When I was a teenager, my family left the church and town I had grown up in and set off on a new adventure in a town 2 1/2 hours away. My dad had been a construction worker, and then all of a sudden, he became a pastor. His joke is that full-time ministry is “easier on the back; harder on the knees.” (Yeah. He’s that kind of pastor.) But, this isn’t really about him as much as some of the dear people who helped us through the transition.
Among the crowd that welcomed us was a couple my parents’ age. They are, to this day, fiercely loyal, hilarious, kind, faithful, and the kind of people you and your spouse look at and say, “let’s be them in 20 years.” They have helped us move, supported our family in the inevitable moments of church conflict, and been the true friends that are hard to come by when your family is on a pedestal. Kind. Faithful. Welcoming. Loyal.
Well. This week, Kelly died. It wasn’t sudden – she had been battling cancer for 18 months – but the latest scans/tests had been encouraging, so it kind of was. The myriad of people that have loved them posted on their respective Facebook pages notes of encouragement, sympathy, sorrow. They all talked about her being with Jesus and being free of pain. But, this isn’t really about that, either. This is about those left behind. (Comic relief ahead: I am in no way affiliated with that creepy Left Behind series about life after The Rapture. Wait. Is The Rapture capitalized?)
Being in the Navy, we say goodbye to things fairly frequently. I say a temporary goodbye to K when he leaves for deployment. We say goodbye to temporary homes, towns, and favorite grocery stores. We say goodbye to temporary neighbors, fellow sailors, and support groups. In all of these situations, I feel the loss, but I also am thankful that what has been was lovely and significant and good enough to miss.
None of these Navy things are even close to the goodbye we said to Kelly this week, but I still feel that familiar thankful-sad. She was a wife, daughter, sister, sister-friend, coworker, and mentor. Each of us that was left behind as she passed now misses who she was in our life. I grieve for each of us that have lost such a beautiful person, but am thankful that she was amazing enough to leave such a gaping hole in our hearts.
Ok. Since now I’m ugly crying and y’all (ya’ll?) have gotten used to my posts being hilarious… Here’s a funny story:
A couple of weeks before I had J, K took me to a restaurant for our 5th anniversary (Yes. We were babies). It was the top floor of a gorgeous hotel in Waikiki and we watched the colors reflected off the houses and buildings change as the sun set. I ate my weight in delicious banned food: prosciutto, steak that wasn’t overcooked, and even half of a glass of prosecco with my cheese plate. After dinner, K and I walked/waddled to the elevator, and got in with one of the teenagers that goes from table to table selling single roses to the poor guys who didn’t plan ahead. We were about halfway down in this tiny elevator when I turned to K and said, “ugh. I ate so much I feel like I’m pregnant.” And that’s when K decided to never go out in public with me again.
1 – I usually find some sort of image — you know, because of those “to attract readers, make sure there are engaging photos!” posts. But, what is appropriate? A cliche landscape with a Hellen Keller quote? So I’m just skipping it.
2 – K said, “[this post] seems kind of disjointed; maybe you should put some sort of conclusion.” And then I said, “Yeah. There’s no conclusion. Just sad, sad, sad, funny…. Ok, ciao.”
3 – On those (foot)notes: Ok. Ciao.