My family and I are in Baton Rouge, LA spending time with Dave's family from Florida. We "met in the middle" so that we could all spend time with Dave's uncle Louis who is battling Cancer. He is unable to travel, but he is in such good spirits. We have had such wonderful visits with him although we are aware of the pain he is in constantly. So much of what he is going through reminds me of what Debbie went through. And just like Debbie, he is doing it with a dignity I'm not sure I could ever muster. As with her, he is such a witness and testimony to everyone around him. It has been amazing to visit with him and to watch him interact with the 6 little cousins.
On that note, I must pay homage to Debbie once again. December 23 would have been her birthday. It was and has been a week of such reflection on her and the inspiration she was in our lives. I know her family and especially Chris and Ashley, her kids, must have had such a hard holiday season without her. Even Madeline and Charlie still speak of her. We have had banana bread (thanks to my Sister-in-Law), and we have discussed how Uncle Louis is sick just as she was. And sometimes Madeline -out of the blue- will remind us again:
Madeline: "Mom, do you know why I'm sad?"
Mom: "Why Baby?"
Madeline: "Because Mrs. Debbie died."
Mom: "I know, Honey. I'm sad, too. But we know that Mrs. Debbie is so happy in Heaven with Jesus. She's not sick anymore. But you know that she loved us very much, right?"
Fills and breaks my heart at the same time. I really miss her and sometimes the loss feels like it was just yesterday. I think of all the things she is missing out on- my kids growing up, and especially Caroline, whom she will not know and that Caroline will not know her. She misses out on Madeline's dance programs, Charlie's home schooling, Halloween costumes, Christmas dresses and presents, first teeth lost and first teeth coming in, crawling, pulling up, laughs, babbles, and so much more. And at the same time, I know full well that sweet Debbie isn't really missing a thing. She is standing at the feet of Jesus and praising him with an abandon that we can never experience here on earth. She is the true winner here. She is happy, healthy, painless, and nothing else matters except looking into the face of Jesus. My grief is for her presence in my life and in the lives of those she left behind. I miss what she's missing. I want her here for my selfish reasons. And yet I wouldn't ask her to leave where she is for anything.
"But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others who have no hope."
Happy Birthday and Merry Christmas, Debbie. We love you.