Giving Thanks

I am thankful that God is faithful! He gives me the Holy Spirit to guide and support me in all circumstances. He disciplines me and provides people, family, friends, trials and triumphs to mold and shape me into the woman He created me to become. And most importantly, He gave His Son as ransom for my sin, my debt, my death so that I may truly live (aware of His grace and conforming to His truth) now and forever more.

Giving thanks for love, emotions,  connectedness, communication, music, words, talent, gifts, prayers, tears, laughter, hugs, smiles, senses, beauty, pain, touch, warmth, colors, life, death…

Nichole Nordeman, My Offering

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Death Comes Unexpected

We received word that my grandmother passed this morning…

She suffered a stroke a few months ago and her health had been quickly deteriorating since… So in some way, I suppose we were expecting it. But does one ever really expect death? No matter how much you “anticipate” it… No matter how much you “prepare” for it… No matter how many times you tell yourself it’s “part of life”… It’s “for the best”… It’s God’s divine will… Do you ever really… Do you ever truly expect it?

A professor of mine once explained that memories aren’t individual snippets of past experiences. Instead, he believed they were like multiple layers, loosely strung together. Each memory, therefore, was easily triggered by seemingly unrelated events. My sister’s call this morning was like that. Triggering thoughts of the last time I saw my grandmother… the last time I saw my mother cry… sounds of women wailing… holding a former student at his mother’s funeral… seeing a familiar face at a church member’s ceremony… a hospice hospital bed in the dining room… And Suddenly I found myself on my bedroom floor, flooded by all the unrelated moments of grieving in my life… Strung together at the core by one, the loss of my older sister.

Does one ever truly expect death? I prayed for healing for seven months. I prayed that I would suffer in her place. And then, in a moment of acceptance, I prayed for peace… And she died… Still unexpected.

The sound of silence

It has been said death the big sleep, the final sleep. I disagree. For in sleep, there is sound… There is breathing… There is movement… There is the expectation to hear one one’s voice again. There is the hope to finish conversations, make amends, keep promises, share your heart. But in death, there is only silence. A deafening, unending silence.

In memory of my sister…

Friday was my sister’s birthday… I thought about her a lot all day, actually, I think about her a lot in the month of May. I thought about my brothers and my younger sister. I wondered if they were thinking about her as well. Throughout the day, I called my family, we talked about random things, I left them goofy messages, but not once did we mention Rose. There was no need to. Secretly, I think we all knew what we were missing for the day.

 

Rose would have turned the dreaded three-zero this year. Where I would have made (and probably will make) a dramatic entrance into the thirties – mini-skirt, high heels, and all – Rose would have made her usual regal arrival. Always the lady, I imagined her celebrating this new era of life with very close friends and family, wearing a stunning new suit perfectly complemented with a majestic hat. If I had to, I would guess that she would dedicate a song to God in church on Sunday….

 

Sadly, I have to confess that my thoughts of Rose are becoming indefinable. I am starting to forget. I’m forgetting what her voice sounds like. Outside of a picture, I have difficulty conjuring up her features in my head. I cannot remember what some of her favorite things were. I couldn’t think of the perfect gift to give her for her thirtieth birthday – something to do with sewing, maybe an interesting recipe book, or perhaps an expensive pediatric nursing equipment. What would she really want? Memories are all I have left of my once closest friend, and they too are slowly fading away.

 

I guess that is why I’m writing now. I am attempting to leave myself memory clues and triggers. A year from now, when I am turning thirty, I want to vividly remember my sister. I want to make time for close friends and family. I want to thank and honor God for the gift of life. And even though I may sport my mini-skirt, I want to remember that I am a lady and carry myself like a queen.