you can learn more about Emily.

This painful struggle, supporting her while she fought a terminal disease for two and a half years and now living with our loss, is lightened when we envision this meditative space christened in her name. It warms our heart to embrace the healing and grace the bench will bring to her family, loved ones, friends… to all who find a moment of respite and reflection amidst her spirit. But most importantly, Emily will be honored, delighted, to have this bench in her name. She is smiling with us as we carry this idea forward.

For 23 years in a row now, spanning Emily’s life, we have gathered with our closest friends and their families at the Shrine lodge over a long weekend in January. At all ages, Emily loved these annual reunions. She never missed one, including this past January when her health had declined considerably. She managed to share a few laughs, memories and hugs that evening before tiring and going home.

During these family gatherings it is tradition to walk the grounds, all of us, oftentimes in groups, sometimes alone. Under northern lights, brilliant stars and full moons, enveloped in blizzards, freezing rains, pea soup fog, and wind whipped winter sunshine, we always happily walked the grounds: the Chapel,  island overlook, Stations of the Cross, low and high tide shorelines, and in later years the Labyrinth (when snow free), gardens, Columbarium and Rosary Trail.

At the very end of the Rosary Trail, one arrives at the Pieta. It is so peaceful here. And the expansive view – Island of the Shrine, Chilkat Mountains, Eagle Beach, Northern Lynn Canal – is stunning, humbling and feels like home. For those who thoughtfully wander to the end of the Rosary Trail, it is a welcoming, tranquil place to reflect, give thanks, pray. We stopped here many times in recent years, often thinking how lovely a bench would be to extend one’s stay at this special place and moment. Now we have a reason to create that bench for one and all to enjoy.

Throughout Emily’s life, and illness, the immutable, binding force of love gave us all strength and safety when needed most. It forever will. As we held her in our arms during her final hours, held her hands as she took her last breath, only our love mattered. “Love never fails…” is the scripture we wish to etch upon granite.

Our family tradition of gathering at the Shrine, now with grandchildren, will continue in 2015 and for years to come. Our children plan to continue and make anew the tradition in their own time. The bench, should it come to pass, will be a precious and powerful gift for generations to come. Emily will be so pleased.

Thank you for your consideration of our request.


Jamie, Cris & Jessica Waste, dog Lucy
And all who love Emily