The tears just won’t stop this morning as I walk around the house aimlessly. I think I am okay and can get on with day and then the feelings of grief wash over me again. I knew this day was coming as my friend has been struggling with terminal cancer for over a year. Yet the reality – and the finality – of learning of her death has rocked my world.
In one way I am thankful – she has been released from pain and suffering and she now resides in heaven with Jesus. But otherwise I am sad as I have lost an advocate, a confidant, a mentor, and a vibrant friend.
God has brought many and varied friends into my life at different times. This particular friend came into my life when I was having some deep personal struggles. She loved me through them all and did a great deal to help my healing and restoration. I am not sure how it happened, but she became the person with whom I could talk about absolutely anything. I could always count on her honesty in her responses. She was never afraid to tell me what was on her mind and I, in turn, would do the same for her.
I think we need those people in our lives – those who are not afraid to tell us (in love) when we are off the right track. Sometimes we pussyfoot around with each other and don’t really say things that would help the other person grow. As I think back on my years of friendship with this particular woman I am thankful for the candid thoughts we could share with each other and how I learned so much in the process – about her, about myself, about dealing with my kids, etc.
It does go both ways. I followed her example and learned to become more forthright in sharing my opinions and feelings. I learned to put aside the reserve that had permeated my life and kept me from some deep friendships. As she had her own struggles, I was able to reciprocate and offer her wisdom and encouragement.
While there was some mentoring going on, as she was old enough to be my mother, for the most part we were just two friends who shared much common ground. Because of her own interest in writing, she has been a strong advocate of my writing career, and even in her illness she sent me tidbits of writing information that she came across. I know that as I continue to write I will ever have in mind – what would this friend have commented about this piece of work?
I have had some ups and downs in recent years as I have been in the process of leaving one career and taking the steps to concentrate on writing. More times than I can count, this friend and my husband have had the same things coming out of their mouths – an affirmation that I am on the right track. Both have continued to encourage me to use my writing gifts in God’s service.
How do I cope with the grief that I am feeling today? There is only one way – with the comfort that only God can give. Because this friend believed in Jesus as her Lord and Saviour I know that she has eternal life with Him. Because I believe the same, I will see her again one day in heaven and we will never be separated again. It will take time for the hurt to heal and the loneliness of the loss to subside, but with God’s help I will get through this and move forward into the life that He has planned for me.