Sunday, October 17, 2010

sharing sorrow and hope

so today . . . we spent about an hour with some friends, talking about their precious 28 year old son. as of yesterday, he doesn't live on earth anymore... was a fairly typical saturday for us--rollie played basketball in the morning, i slept in and then started the laundry, diandra was in san diego shooting a wedding. early in the afternoon rollie and i went to petco for dog food and then to rubio's for lunch. we were on our way home when the first phone call came in, asking us if we had heard, if it could be true...

a flurry of phone calls followed, and we quickly learned that the unthinkable had happened--our good friends had lost their youngest son. he was 28 years old. a seemingly healthy young man experienced multiple heart attacks in the space of an hour and a half and then, despite heroic life saving efforts, he was gone.

there was nothing we could do, except let them know that we love them. we can't feel their pain, but we can hurt for them in their pain. we can sit and listen to them talk about their precious boy--what he was like as a child, some of the difficulties he had weathered, and his plans for the future, plans that will never be realized. we can remind them that we live in an evil world and sometimes terrible things happen. and God weeps. we can agree with them when they talk of God's plan, and how we don't always understand it, (and sometimes even hate it,) but still acknowledge that God does have a plan and we choose to trust it--even in our pain and grief and longing for the one who is gone.

parents should not have to outlive their children. that is not the natural order of things. but sometimes it happens.

(diandra is having to endure extra motherly love right now. that's just the way it is.)

the thing that comforts them the most is knowing that one day they will see him again. his time on earth is over, but while those of us still breathing are grieving, johnny is dancing with Jesus. he no longer has to deal with all the frustrations and deadlines and people that seem to define our days. he never has to worry about being hurt or heartbroken again. all those things that rule our lives are no longer a concern to him. because he is dancing with Jesus.

when she was about six or seven, diandra had this need for the last words she heard from us to be "i love you." whether we were walking out the door, or hanging up the phone, the last words spoken had to be "i love you." sometimes we would tease her by trying to throw in a "see you soon," or "be good" at the end, but she would insist on hearing us say "i love you" before we were separated. at some point, it became less of an issue for her, but i think it is about to come back into play. because this has reminded me that there are no guarantees in this life. every time one of us walks out the door, there is no guarantee that we will walk back in again. (especially if we are headed for the freeway!)

we always think we will have time. we will have time to mend relationships. we will have time to show our parents how much we appreciate them. we will have time to tell our kids we are proud of them. we will have time to let our spouse know how lucky we feel to get to spend our life with them. we will have time to sit on a swing and eat ice cream. but sometimes we don't. sometimes the phone rings, and life is never the same. and we are left wishing... that we had taken the time when we had it.

and so, when we are all going our separate ways, i'm going to take 30 seconds to tell my family i love them. even if i am in a hurry. even if it feels awkward. even if my precious, darling daughter rolls her eyes (not that she would...) i want the last words my family hears me say to be "i love you." i hope it is a very long time before they hear me say it for the last time, but i am not taking any chances!

no regrets. i love you!


Carroll said...

Very touching. Very sweet. Great reminder. And I love you Julie!

Diandra Ann said...

I still have this issue. Sometimes I make myself get over it... I'm not quite as OCD about it where it has to be the LAST words out of my mouth. But there are times I'll start to walk away without saying it and then go back. And I would NEVER roll my eyes! I love you mom!