|Libby (pictured far left) and all her pregnant caregroup friends|
This event has drastically changed and altered the course of my life. Libby was not only my sister but my best friend. I could hardly remember an important event in my life without her in it.
Her laughter. her singing. Her teasing me. Her bossing me (and she was the younger sister). Her sensitivity. Her gullibility. Her gasping at the window, seeing something that caught my eye. Her gorgeous blue eyes and brown hair that hinted at auburn when it hit the sunlight. Her smile turned up in the corner... to smirk at me. Her pale skin. She gave great hugs. And whenever I would cry she would do whatever she could to make me laugh... even if it meant her behaving ridiculously.
|Libby, me, and Christopher, our brother|
September 6, 2003, my wedding day
I didn't know it was going to be the last time I saw her. I don't think I even hugged her. We drifted off after saying our "love you's."
And it's not just her being gone... but how she affected others and how they're affected by her absence. The whole dynamic of my immediate family was shattered. Libby was our peace-maker... the mediator... the justice police. She knew how to make everyone get along.
And now there is this whole decade of things and memories I've done without her. Having five children. Experiencing a lot of hospitalizations and medical problems with my children. Premature births. Oxygen. Apnea monitors. my husband's seminary education. Feeding tubes. Cerebral Palsy. Samuel's cancer. Movies and songs we never saw or heard together. Styles that have come and gone in fashion. My children's first words and teeth. Potty-training. Kindergarten and ABC's. Worrying about what foods to feed our children and who is going to do what for so-and-so's birthday. All the missed sleep-overs between the cousins... that never got to be. The christmases and birthdays and anniversaries. The Thanksgiving dinners and the family vacations. The Easter egg hunts and the trips to the beach house.
|Libby on the phone while we were in China |
talking to her soon to be fiancee!
My sister was always afraid of very old people when she was a little girl. I remember her telling me when she was a little girl that she didn't want to get old because then she'd scare herself when she looked in the mirror. She was scared of getting wrinkled but she was horrified at the thought of dying. In fact she could never say the word cancer. She would just say "CAN".
What's strange... and miraculous is the months leading up to March 7th her fear of dying became replaced with an anticipation of Heaven. She was excited at the thought of going Home to be with Jesus. She was at peace. She wasn't afraid. She had no idea that she would see her Savior so soon but she was at complete peace with the idea. In fact that Thanksgiving she mentioned Heaven as being what she was thankful for!
|me, Mom, Lib, Dad, and Christopher|
But it was such a shock. A complete tidal wave of sorrow and grief to lose her.
I didn't know she would die so young. 21. Forever 21. Beautiful. Pregnant belly, Full of life in her womb. Blooming into motherhood.
My heart aches. I miss my sister. I grieve her loss.
And yet I also thank God for giving me such a precious gift... to have Libby for a sister. To know that she is at home with Him enjoying no sin or suffering. No sickness or pain. That she has her little boy with her. And I know that when my time comes and when I draw my final breaths on earth that she will be there on the other side... waiting for me... ready to introduce me to Jesus.
So I'm sad. I miss my sister. I wish she were here. And I'm expectant. Anticipating because I have the Hope of Heaven to look forward to. And as I celebrate her life and remember what God did in her I will eat a bowl of lucky charms and have a spoonful of ice cream for breakfast. I will do some of the things I remember her loving. I will be kind to myself as she would have been to me. And give myself permission to cry. Permission to laugh. Permission to love. And permission to keep on living.
|Libby on her wedding day|
For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. (Romans 8:24-25, ESV)
As is stated before that passage:
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. (Romans 8:18-23, ESV)