Yesterday, June 16th, 2011, will be a day that I will never forget.
I woke up in the morning, said goodbye to C, and then went to J’s to go swimming. It wasn’t too hot, just enough heat to be able to get in the pool without it being freezing. The first swim of the summer, and I was loving it. I had such a nice time just hanging out, relaxing, and doing my favorite summertime activity.
At 12:06 PM, I got a text from my neighbor, saying that his mom, D, had passed away. She was diagnosed with Cholangiocarcinoma, a rare form of pancreatic cancer, in November of 2009, and her battle came to an end yesterday afternoon.
I vaguely remember telling J what was going on, then going straight home to change into clothes and go next door. Even though I’ve been there nearly everyday for the past year, nothing could have prepared me for what I experienced yesterday.
I don’t have the words to explain the overwhelming grief and sadness that I saw as I walked in. Trying to formulate my experience into words is unreal; it felt like an out of body experience. To be honest, I don’t think I’m ready to actually type out things that will forever be engraved into my memory.
D’s parents asked me and K to go to lunch with them at In-N-Out, and while lunch was very nice, filled with light hearted conversation, I couldn’t help but think about the fact that we were out in public, hours after it happened. It made me wonder about those sitting around me, and how their lives were playing out at that very moment. Were they experiencing loss also? I felt the same feelings as I grabbed dinner at Panera for everyone with K and K later that night.
Two moments in particular stuck out to me throughout the day, and I felt so thankful to experience each of them. Seeing the love that exists within the house, whether it be through sorrow or joy, is absolutely beautiful and breathtaking. The second moment was spending time with K, reading what he wrote about his mom, and looking through pictures of her.
Last night at about 2 AM, as I was about to leave, I had a really hard time, being that I had to be at the airport at 5:30 AM to catch a flight to Seattle. Tomorrow morning I’m going on a cruise for a week to Alaska, possibly without cell service. In those late hours, so many questions were running through my mind: “Why do I have to leave now?” “Are they going to be okay?” “How in the world am I supposed to enjoy a trip when my heart is breaking to be with them?” “Did I do enough today?”, among some.
I left in tears, and woke up in tears. This morning, I was about to leave my house, when I came across the most beautiful surprise. Two of my friends, knowing what had happened, asked about 20 of my other friends to write something nice about me, and they put each answer, covering my whole garage. I was so overwhelmed with joy and sadness all at the same time; I could not stop crying. I have never felt so special. It was so encouraging to know that so many people care. I went to the airport with a brighter outlook on the trip.
Long story short, my 7:30 AM flight to Seattle was delayed until 7 PM tonight. I am so glad that I was able to spend more time with my neighbors and best friends today. I had such a nice afternoon at their house, just spending time together.
I truly believe that everything in these past two days has happened for a beautiful reason. I had assumed that D would pass while I was gone on my cruise, and that I would achingly await the news, if I was even able to receive it through cell service, but she passed while I was home. K, her oldest son, and I had talked on Wednesday about whether he was going to go to the beach yesterday; he didn’t go to the beach, and he too, was home. Today, I left with a heavy, broken heart, and my flight was delayed, allowing me to be with the people I love most. The most special moment of all was talking to D’s husband this afternoon, when he told me that her memorial service is on July 2nd, meaning that I am able to attend it. He said that he purposely waited, because he wanted everyone to be able to come.
The past 30 hours have definitely been a whirlwind, but in the midst of such confusion, I am comforted with all of the sweet words and thoughts of all of the people who I have talked to. I am absolutely blessed and cannot ever repay each of the beautiful people that have helped me throughout this.
Now, as I write this, in Seattle, I am determined to try my best to have an awesome week. I know that’s what my neighbors want, and most importantly what D would have wanted. She was never one to dwell on sad things, anyway.
While my heart is so broken for their family, I am thankful for the people who are helping to hold the pieces together.
Is it weird that I haven’t thought about graduation much? My mind is elsewhere. School is the last place I want to be right now, to be honest, but I think it helps. I have such great friends. I like writing in people’s yearbooks, because nothing makes me happier than reminding others why I love them.
Everything is going to change in such a short amount of time…hours away. I will miss her. I am overwhelmed with grief, and I know that these next few days will be extremely hard, but I need to stay strong. I’m not ready to say goodbye.
Oh yeah, and I’m graduating in less than a week. I think I’m ready to say goodbye.
The most enjoyable thing I’ve done this week is seeing Water For Elephants tonight. It made me want to go movie hop to Bridesmaids, just so I could laugh a whole bunch. That movie seriously rocks. Nonetheless, I love WFE very much.
I don’t know how I would be managing to stay together if it wasn’t for God, my parents, my sister, my neighbors, my adopted sisters, and Rosie. I’m so lucky.
If anyone is reading this right now and you have time, please pray for me to remember that God is faithful even when everything else falls apart, and for strength, so I can be strong for them.