It was a week ago today I got the text.
“It doesn’t look like he’s going to make it.”
A few hours later came an even harder one. “We’re getting ready to say goodbye.”
My breath was gone. I couldn’t seem to process what I had just read. No. This was a horrible mistake.
Then the sobs came. Deep, heaving sobs. My kids all rushed to me, and I could barely get the words out.
It might be the first time my kids have seen such devastating grief. They knew our friend too, but time had lessened their pictures. It had not lessened mine. They were so sweet to sit with me as I wept and pray with me for our friend to be ushered into the Kingdom with fanfare and rejoicing and love. We prayed for the very first time he would see the face of Jesus.
Plans were made, and 36 hours later we were on a plane headed to be with a grieving wife and kids. We wanted it all to be a bad dream, but if it wasn’t, we would walk through the unbelievable alongside the family who had shared three years of our lives. We had created so many beautiful memories together. We would walk thru the hard too.
We landed in a bustle of planes, in the middle of a city swirling with life. I watched families gather their bags with anticipation. I saw a workforce moving like any other day.
And I wanted to scream, “Don’t you know our friend just died?!?”
I wanted the world to stop.
I wanted everything to stop and recognize the loss of a deeply good man. A husband. A father. A friend.
How could the world still be spinning as usual? It had all come to a screeching halt for us. I was mad life was carrying on like normal for so many.
We spent two and a half days in the sacred reality of death. We held a family tightly. We spoke words that often aren’t said until moments like this. We looked at pictures and remembered so much good. We laughed.
We played cards and waged Nerf battles with precious kids who are far too young to be without a daddy. We listened, and we loved.
We wept. We wept for our own hearts, and we wept for those were left with a devastating new normal.
And then we honored a life very well lived. It was an incredible privilege.
The world did not stop. It kept whirling around us, and it will keep on going.
My world is different now though. It is sweeter, and it is deeper. My heart hurts so badly, and yet I would not trade it. I am so thankful for the chance to have loved, even if it means we say goodbye.
There was a day not long ago where I would have worked hard to not feel the pain I now know. I would have thought it more than I could handle.
I do not choose that anymore. I choose to feel. I choose to feel deeply in joy and in grief. I choose to feel alive.
We won’t ever forget the days and years we had with a really good guy. We won’t forget the adventuring or the respite he provided. We certainly won’t forget the food and wine we savored together. Love allowed us to share our lives with each other, and it was good. Even now, it is very, very good.
Goodbye friend. We rejoice for the glory you now see. We know there will be a day when we will share wine with you once more. We long for it.