I’m an optimistic person and would classify myself as happy—at least most of the time. Yet some days you get an early morning phone call that seems to just make the earth tilt a little different. I got one of those phone calls Friday morning.
I turn my phone’s sound off at night because the whistling, dinging, and notifications interfere with my sleep. Once I discovered the alarm still rang with the sound off, I just automatically turn it off at night. So when I heard the phone buzz, I picked it up trying to figure out why my alarm was silent. It wasn’t the alarm malfunctioning, it was a phone call from my son with bad news.
My forty-seven year old niece Krystal had passed away in the early morning hours. Shocking, unexpected news. Devastating news. The kind of news that can suck the air from your lungs. A cherished family member gone. Just gone. Forever from Earth.
My sorrow at losing a beloved niece cannot even compare to the crushing blow this was for her parents, husband, children, siblings, grandchildren, and those privileged to be in her inner circle. It was a big circle because Krystal had a loving heart and a gentle nature.
Today was her funeral. Three days before Christmas, and what? The hap- happiest time of the year? No. Hundreds of people gathered together to remember Krystal, honor Krystal, and to lay her to rest.
As the photos on the PowerPoint transitioned, we saw Krystal as a little girl, a teen-ager with big hair, in a beautiful white dress on her wedding day, cuddling her baby, with her family, turn around, turn around. Krystal with her little smile, sparkling eyes, and quiet sense of humor. I had watched her grow up in real time and the photos were fast-forwarding through the years.
When most people can’t find time to join one church, Krystal belonged to two. One a traditional Lutheran Church and the other a more modern non-denominational church. Both pastors, one traditional, and the other quite unconventional both spoke of the woman they had grown to depend on and cherish.
After words of comfort and prayers, we queued up with a long line of cars to go to the cemetery for the interment. After the long drive, we huddled beneath umbrellas as the rain began in earnest, shoes sinking into the soft earth. We shared umbrellas, coats, hugs, and sorrow as the rain beat down and we prayed the Lord’s Prayer.
We went inside the church to share a meal and comfort each other. To share the sorrow. As I talked to Mike, he said, “You know what it’s like, Aunt Linda.” I do know what it’s like to lose a beloved spouse. It’s like losing part of yourself. An unfillable void. “There are no words,” he said. I couldn’t agree more.
I know the pain of losing a parent, and the crushing blow of losing a brother. I do not, thank God, know what it is like to lose a child. We all want our children to outlive us. I can’t even imagine the heartache a parent feels at a time like this.
There’s no amount of optimism that can take away the sadness. Even a belief that those who have gone before us are rejoicing in Krystal’s rebirth, she’s not here with us. We sure would have liked to have kept her a whole lot longer.
Some days are just sad, and the rain keeps falling. There are no words.
copyright © 2014 by L.S. Fisher