Memories

I have some friends that recently lost a good friend to breast cancer. I didn’t have the pleasure of knowing her- I just knew *of* her. Hearing them speak of her, seeing them grow through their young grief has taken me back to a time when I was also grieving for someone I lost almost 15 years ago.

She was my sister-in-law, but I just told people she was my sister. She was my brother’s high school sweetheart. We weren’t close right away, but she really was the sister I never had.

She would do my hair and makeup (something I was never good at), and she’d cook meals out of a box like it was the best thing she could imagine, and she would laugh with me at the silly high school drama I went through. She was a fan- she went to my performances for choir or drama and smiled so big- regardless of how much or little I was featured. She would listen to me play my keyboard with all of the self-taught skill I had (nowhere near any real talent), but she was always amazed at me. She taught me to drive; sold me my first car; kept the secret that I was pregnant (but between you and me, I think she spilled the beans at the end); did a horrible job trimming my bangs once, was pregnant with me (she had her baby a week after I had mine, even though she was due a week before me); helped me lose weight; helped me be a better person; helped me not be so afraid of being a mom; taught me to stand up for myself…

It is said that you meet a certain number of people who change the course of your life- and she was one of them.

She taught me to be assertive. I am honest and kind and direct because she taught me how to incorporate those qualities into my character. She taught me to be proud of myself (I still teeter on that line between confidence and conceit). Believe me, the person who writes this today is not the same person from my youth.

God brought her home in 1997. It is still painful to process in my head. The way it all happened, the events leading up to it, and the changes that have taken place since then- all a part of a plan that I wasn’t aware of. Which is why I was so angry with God. There was no denying His existence; it was clear that He had His hand in it. So many questions- why? And why? And why?  As it turns out, His answers were in my questions.

I cried for days…. months…. weeks.  Every year on April 30th, I still cry a little. I have a difficult time letting people in – I am terrified of losing people I love.  I still dream that it was all a nightmare, and she shows up again in my life.  I miss her terribly.

There will come a time when we all feel this type of loss.  It is so incredibly difficult, and each person grieves differently.  It took me many years to recover.  After 15 years, I can look back and not feel the sting as much.  Believe me, the pain will subside; even if it never really disappears.

Seeing my friends grieve remind me why we should be thankful.  For one – be thankful for every moment; for every moment on earth, for every moment with the people you love; for your things; for the breath in your lungs.  Two – never spare an opportunity to tell people how you feel, and what they mean to you.  Three – love without fail so you never feel regret.

The sun will rise tomorrow.  Remember fondly, because I know that is what she wants.  And know, without any doubt, that you will see her again.  She’ll be waiting.

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