“She didn’t make it.”
It took me a moment to comprehend exactly what she was saying, but in all honesty, I didn’t want to understand. Her words drove me to my knees, and as I lay there on the floor of my bedroom screaming into the phone, all I could think was…Lord, not her…not my little buddy, my friend, my cohort…one of the few people who seemed to get me best. She couldn’t be gone…it just had to be a terrible, horrible nightmare. But it wasn’t. It was true. It was final, and as the days stretched into weeks, and then months I had to accept that it was never going back to the way it was before.
I guess my biggest question at the time was why? Why would something like this happen to such a vibrant, beautiful soul? She had fought so hard. She had been to hell and back and was finally on the other side. Breast cancer DID NOT win. My goodness, for those of you who didn’t know her, she was so tough. I admired her so much for her strength, but even more so, for her outlook on life. Through it all, she never lost her smile, her sense of humor, nor her willingness to always tell me what I should or shouldn’t be doing.
Today, one year after her death, I find myself still struggling with the sense and purpose of it all, but even more so, I’m struggling with self-doubt. I’m wondering if I truly appreciated our friendship enough? I don’t think I fully realized exactly what I had, and sadly, I didn’t know all I was going to lose. For that reason more than any other, I write to you now to ask that you think about the people in your life. Think about the ones who make you smile and laugh, inspire you to love above and beyond, and the ones who bring you closer to God. Sometimes it’s the people we see every day…those we believe will always be there, that we take most for granted.
So today I choose to celebrate life and honor her death by living with a sense that each day could be my last. I choose to celebrate my life by paying more attention to those who are currently with me, and I do it knowing she’s there on the sideline cheering me on, pushing me, encouraging me, and loving me still.
“Even though I walk through the shadow of the valley of death, I will fear no evil. Surely goodness, surely mercy will be right beside me all my days, and I will dwell in Your house forever.” Psalm 23
Photos © 2017 Salina T Gibson
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