it’s so surreal. today, i mean. It started out as any other day. I was fighting a migraine, Brandon was getting ready for work, i was debating whether to make him lunch or just leave it. And then Carolyn calls.
“Brandon, have you heard from your mom lately?”
“Well, she’s not at work, and she’s not picking up her phone.”
As soon as this conversation was relayed to me, my first thought was to drive the 45 minutes to her house and break in. Forget that I had a migraine. I was now worried. My mother in law NEVER skips work without warning. The entire ride over there, Brandon is freaking out, and I’m trying not to. I’m praying for strength for whatever we might find. We call several times. We bang on every window, yelling that we’re there and she needs to answer. As time goes on, I start feeling dread. When we realize her phone isn’t on silent, I think both of us kind of worried. We call 911. She’s locked tight in her little house. We can’t break in. The police comes, takes down our names and information. The fire department comes and breaks in the door. During this whole time I think Debbie is gonna wake up and say, “What in the world? I’m ok. You didn’t have to do all this!” but she didn’t. Fifteen minutes turned into an eternity as we waited for the door to open. But really, nothing could prepare us for what happened next.
Through the door, I could see her arm hanging off the bed. It was pale. Dread started to overwhelm me. I must stay strong, i tell myself. One of the fire department guys came out. “There’s nothing we can do. There’s no easy way to say this, but….” Brandon lost it. My head was spinning. We just took her out to eat two weeks ago! She was FINE! After the fire department left, the police woman helped us understand what was going to happen next. I know Brandon well enough that he needed something to do. I suggest he start calling his family and notify his boss. I call mom. “Did you call the authorities?” she asked. Yes. Yes we had. Uncle Robert appeared, and relief overcame me. If anyone could keep a cool head, we knew it’d be him. We wait for the Medical Examiner, going through the motions, not sure what to do next. Uncle Robert asks the questions we don’t think to ask. After visiting with a handful of family members who show up, we travel to a local funeral home, unsure of how to proceed. Hours later, we finally finish there, drive home, and then eat lunch. The day just seemed longer and longer.
We are, however, extremely grateful to our friends and family. I forget that people out there have experienced similar situations and are able to lend a dry shoulder when we suddenly burst into tears. My family, though not as intimately acquainted with Debbie, has made plans to come up early as a support net for us as we continue to grieve. My boss called saying “we know you want to help us, but you need to be with family. Maybe Wednesday will work out and you can come in then. Don’t worry about us.” Throughout all this, we see nothing but blessings.
Grief isn’t easy. Debbie has been a rock for Brandon his whole life. She has helped me to gain insight to how her side of the family works. We no longer have that. But we have each other and a Rock that never fails. I remember when my aunt in Canada died. We watched a video one of her students made. He asked about how she dealt with her imminent death and she responded with “I lean on the only person who had died and yet still lives. He has been there, and he’ll help me through.” It’s easy to say, “it’ll be ok.” it’s easy to say, “God’s there with you.” But saying it, and realizing it… totally different. We’ll get there. Someday.
I’ve realized today, grief is like an ocean. Some days a storm will blow constant reminders of what happened and those days are when we need the Rock more than ever. But some days, the waves gently lap onto our lives. We can make it. We will make it.
Debbie, we love and miss you, but we are thankful you also loved Christ. One day, we’ll meet again. And on that day joy shall fill our hearts as we worship Christ together.
Surrounded in His Arms,