My dad has always said I have a way with words, but I have a theory: if what I write or say has an effect on just one person then it’s done it’s job. So, I just write from the heart.
I have always been a passionate, emotional person. That’s just how God made me. If you’ve kept up with my blogs over the years you’ve heard stories of trials and heartbreak but also triumphs and love.
It’s funny how a year ago I felt lost trying to find my place, my person, trying to understand God’s plan through my own confusion and heartbreak with all that had happened since I graduated with my undergrad. Yet, here today I am amongst the happiest I’ve been, biting my nails as I await for the man I love to propose as he so enjoys teasing me about and making me wait for (as I am a very impatient person and it really is no secret that it’s coming).
As these happy moments occur there are also sad ones. Times where all I want to do is call and brag to her about who he is and how happy he makes me, and I’m reminded that I can’t do that and she will never get to meet this person whom she watched me wait for, for so many years. Though maybe in her own way she already has. At the life celebration party post funeral, I remember Lindsey (cousin) saying, “I’m sure she is up there in heaven cooking something up with God right now.”
Aunt JoAnn was my girl talk person, my second mom. She was older and wiser than my girlfriends and was just enough of a mom but wasn’t MY mom that I felt comfortable talking to her about most everything. My mom knew that if she couldn’t get through to me at times she’d tell me to call JoAnn hoping between the two of them they could get through to my stubborn rear. Most of our conversations centered around God and relationships. It’s been around two years since we found out she had cancer and approximately 15 months since we lost her. The pain fades but it’s still there. Really, it doesn’t go away you just live with it and then something triggers the remembrance. Something good happens and that person is who you want to tell. You don’t know what to do, you need advice so you reach for the phone, only to remember they’re not there.
Today’s trigger: a movie about cancer. I didn’t realize it was going to be a movie about cancer when I hit play. As odd as it sounds I do enjoy those movies because there is always a good life lesson you’re reminded of at the end. Sometimes it’s hard to explain to Lane why I am crying, he never got to meet JoAnn and though he’s heard stories he wasn’t there for everything our family went through. He has had his own trials with family cancer, but the battle and story is a little different for everyone. As I’m watching the movie I silently begin crying at different parts. One part because I’m reminded how my family pulled together during JoAnn’s battle, having holidays at the hospital with her. Another because I’m reminded of how many friends we had help us out both in New Mexico at school with me and in Oklahoma with my family, and the last because when that family lost the girl on the show, I knew exactly what they were going through. I will forever remember that day, the day we laid her to rest. I sat between the two strongest men I’ve ever known, one who just lost his daughter and the other his sister. My papaw held my hand through the entire funeral, I didn’t see him shed a tear. Matter of fact I never have. He is the patriarch of the family. He thought he had to be strong, but midst that tough exterior is a man who held his granddaughter’s hand as he did something a parent is never supposed to do, bury a child. Yet, when Lane asks me why I watch movies that make me cry I just shrug and say, “I don’t know.” When really I hadn’t been able to put into words what it was until tonight: memories. Those shows remind me of my family’s story and the memories that I took away from that experience are loving and triumphant.
Yes, my cousins lost their mother, my grandparents lost their daughter, my dad lost his sister, and I lost my aunt but I am reminded of the strength in family, specifically my own, and that is something that, though I may cry midst remembrance, I will never mind remembering.
Losing someone is always sad, even more so when they still had so much life to live, but you get to chose what memories you hold on to the tightest. Make sure those memories are the ones filled with hope, laughter, but most importantly love.
Maybe she did have a hand in bringing Lane and I together, or maybe she just sat over there and happily watched God as he did what she always promised me he would.
God is good all the time, all the time God is good.