“It will hit you like a wave,” they said. “You will be fine when suddenly the wave of grief slams you to the ground and you come up spitting sand.” Today was that day. Yesterday I was fine. This morning, lip quivering, tears welling, folded bits of gratitude tumbled on the kitchen table.
During this pandemic my husband and I write daily blessings on strips of paper and drop them into the small pitcher on our kitchen table. I told him weeks ago, that one day we would have a rough time with all of this Covid-19, stay in place, keep your distance mandate and we could sit down and read all of our blessings. Today was that day. Today I needed a reminder of the goodness of God.
Last week, a friend I have known for over forty years died from Covid-19. She and her family took us in when we moved to Texas with our four-month-old baby. She was pregnant with her second son. Last week that son called and gave me the news. His mom lost her battle with Covid-19. Caught in the death trap of an assisted living home outbreak, she never had a chance.
My son, the four-month-old baby my friend welcomed into her home when we moved to Texas, turned forty-years-old yesterday. Memories crash in of birthday cupcakes cut in half for her six-month-old baby on my son’s first birthday. Waves slam—blessings tumble.
My friend and I lived together for a few years after she moved back to California. She needed a caretaker after her Parkinson’s diagnosis. I went through a divorce and started a homeless ministry. I needed another job and a place to live. She took me in again. I helped her with her daily needs and shared stories of God’s presence in the ministry. Her eyes wide with wonder as I told her we had too many guests to feed on Christmas, so the volunteers prayed for more food. God provided through a family who walked in the door with a full turkey dinner as soon as we finished praying. I told her about the time I prayed for a pair of tennis shoes and a visiting missionary walked into my office and said, “God wanted me to give you these shoes. They are not for your homeless guests, they are for you.” My friend gasped when I told her I never met this missionary and the new shoes were my size. Daily, I shared stories of God’s grace, mercy and amazing love with my friend. She always shook her head in wonder at the goodness of God.
Several years later, on my regular Friday visits to her assisted living home, my friend was more open to this God I talked about. She read the devotional book I gave her and welcomed my prayers. The Friday before the stay in place order, I drove to the assisted living home. They were not allowing visitors that day. I asked if it was a respiratory issue. The woman at the front desk bubbled, “No, I’m sure you can visit her next week.” That visit never happened.
I prayed for my friend and her family as she battled Covid-19. I didn’t need to pray in desperation because I felt a sense of peace as my Lord said, “Let go Cindy, I’ve got her. I’m here with her.” A few days later my friend passed on from her life here on earth. I believe she reached out to the God she wondered about and God reached out to her.
God is still here when the waves crash and blessings tumble. The morning after my friend died, this iris bloomed in our yard. My husband and I named it, “Ann’s Iris.” As I marveled at the beauty and miraculous timing of this bloom, I heard God whisper, “Don’t worry Cindy, I’ve got her. I’m still here and she’s here—with Me.”
Always make them wonder. You never know the difference it will make.
In Memory of Ann 1952-2020