5 years ago today, I witnessed a little baby girl breathe her first breath, and I heard her cry for the first time, and since then, I have been privileged to be a part of many firsts and seconds and thirds. My niece turned 5 today. Time seems to have just zipped on by. I remember getting a note from the office, during my calculus class, that my sister was in labor at the hospital. I remember driving over after school and all the rest of that day. What an amazing thing to witness.
My neighbor said today that the two most holy days in our lives are the day we are born and the day we die. Today, for the first time, I am dealing with the death of someone close to me. My mom's best friend, Carol, passed away in her sleep last night. My neighbor called me, because she had heard from a friend who knew her that Carol had passed away. And they asked me to call my mom. Well, I called my mom and she was already there. It turns out, she was the first one to find her. I've heard her tell the story twice now and both times she has cried. She was also the one to tell Carol's son. My mom hadn't called me, because I was driving back from Oakland and she didn't want me to be driving when I found out. Well, I cried nearly all the way back home. I cried because I will never get to see or talk to her in this life. I cried because I could hear how her 6-year old grandson might say, "Grandma's gone." I cried for my sister and my mom and my niece who would continue their lives without this woman who had been a part of our lives for so long. I cry now.
But I am joyous, because I know that Carol knows Jesus and is living in Heaven with Him right now. Carol had many worries and troubles and painful times in her life here on earth. I am joyous because that pain does not exist, worries are not present, and the word trouble is gibberish in Heaven. She can live for eternity in peace and rest with Jesus Christ. Another of my mom's friends said, "I wonder if Carol was surprised when she woke up in Heaven?" What a beautiful question. I'm sure she was delighted.
As I already said, this is the first time I have had to deal with the death of someone close to me. All four of my grandparents are alive; my parents are both alive and still married; all three of my siblings and their families have lived healthy lives. I vaguely recall sitting on the playground in Kindergarten, telling a friend that my great-grandma died, but I don't really remember the rest of the experience. Cheyanne, my niece, is 5 today and my sister hasn't told her yet, because she wants her to enjoy her birthday. Carol was like another grandmother to her. The young children are the ones I cry for the most, because they may not be able to understand what's going on and where Carol has gone. I am glad that we know where Carol is and that someday I will join her.
Lord God, Our time here is limited, but I can see that you are using us to touch the lives of so many. Thank you for Carol's life here on earth. Thank you for her friendship with my mom. Thank you for her devotion to her children and grand-children. Thank you for her love and giving spirit. We miss her, God. I am so glad to know she is with you. I can't wait to come hang out with you too. Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.
I love you, Lord.