It was just last spring we sat across the table, sharing life in layers of light and lovely, the in-depth way friends can, no matter the age or seasons between them.
There was news to share, but we didn’t rush it. Just as spring had followed winter, we knew the words would take root in their time.
It was in the tender, graceful way she leaned in that I knew it was coming. The way her aged hands grasped mine, and the kindness in her eyes held my own. There was such a certainty there, a clarity and peace as her practiced words fell upon my heart.
My tears couldn’t help but flow, as she shared the news that the cancer would take her before the next spring would come.
She let the words sink in as my heart tried hard to beat them back. To lose this beautiful woman so full of life and so loved; one who loved others so well. She was so much to so many, and the sadness flowed down my face as I contemplated the loss and felt the yearning for more.
In her ever so kind and gracious way, she allowed me the moment. Then with firmer grasp and a Jesus-filled peace, she leaned in more purposefully and she tended my heart with beautiful truth.
“I’ve lived 85 years on this earth. Sure they’ve been hard and trying at times, but they’ve been wonderful. I’ve done the things I wanted to do. I’ve had love, laughter, and joy, and I’ve had a beautiful family to share them with. This isn’t a bad thing. It’s wonderful! I know where I’m going, and I’ll be ready when God tells me it’s time.”
She spoke away my tears with her words. The surety of her faith and certainty of heaven were the truest truths she knew to share.
Within her was no remorse, no regret, no pleading for more or anger at less. She simply emanated a Jesus-peace — a readiness that comes with anticipation of what’s next.
It’s the way spring follows winter, isn’t it? Tulips and daffodils wend their way in thawing ground, and rose buds and apple blossoms unfold themselves in reply. It’s everywhere vibrant and bursting, and hearts can’t help but beat in wonder anew through winter’s un-berthing.
It’s within that season I seem to see God best. The surety of the change shows me the constancy of Him.
It helps me believe that in the midst of our own changing seasons, and the loved ones He weaves so beautifully in and through our lives, His certainty is our hope, and His promise is truth.
I navigated icy streets and snow-laden sidewalks that last day we shared together. I really didn’t know how I’d find her, now that the time was close. But her voice had been clear and strong over the phone, and her bright smile delighted as always, as she slowly walked down the hallway to greet me.
Her tender words wove a beautiful pattern of God’s love into my heart that afternoon, and her eyes simply sparkled in joy at what she knew was to come. I marveled at her peace, and she graciously granted my tears, knowing they were of love rather than loss.
My dear friend was right, she wouldn’t bear witness to another spring. Just five days later she quietly reached for His waiting hand, and within a breath was in His embrace.
Jesus was her peace. She attended Him daily in caring and kindness.
Love was her gift, and she His gifting to us. And just as sure as spring follows winter, my heart yearns to follow His with that same anticipation anew.
Though it’s loss we often fear, isn’t it love and promise we remember? Renewed through each passing season, within the constancy of His truths.
Spring may come late for some of us this year, but I can hardly imagine the glory of it from heaven’s view!Leave a Comment
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
What a beautiful post and tribute to your sweet friend. It just reminds me even more that nothing is certain in THIS world, but God. Everything on this earth will rust, turn to dust, die away, but God gives us the certainty of His presence. Through Him, we can have a glimpse of eternity in this world and we have the promise of such a better life to come. What a beautiful testimony your friend left you with that we all need to have a homesickness for our eternal home so that when we are called, we go to it with humble gladness. Perhaps that’s why for the person going Home, it is well with their soul, but for those of us who are left behind, it’s the worldly grief we have to deal with. Grief…one more thing we will never have to deal with when we, too, are Home. Drying my tears….thank you for sharing…sharing in your loss.
Donna Wagner says
Beautiful! I pray that I can bless those around me if a serious health issue is part of God’s plan for me. Thank you for sharing!
Gretchen Matthews says
What a beautiful piece. I lost both of my grandparents this winter. They had been married for 75 years and passed within 5 weeks of one another, having their mental faculties right up to the end. And both of them were harbors of peace. You could feel God’s love radiate off of them, and everyone loved to be in their presence, though many didn’t fully appreciate the reason why. I know they are with the Lord now, and that gives me tremendous peace, even as I am missing them terribly. Thank you for for this story. Seldom do I find a fellow writer whose worlds are like a balm for my soul.
Joy Geidel says
That was so beautiful. Death can be piercing & glorious at the same time…
This hit heavy on my heart as I have an ailing Mother who can no longer communicate & a Dad who refuses to leave her side of 64 years together. He repeats to anyone who is near that he took his vows before the Lord & his intent is to keep them until “death do us part”.
Thank you for your gracious introduction to what’s forthcoming even though I am kicking & screaming within.
I pray for His peace to fill my soul. I know Him, but I needed a grounding & reminder of His magnificence & constance. Praise be to God our King, the Beginning & the End.
Tina Storms says
Awesome grace–beautiful story! Thank you for writing it so eloquently. Have a blessed day!
Wow , what a beautiful tribute to your great friend . Although loss is tough , the love and memories are why the tears flow . Your friend had such a great peace and attitude about going HOME . What a blessing you both were for each other . I hope if anyone I know finds themselves dealing with an illness , I can be a strong blessing to them as well . Great reminder although my tears were flowing , may God bless you .
Angela Romano says
Thank you for sharing.
Faith Waltke says
I want my homegoing to be a time of rejoicing not mourning. God’s faithfulness and mercy have been new each day throughout my almost 88 years. I have 2 mottos -“The future is a bright as the promises of God” and “Only one life ’twill soon be past. Only what’s done for Christ will last”. Jesus will walk with me ALL the way home!
What a beautiful post. Brought tears to my eyes. I want to be like that friend of yours. So full of love, life, peace, kindness. I held my dad as he passed away in the hospital and it was so peaceful. I had opened his window and a gentle breeze flowed in and then my dad was gone to a better place. He knew where he was going and that helped all of us to know that we would see him again one day in heaven. God is so, so good . When out time here ends, look what we have awaiting us.
Oh Keirsten, this was wonderful.
Its been almost 3 years now that I lost my mentor of 35 years. She sounds so much like your friend. Altho she passed over into eternal life at 83. So many times I have wished I could talk to her and yet everytime I am reminded of what a gift the LORD gave me in my friendship with June. Our entire family misses her. She was Gramma June to my kids. Life isn’t the same when we lose someone we love so dearly, but oh won’t heaven be glorious? With the Holy Trinity and our loved ones forever!! Thanks for this article.
Your friend sounds like a blessing, and a gift. Thank-you for so beautifully sharing your gift of her with us.
Have a blessed day all,
Thanks for such an amazing post today. Just what I needed as my heart feels so heavy that I can’t put how I feel into words.
I pray for the peace of God which passes all understanding to fill every heart and mind and that we may know the joy that He alone gives through trying and difficult seasons.
Crystal Osha says
The words that flow from you are truly a gift!! You are amazing in everything you do!! You are Gods gift to so many!!
Thank you for sharing your heart with the world!!
Love you deeply!!
Kay Lake says
Thank you so much Keirsten! You made me think of my mother who died 3 years ago at the age of 97. Her mind was still strong and the very last week of her earthly life, she prayed for her hospice aide and waited for her to arrive at the house before she went joyfully to our Lord. Because of the Lord and my mother’s example I was later able to reassure my loved ones when I almost died during my 4 hospital emergencies. If I died it was all joy as I have reservations in Heaven, if I lived, God still had use for me here. I am still here, I am a miracle, and I am a witness!
Blessings to all my sisters at a distance, ~ Kay Lake
Beth Williams says
I agree with your friend. Don’t lament her loss to much-celebrate the life she lived Be happy she is with Jesus and no longer down here suffering. This year I lost my dad. Mom has been dead since 2009. Each loss didn’t really affect me that much. I realized their suffering down here was over & they could rejoice with Jesus. I don’t fear death I welcome it. No more suffering, pain-all joy & peace. I will be with Jesus.
Oh how I love this! I’m only 57 & healthy but I feel that very same peace & yearning. Even with a 1 year old granddaughter & another on the way, if God called me I’d run joyfully into His embrace!
Jennifer Gunn says
Lovely! I can tell she made a lasting impact on you. I am lucky enough to have a couple older and wise women in my life and I couldn’t be more grateful for them. They are treasures for sure!
Nancy Gladwin says
this touched my heart today…I’ve known women in my life like this and now they are gone. What a blessed life she lead with certain surety of where she was going. Thank you for sharing this heartfelt expression of life and love