Wednesday, June 11, 2008

What a week...

I tried writing Wednesday morning because I needed an outlet. I wound up saving the draft and not posting and I'm glad I did.

I was angry.

Oh yeah was I angry. A friend had died in, what I felt, was the most unfair and cruel circumstance. I'd railed and cried and wished it could have been me instead. I've had a good life so far and hers had hardly started. I was more angry over this than I was at any of the low points I've found myself trying to get through colon cancer. It simply wasn't fair or right and if I believe God made me in His image then my sense of fairness and rightness must have come from Him, right?

THIS DID NOT ADD UP. And it was making me furious.

That draft post was full of it. I admit it now because, honestly, it's the right thing to do. I am no saint and the truth, the whole truth, ought to be out there for you guys to see. Yes, I believe, but that does not make me more than human.

I was dreading the memorial service Wednesday afternoon. When I went in last Friday to return the chemo pump, I half begged Dr. Lee to prescribe me something for anxiety; she gave me ativan. It had worked so well at calming me down with the last two of those towering chemo drips that something at home would really be nice, especially with such heartbreaking news to have received the day before. But it felt like cheating; to have a little pill that would just chill me out instead of suffer all the hurt I was feeling for Brie. I haven't taken one again since the first one.

I downloaded a carefully metered amount of this on Jody. She lovingly reminded me that yeah, we have faith in God's plan but that He's not the only force at work. I grabbed onto that and reiterated my deepest hope that on some level Brie's doctors were able to learn something that would help save another person. Until then, it was the only good thing I could even remotely find about this whole mess.

We were going early to allow Jody time to help with the flower arrangements she'd volunteered to captain. That left me with time to call my Dad and talk a little. Brie's brother Alex found me too and he was doing alright. I told him he was welcome to visit when he felt up for it and that I'd bought the Lego Indiana Jones game that we could play two-player.

Even from a distance, Holly had made it very clear she wanted the service to be a celebration of Brie's life. Given my emotional state at the time I was struggling with this. The service was overwhelming and there were some moments that really touched me.

Where I had been so amazed at the miracle of Brie being put into the hands of specialists both in Ireland and here at home, it was one of the nurses at Hopkins Childrens Center who may have been the real miracle. You see, not only was she a nurse at the hospital but she was also a member of their church and had been Brie's Bible study leader just a few months before. A friend and a caregiver and a mentor, right there for her. It was this young lady whom reminded all us that Brie had framed out peace and love as the most important things to her.

Alex had written a little about his sister but it was the story his pastor shared about a walk they'd been on a few days earlier that struck me. The pastor admitted he stumbled into the question that, at times like these, really doesn't have an answer. He said he'd asked Alex, "Are you okay?" He said Alex paused at this and answered honestly that no, he wasn't. Not yet anyway, but Brie was and that would help him be okay soon.

Why I couldn't see this for myself became clear just a bit later.

As the service concluded, the pastor told us another story of how Brie had picked a verse from her Bible with her Dad and had pinned it to the wall in her hospital room. It was 2 Corinthians 5:7 which reads, "For we walk by faith and not by sight."

Like a curtain being pulled back I realized that's been my problem most lately. It's also the reason I needed to write this and be honest with you who may be reading. I've not been walking by my faith lately. I've been right back to handling all of this stuff on my own and praying only when it hurt instead of when I was fine... which I'd complacently chalked up to my own good work. Being human can bite you in the butt sometimes. No pun intended.

The pastor concluded by affirming just as Holly had made plain that Brie would not want to be mourned in sorrow. Paraphrasing, she would have told us that she wanted to be missed a little but that we should also make peace and love important in our lives.

Both Brie and Alex have been such wonderful examples to me. Though I am still sad, I am not angry any more. I know again I need to really walk by my faith. And I know that Brie is okay now and that will help me be okay too.


Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. This post is wonderfully written.

tinkknitz said...

Thank you, John.
You have the gift of eloquence.