I started a post a few weeks ago about how busy I was. My husband went out of town for two weeks and I was struggling with taking care of the kids and trying to making myself presentable for work. I never put the post up — because I was too busy. Turns out I didn’t know what busy was — those two weeks were a breeze compared to last week.
On Tuesday I got the email (it will forever be called “THE email”) that a friend of mine from college, a wonderful, amazing and beautiful woman, was in complete organ shutdown. That was at 9:30 a.m.. She died just before noon that same day. Her death has devastated an entire community.
It was five months ago that we learned she had stage 4 melanoma. Upon hearing the news, one of our friends created an email group to stay in touch and send updates so we could pray for our friend and her family. We followed every update from the family with hope in our hearts. Then, when the email came saying she died, it hit us all like a brick. Everyone walked around with heavy hearts. Cathy was just 39 year old. She was married for more than 16 years and has four beautiful, young children.
She was the President of our sorority in college and the sorority’s flower was the white rose, symbolizing friendship. At the funeral, many of us carried a single white rose down the aisle of the church to place in a vase for her sister (also in the sorority). Those of us in attendance carried an extra rose for some who weren’t able to travel to the service. It was a crushing, emotional and inspirational service — all at the same time. Her husband spoke about his wife in such loving terms. He comforted those of us in attendance by singling out the groups in which Cathy participated, from her college days to her work days and other activities. He made each of us feel loved by her. He was so strong. Her sister sang beautiful songs and played the piano. The church was packed to the walls with more than 900 people in attendance.
After the funeral I had lunch with one of my sorority sisters and we so enjoyed each others company. It was helpful to have a friend to lean on that day. Then, I drove 3 hours south to my childhood hometown to see my grandmother who had surgery earlier that day for a broken hip. She’s 85 years old with a tiny, 85-pound frame and has many complicated health issues that makes something as routine as hip surgery to be a life or death situation. When I arrived at the hospital, she was sleeping and looked very frail, breathing through an oxygen mask. I’m not sure she knew I was there that day. My brothers and mother were there too. “This is where we get our strength from,” my mother said to her children.
When I left for the funeral Friday morning, I didn’t know if my grandmother would be alive when I made it to the hospital. It was a daunting day that weighted heavily on my shoulders. But, make it she did. I stayed through the weekend, visiting her each day and seeing progress. She has a ways to go and I’m not sure the road will be easy for her. My wish is that she stay comfortable and that we are able to help her through whatever is to come.
I’m back home now after a busy and emotional weekend. Now I try to get back to a routine. I’m so glad I attended the funeral and that I made it to see my grandmother. I’m trying to stay connected to those I love and friendships that mean the most to me.