Nothing prepares you for those words. It doesn’t matter how they are said, or who says them. Once delivered, they change life forever.
There is nothing more painful or devastating than losing someone you love. Nothing could have prepared me for the loss of my beloved sister, Donna. She is gone, and now I’m left to figure out what to do with a pain that threatens to break my heart in two.
As I started to write this, it occurred to me that anything I say about her will seem inadequate. She was an amazing lady. Equal parts smart and sassy. She was beautiful, loving, caring, generous, and sometimes bossy. And I loved every bit of her.
Donna was my older sister, and by that distinction, she is a fixture in every part of my early life. Every memory I have is with her. We shared so many experiences. Some happy and some sad, but through it all we had our love for each other.
She shared the story of our upbringing and bore the scars that are inevitable when the home is broken and becomes a place of danger rather than safety. It was an experience that knit us together in a strange sort of way – like a secret society that others can never understand.
The story of physical and emotional abuse at the hands of our parents was her story too. We shared the experience, and it bonded us to a level much deeper than sisters. We were survivors! We came out of it not without scars, but we knew we’d be okay, because we’d have each other forever.
Not surprisingly, when I first began to talk about the experiences growing up, she encouraged and supported me. She was one of my biggest cheerleaders when my book Beautiful Ashes – Finding Freedom to Fly Through Faith was released. And she continued to encourage me to speak out about abuse and to share my faith journey.
That is, until this week, when she was called home to heaven.
I know some of you understand all too clearly the pain of loss. As humans, none of us is immune to it. Loss is part of the human condition.
As Christians though we have the assurance of eternity. In verses such as John 3:16, 1 John 2:25, and Titus 1:2 he promises that I will see her again. And, in Revelation 21:4 he promises to wipe away every tear, and tells me someday, there will be no more death.
These are promises I believe and hold tightly to. Although I feel broken, I am not dissuaded because I know that God’s promises are not based on what I feel. I don’t have to feel okay about this. There’s nothing wrong with being sad, or mad, or disheartened. Still, no matter what this feels like, his promises to me are true and trustworthy.
Today I feel crushed by the weight of losing someone I loved so much. The one person who knew me and my story intimately and personally. But even in this I know with my whole heart that just like Job (Job 19:25- 27) my redeemer lives! And I know that in the end he will stand on the earth and I will see him!
I know my sister believe that too. Someday I will see her again, I know.
But right now I’m so very sad that I have to be without her.