Stillness, silence, a dark night that was suffocating. I was completely lost, but knew where I was. I drove home, alone, from saying goodbye to her for the last time. The road was lonely, I was empty. I don't know how I drove. My snapshot of that time in the early morning hours is like a tunnel, only able to remember what was right in front of me, the 5-lane road sending me home and nothing on the periphery. I made one phone call. A friend's voice on the other end. The same voice at the other end that was there for the first call I made when cancer invaded my life some 3 years prior. Just as she did three years ago, she wept with me. I had to fight down the sobs to even get breath to speak the news. I whimpered the words. The whimper ended with a new noise for me - a small moan that involuntarily slipped out whenever I exhaled in attempt to gather my composure. A moan that made its appearance with regularity over the next month. I knew I had to get off the phone or I would no longer be able to drive. I began to drive with force. I wanted my family. I wanted my husband. I wanted my home. I wanted the familiar because nothing about me was that any more.
I arrived with a heaviness that continued to sink me to deepest depths of sorrow and grief. I walked in the door. J met me and held me while I let out the deepest of cries and nearly collapsed on the floor of our kitchen.
We had a guest in our house that night. A college friend had spent the night with the expectation of going with me to visit her in the hospital. She had traveled from NY to be here. My walk up the stairs to guest room where she was getting ready was long. She had no idea I had left in the night and she didn't know that her initial purpose in coming was gone. I knocked on the door. She opened it, apologetic because she was not ready and it was our decided time to leave. She took one look at me and said, "What's wrong." I knew she had already figured it out by my pained expression and already swollen eyes. We held each other and cried. It was surreal that she was gone, but more surreal to tell someone who was not a part of my every day norm. No where in all of my imaginings, planning or preparations for this inevitable day was my friend a part of this initial stage. It was God's timing.
She stayed with me while J went to work to wrap up a couple of loose ends for what would be nearly a week off from work. I was exhausted, I was overcome but most interestingly, I was sick. So very sick that all I could do was throw up. I would make it to the toilet to wretch my digestive track up to my throat and back down again. Then, I would collapse on the bathroom floor mat out of weakness. I would wait until I gained enough strength to crawl back to my bed. I believe that out of all of God's blessings during this time, this was His greatest.
I know that has to be a very incredulous and unfathomable statement. I had just lost my only sibling, my best friend. Most people would say that God added insult to injury with this attack on my body. But here is a different perspective on the God I love. I had not experienced this level of vomiting since I was a child. My body screamed with aches that could only be equated with being bludgeoned. My eyes were so miserably sore that it felt like someone had kneaded them like dough. I was in a complete fog. I could not think. I could not process. I could not focus. Therefore, I could not begin to comprehend reality. God spared me the entire fullness of the loss. He gave it to me in small doses, in the smallest increments. He allowed me not to feel the enormity for hours, but only for minutes - the minutes when I stumbled back into reality between phases of my coma-like sleep. For innumerable phases during the past three years, I had exhausted much of my mental capacity on figuring out how I was going to exist those first 2-3 days after her death - to no avail.
He had. He knew. He spared me. He loved me to the point of my greatest need.
Trust the Lord with all your heart. Lean NOT on your own understanding, but in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.