I lost a dear friend to cancer. Her funeral was today in Fort Wayne, IN.
She left behind two sons, Joe & Gabe. One a few years older than Cade and one a year younger.
And a husband who loves her more than life itself and who is still in shock. Even if you see this coming, you don’t.
And I haven’t talked to anyone about her. Not even Rylan, although I spent two nights crying in the dark because once the house was quiet, I could let myself feel her. Miss her. Mourn her.
Denise is the founder of Matilda Jane. The clothing that I dress Claire in because it’s modest and super cute and fun and comfortable. And also just because I am loyal to Denise and wanted to support her, which is silly as Matilda Jane has turned into an empire, but still.
I love everything she stood for. Everything she did. Charities and volunteering and donating and creating and loving and friending. Her optimism. Her light.
I am mad at myself.
In haste to clean up my phone, I deleted my last text message marathon with her while she was waiting to go to Houston for brain surgery.
And it was all I had.
This afternoon I was cleaning up the kitchen, and rearranging a few pretty things — I held a set of measuring cups in my hand that had been dropped one time, chipped, but too pretty to part with.
It’s the sister set that I gave to Denise ages ago. She would send me pictures of them every once in awhile, and in thinking about this, I lost it again.
I see post after post and post on Facebook about her. Tributes and notes and pictures and couldn’t think of a single word to say.
The loss of her leaves a void and I wish I could honor her better than that. To be speechless.
And then there’s David. Married for almost 18 years and her very best friend. He’s now going to raise their sons alone.
And I have a pretty good idea how he is feeling but I also know nothing helps.
His darkest days are starting. How do you address that?
And while all of this is whirling around in my head, I look at these pictures of Avery and Rylan.
I can’t believe somewhere along the way, I emerged from the other side.
I’m changed. Changed for the better and also for worse.
I understand the value of time and of relationships more than I ever have.
I also am fearful of loss in an almost crippling way.
I just look at my children and my husband and my parents and in-laws and I just want to hold them tight.
Loss reminds you of how good you have it — until you don’t.
Hold on tight to your friends. Your family. What and whom you love.
If there was ever a reason to believe in the power of healing, just look above at the baby and the daddy. The wildflowers and the sunshine.
It’s God’s love language.