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Rachel’s Story

Hello Family and Friends,

We really don't know where to begin this story so we have decided to just start where we are at today.  Rachel has been diagnosed with a new brain tumor and will begin radiation treatments today, October 28th.  She will finish sometime mid December and then begin follow up appts with her oncology team.  We have been blessed by a fantastic team of doctors as well as a super
support team (all of you!)

We simply ask you for your prayers at this time.  Please feel free to leave Rachel messages of encouragement here as well.  I am not too technology savvy so it may take a bit for me to load any photos.  

One last note....We haven't found much to smile about these past months but when you find opportunities for laughter one must take them...when we found out today that she has a 5 hour clinic visit on Thursday, my comment and email back to our doctor was, "5 HOURS!!!  Some women have babies faster then that" (ok maybe not all women but some).  It made Rachel smile and even gigle just a was so worth it!!       

The Woell Family

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Awww beautiful!

Awww beautiful!

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Christmas Greetings Everyone,

This is Rachel’s first Christmas in heaven…..I can’t even imagine what it must be like for her to be celebrating Christmas in His presence.…I only wish that I could be part of that celebration with her.  I pray one day that I too will have that opportunity to be forever in His presence.  For that to happen….I will need lots of help…and I will definitely need her help if I have any remote chance of getting in….poor girl…does she have her work cut out for her or what!!!  (and she thought life was tough down here…) 💚

We laid Rachel to her final resting place on November 15th.  It was a beautiful, peaceful morning and it was snowing gently.  Father Parks from our parish of St. Charles Borromeo celebrated her service for us.  On December 6th we attended a Holiday Remembrance Service at Hillside Cemetery where Rachel is.  They had this beautiful poem that they shared with us….I would like to share it with you as well.  It follows shortly.  I also will add a few more thoughts after the poem to update you on the incredible football season that TG had and a few other thoughts as well.  

First the poem….

My First Christmas in Heaven...

I see the countless Christmas trees

Around the world below,

With tiny lights, like heaven’s stars,

Reflecting on the snow.

The sight is so spectacular,

Please wipe away that tear.

For I’m spending Christmas

With Jesus Christ this year.

I hear the many Christmas songs,

That people hold so dear,

But the sounds of music can’t compare,

With the Christmas choir up here.

For I have no words to tell you,

The joy their voices bring.

For it is beyond description,

To hear an angel sing.

I can’t tell you of the splendor,

Or the peace here in this place.

Can you just imagine Christmas,

With our Savior, face to face?

I’ll ask Him to light your spirit,

As I tell Him of your love;

So then pray for one another,

As you lift your eyes above.

Please let your heart be joyful,

And let your spirit sing.

For I’m spending Christmas in Heaven,

And I’m walking with the King!

I know how much you miss me;

I see the pain inside your heart.

But I’m not so far away,

We really aren’t apart.

So be happy for me, dear ones,

You know I hold you dear,

And be glad I’m spending Christmas

With Jesus Christ this year.

I send you each a special gift

From my heavenly home above.

I send you each a memory

Of my undying love.

After all “love” is the gift,

More precious than pure gold.

It was always most important

In the stories Jesus told.

Please love and keep each other

As my Father said to do,

For I can’t count the blessings

Or the love He has for you.

So have a Merry Christmas and

Wipe away that tear.

Remember I’m spending Christmas

With Jesus Christ this year!

-Author Unknown

I especially felt great comfort in the last four stanzas.  Her gift to all of us was ‘love’….in each and every way possible she tried to share that with us and I know she continues to do so.  

Football….I must admit I have a new found love for this game!  These young men and their coaches were simply impressive and amazing in every way….on and off the field.  Our small school went up against big power schools in the 6A conference.  We made it all the way to the state champion game to play Eden Prairie.  What a game!!!  What a season!!!  Yes…we lost the game in the final seconds…yes…it was yet another nail biter game that our boys gave us…and yes…Eden Prairie won the game but there was truly only one group of young men who were the true champions this football season!  That belonged to Totino-Grace!  It is a season I know I will never forget!  There were just so many amazing things that happened throughout their season….great players and coaches put them in the running for one of the top 10 best football programs in the nation!!  The color ‘green’ took on a life of its own….for me it was so empowering and filled with great love for Rachel.  The green heart that was placed and remains lit over the football stadium….and now a green Christmas tree with a heart in the middle is displayed in the football practice field as well (I hope to attach a photo here.)  The green posters, all the green shirts, the chanting of ‘We love Rachel’ during the games brought me to tears.  I will always remember at several games where both teams took time to pray together after several of their games.  To see them on bended knee, praying…was so powerful.  The parents/guardians of these young men will always hold a special place in my heart….thanks for supporting and loving your sons like you have.  Not only did the football team have a winning season, they have raised $4,500 towards the Scholarship fund set up in Rachel’s memory too.  There are just so many memories…I could go on and on….an amazing and treasured season.           

As many of you know we started the Rachel Woell Endowment Scholarship Fund…it has grown to over $80,000!  It was at $40,000 and then an anonymous donor matched the gift!  I can not put into words my deepest gratitude for all the gifts that you have shared in Rachel’s memory at TG and at other organizations that Rachel loved.  The outpouring of love and support for our family as been so incredible and such a blessing to us.  

Another really awesome memory made since Rachel’s passing was back in October where a rosary made out of balloons was released in Rachel’s memory at her old elementary school, St. Charles Borromeo….I have attached the clip I am hoping here…hope it works….   It was a good half hour before we couldn’t see it anymore.  Thank you Mrs. Flynn and St. Charles for remembering Rachel and for your wonderful idea.  

As well, One of Rachel’s classmates also made us a cross out of green string and framed it for us.  He told us he struggled to tie this particular type of knot  but after Rachel’s  passing was able to get it to work.  It is absolutely stunning and beautiful.

My note is getting rather lengthy….again….so I will bring my note to a close.  Jamie and I wish you all a very blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year!  We are spending time with family over the holidays.  Yesterday we were flying at 29,000ft....and I thought to myself...the closest I would get physically to Rachel at Christmas....I will take it!     

💚 Yvette, Jamie, Oscar 🐾 & Oreo 🐾 💚

20 people hearted this



Roni & Tony Weber
By Roni Weber
I still love to come to Rachel's site and read the stories, and feel the "gift" of being each day. Thinking of Jamie, Yvette, Oscar and Oreo. from time to time.
ivo schoch
By Sister Ivo Schoch
Love is forever. Love is Eternal. We love as Rachel taught us to love.
1 person hearted this
Beth Strong
By Beth Strong
Krista Wiemiller
By Krista Wiemiller
Dear Yvette and Jamie,
Thank you so very much for sharing the poem and your thoughts during this blessed time. Rachel's life is a beautiful gift for which I will always be grateful. She reminds me of God's love, of His light, and of His promise. I feel her love and presence, too, and it pulls me through the darkest of these winter days. My classes and I pray for you several times each day, and seeing you at school brings us so much joy! Your family will always have a special place in my heart. Always. ¡Qué Dios les cuide!
1 person hearted this
Greg Schoch
By Greg in Seattle
Great timing, Yvette, with so many of us thinking of Rachel in this holy season. Thanks for sharing how Rachel's own goodness (and the goodness of others) continues to spill over. It cannot be contained, and it is quite perfect that much of this goodness is spilling over onto Totino-Grace High School.
1 person hearted this
Cindy Swanson
Thank you so much for the wonderful update. The green lighted tree in your front yard is a constant reminder of Rachel shining down on all of us. Don't you worry about the heaven part, Yvette (and Jamie too). You have earned your place over and over.
God bless you and give you peace and comfort on your easy days and especially the difficult days! Loving and praying for you and all your family who are going through all these "firsts" without Rachel.
1 person hearted this
Joelle Syverson
Thanks for the update and the beautiful poem, I absolutely loved it, a perfect picture of Rachel, her heavenly home and her love! I couldn't agree with you more that TG was the true champions of the state high school football game. Much love, prayers and peace to you in the new year! Joelle
1 person hearted this
Maureen Edwin
By Maureen
Peace and love of Jesus fill your hearts now and always. Rachel shares her love , yes, but so do you! Heaven is nearer than we think....and when the time comes, Jesus arms will be as joyful welcoming you. Thank you for continuing to be a loving presence at TG 💚❤️
1 person hearted this
erik Walter
By erik Walter
Pat-Monica Duffy
By Pat, Monica, Kevin, Colleen & Rachel Duffy
Yvette and Jamie, thank you for updating us and taking time out of your day. We talked about Rachel just yesterday and today, knowing how much you must be missing her. How could you not? She was just so special and beautiful. Rachel is spending her first Christmas with Jesus and He is holding her close, please be assured of our prayers we know how much you love and miss her.
1 person hearted this