I've been absent.
I managed to post a few times, but my mind has been elsewhere.
On my friend.
I sit down to write and all I can think about is her. And her husband. And their daughters. And their grandchildren. And their sons-in-law. And I've thought that I shouldn't write about it here. It isn't my story to tell. It isn't my grief to place firmly on the shoulders of my Lord. But it's moving me and changing me and if I don't write it here then I fear I may never write anything of substance again.
When our plane landed on Saturday afternoon I had a voice mail from my friend. Her daughter had suddenly and very unexpectedly gone to be with the Lord on Friday. She was 43. She left behind her husband. She left behind her two daughters--not yet adults themselves.
I didn't know her. It felt like I did. I've heard so much about her. I've prayed for her and her family. She's prayed for mine. My heart just broke right in half for them. So I've been doing the only thing I can think to do. I've been praying--continuously. I simply can't get my mind off of the toughness of it all. So I pray.
"Mommy, what happened? Why are you sad?" Garrett asked me.
"Miss H's* baby died." I explained before realizing how confusing that would be to him.
"She has a baby? How come I've never seen that baby before?" He asked.
"Well, she's all grown up," I answered. "But she's still her baby."
"Just like I'll always be your baby?" He questioned.
"Exactly like that." I replied as I drew him into a hug.
You shouldn't bury your children. It just isn't the natural progression of things. My friend said as much to me when I rushed from the airport to her house so that I could see her before she left for California--where her family is. "No," I'd replied. "You shouldn't."
It's my biggest fear. It has been since the moment I laid eyes on my firstborn. Truly, it's been my biggest fear since I first laid eyes on the positive stick. "Fear not," my God tells me over and over in Scripture. Still, I find it very difficult to put into practice.
Difficult, but commanded nonetheless. To disobey is to sin against my Father who has decreed that I should not be afraid. And so, what if? What if my worst fear is realized?
Then I will breathe. First in and then out. I will grieve. I will want to die--of that I am quite sure. But I will continue to breathe. And, if I'm even a fraction of the woman He's called me to be, I will praise Him. "The Lord gives and He takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord."
I've seen my friend. I've spoken with her on the phone. She's lost the unthinkable. But she continues to praise the Lord. For that, I am fiercely proud to call her my friend.
The other day I ran a quick errand for her. She wanted a copy of a picture of her daughter for the service. I entered her house and located the photo. I took it off the wall and brought it into my own house so that we could try to get a decent copy of it. As I stared into the face looking back at me, my eyes blurred a bit. I looked into her eyes and I could almost see her dancing with the angels.
One of the glories of a crucified Savior on a cross and a risen King is that one day, though I never knew her in this life, we will dance together in heaven. Perhaps her mother, my friend, will even introduce us.
*I said her name.