Saturday, July 30, 2016

The picture that never made it to Insta... and the text that changed so much (A Journey in Grief - Part I)

It's been over eight months. I walked into church alone that morning. My man had taken a day trip, and I don't normally go to church without him, but I needed to be there that morning. I had gotten the text on Friday saying that she was on life support and to pray. My heart had been heavy ever since. I wasn't sure how to pray. Part of me just knew there would be another miracle, just like that test showing her blood free of the cancer cells had been a miracle, just like the transplant of bone marrow from her brother had been a miracle.

They had thrown a party that day, the day of her transplant. They called it her new birthday. There had been cake and games and so much joy and thanksgiving. Four months had passed since then.

I had been with her just a month ago. Made a special trip into town because I missed her. We had coffee together. Her body ached. I knew something was off. She never complained, not ever, but that day she couldn't sit still. I could see the weariness in her eyes.

As always she talked of God and His faithfulness. Told me that the whole point of life is to see the majesty of God and that if we aren't seeing that, there is no point. How she's made it an exercise and was teaching her daughter to do the same. But for the first time, I could see her fighting. Up until then, she had made the battle look almost effortless. She wore that Armor of the Lord like a second skin... like her true skin. She did always say that she never felt like her "earth suit" fit quite right, and I could tell that day that it all felt even less right. And it threw me off.

I've never really forgiven myself for that... for not knowing how to respond to her pain. For asking her to leave the comfort of her home and meet me. For telling her about my own struggles right there in the midst of hers. I know that's how she wanted it. She loved me. She loved pouring into my life. She lived to make Him known and she made Him known to me every time we were together. If we hadn't gotten that time, we would have missed so much, so maybe it's time I let that go and just give thanks.

I cried when I left her. As I dropped her daughter off at their house after we saw that musical together, the one about spoonfuls of sugar and shooting stars, she asked me when I would come back. "Whenever you want me to," I replied. "Be careful what you say... I'll hold you to it," she smiled. "I hope you do." I hugged her one last time. I remember feeling like I might break her if I wasn't careful. I got in my car and pulled out of the driveway. That's when the tears started to fall and I hoped she didn't see. Moving, planning a new life, leaving your friends. It's all so hard.

So yeah, a month later, I walk into church. The choir was singing that morning. I pulled out my phone to take a picture. I was going to post it on Insta with the caption: "When things look their darkest, that is when we must sing the loudest. Worship is always the answer to our heavy, burdened, and broken hearts. Eucharisteo always precedes the miracle." I thought about how this is exactly where she would want me to be. This is how she taught me to live. The way that God taught me to live through her.

I never did post that picture. Because that's when I got the text. I'm sorry to say that she passed away this morning. My heart plummeted and the tears rose. I was out the door of that sanctuary so fast.

It's been over eight months since she died. And I'm still not over it.

No comments: