Tribute to Nina Part 3

selective focus photography of pink peony flowers

With great sadness, we announce the passing of a great colleague and friend. We want to honor her memory by posting her old articles. Also, we will be posting an article dedicated to remembering the fantastic person she was. This will be a series of old and new posts. Be on the lookout for them: comment and pay tribute to this remarkable woman. You can donate to the family via this Facebook link if you would like.

When we heard about Nina’s passing, we wanted to pay tribute to her. This is a challenging task, as words aren’t adequate to paint the story of an exceptional person. We had the pleasure of working with Nina at Planet Hope in 2021. Snezana Gavrilovic-Popovic -Nina was one of a kind. We hadn’t known her very long, but it didn’t matter! She brought her sense of life and love to every meeting. She was always willing to share, help and talk. 

We had a group message chat where we could ask for prayers, talk, or update each other on the news in our family’s lives. Nina didn’t say anything in the messages specifically about cancer. We had a meeting on Dec 11, and how I wish I could remember what she said, how she said it. Did she have peace? Did she know that she had cancer already? She had talked about looking for alternative medicine for her pain – but never in a million years did we think it was cancer. I’m sorry we didn’t know or didn’t see the urgency in it all. Looking through old messages, I found the last time she messaged our group was for Christmas – saying, “Happy holidays! Merry Christmas!”. How precious are those words now! 

She was always so energetic, talking excitedly about things that interested her. You could see her zest for life and her joy in the everyday. She had big dreams for her and her daughter. Again, I am so sorry that she won’t be able to fulfill those. But knowing she believed in God, we must cling to the hope that we will see her again one day. 

Another fellow employee, Katie, says this about Nina.” I had the pleasure of volunteering at Planet Hope with Nina. Although we didn’t get the opportunity to meet in person, I got to know her through staff meetings and when we would meet for fellowship on Zoom. A few things stand out about Nina: her smile, sense of humor, kindness, love for her daughter, and relationship with God. She encouraged us to look to God as we walked through our challenges, and she was open and honest about hers.” 

Another employee, Lana, remembers what a strong and social woman Nina was. She was very passionate about her work. 

Two other team members, Lisa and Rachelle, have been overwhelmed by her passing – needing some time to process the heartbreaking news. I know they loved Nina and are shocked by her untimely death.

Our hearts break for her daughter, Marija Popovic! Nina glowed when she talked about her! Her every living breath was to do everything for her daughter! My condolences go out to her daughter, Nina’s husband, and her family and friends. Below is a letter to Marija.

Dear Marija, 

But please know how amazing your mom was, how every breath she took was with you in mind. Don’t forget all the stories and memories that you made together. Not even death can take that away from you. 

As you struggle and navigate life without her, may you find comfort in knowing she loved you very much! That her life lives on in you. As someone who lost her mom when I was young, I can tell you the most crucial advice: Allow yourself to go through the stages of grief! Please don’t hold it all in or try to be strong; instead, feel and love and cry and be angry! Whatever you are feeling is ok. There will be good days and bad days. Days that you laugh and smile again. Give yourself the grace and compassion you need for whatever stage you are at! There is no right or wrong way to grieve – it is a personal experience just as unique as you are! 

Love Emmy 

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“Consequently, faith comes from hearing
the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.”
~ Romans 10:17

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