Today was hard! Everything about today was just hard. I did not want to get out of bed. I stayed in longer than I probably should have, but I just did not want this day to start. I knew it was going to suck. And, it did suck. Sorry, it just did. I tried to just push through the emotion of what the day would bring; persevere, even though every ounce of me did not want to do anything, while a bitter-sweetness loomed. Nothing went well, mostly because I allowed everything to be dictated by what I was feeling. I did give myself and the kids a very abbreviated school day, more because I needed it, plus we had somewhere to be. Trying to get our five children ready, out the door, in the designated places and on time, can often feel like I am dragging a dead horse though wet sand. The devil had his way with me today, starting with a missing shoe fiasco as we were trying to get out the door. This turned into my shouting how unsurprised I was that things go missing in the catastrophe they call bedrooms. So said child wore a dress, tights and sneakers because I did not want to be late. I had to be somewhere important, for someone important! This special person deserved punctuality, and so much more. Seething with frustration I drop the littles off at a sitter and head to a most familiar place, Hillcrest, our church. It felt a little less familiar today. Just in the nick of time, we found a pew and were settled. Settled as much as I could be settled. My heart was not settled, but so unsettled. Today we laid my friend to rest. Today was Brenda's funeral...Brenda's funeral. Oh my, how that sounds so strange, so unbelievable. Even to type it, I am overcome with such waves of emotion...sorrow, grief, disbelief...and joy. I am joyful knowing that she is with Christ today. She is whole. How awesome for you, Brenda.
It has been such a whirlwind of shock since Friday. We all went to Memphis for our fingerprinting appointment at the Department of Homeland Security. As we were leaving the facility, we received a completely unexpected text that Brenda had been taken to the hospital and needed prayer. Before we left the parking lot, as a family, we prayed for Brenda, not knowing any single detail. We prayed God's hand on her in whatever situation. As we were driving to the Ethiopian restaurant, Marcus called our pastor to see if he knew any details. Our pastor did not give us good news. They were waiting for all of her family to arrive at the hospital. Waiting on family to arrive? Nothing about that sounded good. We waited on our meal and word on Brenda. Word finally came not long after our food arrived, that Brenda was gone. We were crushed. What a blow! She had gone to be with the Lord and no longer here with us. He called her home. She was 57 years old. She was active, vibrant and good as gold. She had been seemingly perfectly healthy Wednesday night at church when she brought me the usual checks to sign. She was seemingly fine at bible study Thursday night, requesting prayer for another. This day she was gone. We did not talk about it over our meal and did not tell the kids just yet. Marcus and I discussed our shock as we reminisced on the drive home, while the kids watched a movie. We wondered if Rex, her husband who had gone home to be with the Lord some years before, had been the first one to greet her. Was she totally shocked and amazed and confused to see him? Or in the twinkling of her eye, did she completely understand everything? Did she know without a shadow of a doubt where she was?
We attended her visitation last night at our church. She was dressed beautifully. Loved ones were gathered to say their good byes to such a wonderful lady. Her funeral honored her memory well. It was only fitting that the men in her life speak. Brenda was our church secretary, the hub of operation. Our Youth Minister, who spent a great deal of time with her daily, spoke first. He reminded us of her godly qualities, notably of her burden-bearing ways. Brenda always wanted everyone to be okay. She was a natural caretaker. She was helping raise her two grand-daughters, being the prime, spiritual leader in the home. She no longer had Rex, her husband, to be the spiritual leader. She spoke of him in bible study with us. She was a sharer. Have you ever noticed that strong bonds form when you show enough trust with another, that you share intimate pieces of your life? Brenda always shared in bible study. Many times in bible study, she was my go-to gal. I was depending on her to help keep discussion flowing and avoid the awkward silences that come with the I-do-not-want-to-answer-that kind of questions. She was not afraid to let us in and we, in turn, were not afraid to let her in too. Our pastor reminded us that Brenda was also a doer. She was an active member of our church. As we walked down the hall, checking the sign-up sheets for upcoming activities, hers was the first name we saw. She always wore a smile and a positive attitude If she was ever asked how she was, her response was always the same "Well, I'm marvelous!" She was marvelous.
Our church will be different without her. My life will be different without her. MANY lives will be different without her, but MANY lives were changed because of her. I was honored and blessed to know her and love her. I was even more honored and blessed to be loved by her. Until I am called home, dear friend, you will be missed.