I've been trying for days to write a post. Not having the words to do it, which, if you know me, or read my blog, realize just exactly how unusual a condition this is for me. But sometimes silence is all there is.
Two days ago, one of my long-time friends, a woman I've known since we were both young and foolish and calling each other silly nicknames, and staying out all night with boys we liked, and as odd as it sounds, sometimes with boys we barely liked, a woman I enjoy so much I've often wished we lived in the same town rather than just be ships passing through the night with each other, a woman whose family I've come to know second only to my own, this woman had a tragedy in her life I cannot begin to imagine. This generally unflappable, steady, good-natured (though angry when she's too hot) woman has faced the loss of a sister, a father, she's lived half-way around the world, on military bases from here to there and back again (with a nod to Tolkein, if you're paying attention), and little fazes her. And there have been things. Let me tell you, there have been things. Reasons to be fazed. Lesser people would have been. Lesser people might have curled up and died at times, but she just kept finding the fun, just kept enjoying life, just kept being her own inimitable self. And anyone who knows her loves her for it. In her whole large extended family, she's loved for it. I know plenty of them, and I can tell you, she's just about the pick of the litter. She really is.
This friend of mine has a military-chaplain husband of 30 years, and this has affected him, too. of course, I know it has. I love him too, it's just that she's my friend, and she's a woman, and when I think about them, I first think of her. I lived with her, after all. She was the friend I practically flew to in my car, with tears blinding me, the day my engagement was broken. She let me talk all night, and he, calmly, closed the door to their room and went to sleep. That's who she was to me in those days. And today, I'm wishing I was there to be that for her.
But I'll keep you in suspense no longer. Two days ago, the oldest of their children, their only daughter, was driving a car, lost control and went off the highway into a stand of trees. In the car with her was her four-year-old daughter. The little girl died instantly. The mom, my friend's daughter, was injured. This young mom has struggled in her adult life with some issues that will make this loss even more difficult than for most, which is so difficult, one can't imagine. And, for three years of this child's life, my friend actually did the raising. It was only a year ago that she was given back to her mother.
So today my friend grieves the loss of her four-year-old granddaughter, who she's mostly raised. And she worries about her daughter, who she also raised. She is mother of the mother who lost. I do not know how hard a loss that loss will be, how difficult the journey to health will be for the living. I, who have not known such a loss, can only pray for these who bear them.
I believe in the Comforter. I believe there is One who stands beside us in loss, One who knows it as intimately as we do when we must bury those we love, even the ones in the littlest caskets. I believe in His Comfort, and I believe in His Hope. And I especially believe in His great Love for my friend, her family, her daughter, her granddaughter. It would be a bleak day--whenever a loved one died, at whatever age she died--if I did not.