Friday, April 18, 2014


I am going to try to get through this post with crying my little eyes out.  Luckily, I am subbing today. So sitting on display in front of twenty-three 7th graders will help keep me from bawling.

On Tuesday afternoon I ran over to my parent's house.  Mom was going to watch my kids while I had a photo shoot (and Chris was out of town).  I got there a little early so I could help get dinner ready and mom and I took a few minutes and were doing a puzzle with my youngest.  My mom's phone rang.  It was one of her longest and best friends.  I could hear part of the conversation and it was one of those conversations that caused me to pause and think deeply.

The conversation was basically one friend calling another to tell her she was thinking about her, that she remembered and to share life with her. (uh-oh....eyes watering.  Hopefully no one is noticing the crazy substitute starting to cry in front of her laptop).

You see....30 years ago something significant happened in our family.

My oldest sister died.

Gosh that is a tough sentence to write and re-read.

My big sister was born with a degenerative muscle disease which took her life at age 13.  I can't remember the name of the disease (as it is ridiculously long), but I do remember that there were only 2 reported cases of this rare disease at the time my sister had it.  Strangely enough (or as I like to look at it a "God thing"), the doctor who specialized in this rare disease was based here in Colorado.

I am extremely grateful that even though I was only 6 years old when she died, I have a lot of memories of her (another God thing).  I remember that day very vividly.  They knew she was going to die very soon and Julie and I were given the choice if we wanted to go to school or not.  She went.  I stayed home.  One of my friends was with me.  Apparently her mom let her stay home too.  I remember playing in the "computer" room that over looked the front yard and seeing a big black car in the driveway.

The next few days were a blur with family coming and going and Good Friday and Easter.  You see, she died on the Wednesday before Easter.  I remember sitting the balcony of our church on Easter Sunday with my dad crying as he was holding the hymnal.  I remember asking him why he was crying.  Apparently as a six year old I didn't quite comprehend what was going on.  I don't really remember his answer, but looking back on it now I can imagine how hard that question must have been for him to answer.

To this day Julie hates the smell of Easter Lilies, it reminds her of what happened that Easter.  Which is funny because I happen to love the smell.  It brings back memories of family and love.  At our old church, every Easter they would have a lily garden and people could donate in memory of a loved one.  Every year, Carol was on that list and every year after church on Easter Sunday, we got to bring home a lily.  I loved that.  I miss that.  Maybe I need to go out and get a lily this year. 

Back to the phone call on Tuesday.  My mom made it a pretty quick conversation (because we were there) and when she hung up we had a great conversation.  It went something like this.

(Update: new class of twenty 7th graders thinking their sub is a cry baby)

Me:  That was nice.
Mom: Yep.  She is one of the only ones who remembers and calls me around this time of year.
Me: I am not sure I even know.  What was the actual date that she died?
Mom: April 18th.  It was the Wednesday before Easter.
Me: (quiet for a minute)  That must have been hard.
Mom: Actually it made it easier.
Me: What do you mean?
Mom:  I figured that now I had something in common with God.  And that's what got me through.
Me: (stunned silence)  How so?
Mom:  It helped me to remember that we both had a child die.
Me: (silence.....trying not to sob like a baby).


This year the 30th anniversary of my sister's death happens to land right on Good Friday.  And I am thankful for a phone call from a friend that sparked a great conversation and a phenomenal life lesson from an amazingly strong woman.

My mom could have wallowed.  Why me?  But instead she had PERSPECTIVE.  As we celebrate the death of Jesus on this Good Friday, remember to have a little perspective.  You might be going through some terrible, awful stuff today but so did God.

And remember the best part........SUNDAY IS COMING!

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