Life & Death.

I sent my husband away on a trip yesterday. We are rarely parted and for that I'm extremely thankful.  It snowed as we drove through Norfolk.  We had a couple hours before I sent him off and we grabbed coffee and took a few minutes in one of our beloved places.... a bookstore. We were at one of our favorite places...the Book Exchange, where we have credit from exchanging books.

I found a short stack of new mysteries to consume. Mike restrained himself with acquiring only a couple new books. But time was pressing and all too quickly I had to take him to the airport. The snow clung to my hair as I kissed my husband good-bye at the airport. There's always this part of me in those moments that worries and wonders, 'will this be the last time'? I wished him a safe trip and told him to have fun and that I loved him.

After sending him on his way I went to visit a friend. Which is always a comforting thing to do. She reminds me that I'm not alone in my "motherhood" and also is a refreshing bit of sunshine in my day and in my life in general.

And then home. Home to my munchkins. With their syrupy kisses. Pancakes were dinner and I enjoyed  the sweet smell upon arriving home, even if there were some remainders this morning in their hair.

The kids were allowed to watch a movie while we waited with great anticipation for Auntie Kristin and Uncle Ker-Ker (Christopher) to come home and tell us the news... Boy or Girl? We all were awaiting expectantly and it was exciting when they came through the door.

Kristin asked us what we thought she was having and guesses rang out. She lifted up her outer shirt and pulled out a soft pink blankie with an adorable owl on top! Another girl! Yay! I'm going to have another niece. Woo-hoo! Thankfully Kristin is restoring balance to this household.... I only have one girl and four boys and she is now having her second girl. Phew. We need girls. We are sorely outnumbered!

I was in bed that evening, after packing lunches and writing notes to teachers, and creating world peace, okay, maybe just peace in my home, when I had a particular feeling. A tickly feeling in my gut.

My friend Annie, from England, has been very sick and in and out of hospice, and I just had this feeling that she went Home. I felt she was with Jesus. And sure enough as I went to check out her blog that she and her husband wrote my feelings were confirmed. She had gone Home to Jesus. It had been posted the day before. She had passed March 19th at 10:30 p.m. Right before Spring. She went from winter to Eternal Spring forever!
taken from Annie's blog...

The snow swirled out my window in tufts of frosty cold cotton.
My friend Annie was gone from this world.
Tears slipped down my cheeks.

I knew Annie was in the presence of the Lord. She is with our Savior Jesus. She is no longer in pain. She has no more suffering. But my heart aches for those left. For those who will be deprived of her beautiful smile and sweet spirit.

I watched her baptism that was performed a few short days before she passed. It's beautiful to see. She had never had a full immersion baptism and felt pressed by the Lord to have one. It's a lovely ceremony and I'm so thankful to have experienced it through video.

Since Mike was gone Libby was in bed with me. She saw me crying and so I explained that my friend Annie had died and gone to be with Jesus. We talked about it for a while and she watched Annie's baptism with me. She wept openly and I did too. She told me, "Mommy, that's so beautiful. It's so sad and yet it's so happy." (can you believe she's only 8?!) I agreed wholeheartedly.

I felt tired and thought I was going to drift off to bed early. Instead I lay awake in bed for hours. Sad and quiet and holding to Jesus. Praying for comfort for Annie's husband, Ryan and for the family and friends she left behind.

The thing I loved about Annie is that I got to experience her faith through her words, even from such a great distance. Annie helped me love Jesus more. Annie encouraged my faith. I am blessed to have known her and loved her.

I asked her via an e-mail a couple months ago to say hello to my sister for me and to give her hugs and kisses. I know they are probably talking and laughing together. They get to worship God face to face and be in the presence of Our Saviour!!!!

How sweet.

So here it is... my new niece will be coming into the world in August. Kristin's due date is August 20th.  And there went my sweet friend Annie. Passing from this world to the place she was made for... to the place where she is truly free... to Heaven... to Jesus.

This morning when I woke up there was still snow on the ground. It felt like winter. By this afternoon the snow had melted away. The sun had come out. I could see robins in the yard as I washed dishes.

Spring has come. There is still winter. There is still death... But it has not won. It has lost it's sting. Christ has overcome. He is our eternal Spring.


Unknown said…

By chance I stumbled across this blog and in particular, this post, neither of which I had seen before.

My name is Ryan, I was the husband of your friend Anne/Annie about whom you wrote in this post. I always love to stumble across such memories that I had never read or seen before. I think it's in Proverbs 10 (I have the internet at my finger tips but I'm minded not to check and confirm; laziness or confidence? I know not which!) we're promised that the memory of the righteous will be a blessing. I have enjoyed the reality of that promise many times. And your post grants me another occasion! Thank you for taking the time to write this tribute.

I only ever met Annie's friends from her days in Virginia a few times. But the joyful memory has never faded with time. The stories that Annie would recount from her time and friends there have always felt significant to me. I remember the story about your sister, Libby. And I remember meeting your husband, Mike whose spirit enriched my own.

For no reason that I can put my finger on, I felt compelled to just send this comment.

You had said in this post that you had prayed for me. Thank you.

The Lord has answered prayers to bless and protect me. I am now remarried. I pastor a church in the very neighbourhood where Annie and I lived all our married life. And the Lord has blessed me and my wife, Sarah, with two lovely daughters: our first, Libby Faith, and then Florence Evangeline.

I never forget Annie. Never a day has passed where I have forgotten the great blessing she was to me and so many. Like you, I often think about what she is enjoying in heaven.

I trust that this finds you and your family well - if indeed this post should find you?

In His Arms,


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