A year ago, some dear friends of mine got the worst kind of news. Their college-age daughter had died. It was an accident, no one was to blame. It was one of those completely out-of-the-blue tragic things that slap you upside the head and heart and make you wonder why why why why?
It was the kind of news that doesn't make sense when you first hear it. I remember someone telling me years ago of a young man who had died unexpectedly…I had to have the person repeat the sentence twice and then say it back to them before it actually clicked and I understood what was being said. It was something I had no frame of reference for in that moment…it was so unexpected that I couldn't hear the words.
So a year ago, I read the emails and the facebook status updates and the news reports over and over, hoping to see that there was some mistake. But it was true. And it finally sunk in, and I cried my heart out for my friends who's girl was gone.
She was sunshine, this girl.
Every memory I have of her is of her smiling or laughing. She was great at focusing on the person she was talking to, I think because she genuinely loved people. There was nothing fake about her. She loved the Lord Jesus and wanted nothing more than to do the things that would please him.
The weekend after I made the trip north for her memorial service, my husband and I went to Charleston, SC, where we encountered an old cemetery behind a church. I noticed the light playing with the remains of a tombstone, and went to get a closer look. I love the bits of the engraving I could read:
…brief was thy stay
…have called thee away
…have borne thee above
Even without trying to fill in the blanks, these words made me think of her. 20 years on earth is a brief stay…but she was full of love and has been called away…borne above…to be forever with her savior. And even as I have grieved for her family, I have rejoiced for her. She is in the place of unending joy and satisfaction.
And even as her family grieves still…and will always, on this earth, miss her…one day there will be a reuniting that will last forever.