A snowy day 12 years ago forever changed my life.
It changed the way I feel when I walk into a hospital.
It changed the way I think about heartbreak.
It changed the number of people in my family.
And tomorrow….tomorrow will change things again.
Because starting tomorrow, we enter our 13th year without my sister. She was 12 when she died, so tomorrow we start embracing that we have spent more years without her than we have with her.
A new stage of grieving.
A fear of forgetfulness.
And a desire deep within to celebrate those beautiful, funny, joy-filled years that we were blessed to have with Linette.
It’s when you meet someone with no earthly reason for the joy they are filled with. When someone is living for something that which they cannot see or touch or feel. But they believe it with their entire life.”
That was Lin. Brimming with silliness and fun. Filled the the fullest measure with joy in the midst of her last 2 trial-filled years on earth.
She brought us a piece of heaven here on earth, and for that, I celebrate.
I celebrate how she embraced her bald head after chemo and radiation. She adorned herself with crazy blue-haired wigs and had her bald head covered in henna paintings. And she wasn’t in it alone. Just about every boy in her class started sporting bald heads with her when she went bald. A few brave souls even let her do the honor…
I celebrate her kindness to every person she ever met. And I don’t say that because I want to remember her in a sugary, fairy tale way. I say that because it’s completely true. I’m occasionally rude and far too sarcastic for someone to label me as “kind to everyone” when I die, but not Lin. She was the real deal. Kind. Empathetic. Sweet to her core.
I celebrate her intelligence. When it came time ask for Christmas presents as kids, my list consisted of costume jewelry, CD’s and plastic nails you super glue to your fingernails (why oh why was this a popular trend??), but Lin was over there asking for anatomy kits and globes. She as a 12 year old was smarter than I am at 26. And for that, I celebrate. It’s who she was, how she will be remembered, and it makes me smile when I think about the brainy, smarty pants she always was.
I celebrate her laugh and her smile. I celebrate how she clung to Jesus, both as a child, as a cancer patient, and as someone who lived well during one of the most horrific trials a person can go through.
I truly believe she wasn’t afraid to die. She knew what awaited her–a life in heaven with her Friend and Comforter. But she did wanted everyone she met to know her Savior, to know His life changing Love, and live a life of joy to the fullest measures a heart can hold.
And for that, I celebrate.