Someone who knows me has died. She knew me and cared for me. We had connected in the way that you don't connect with absolutely everyone.
Partially, that connection because I had been there during a dark moment in her life. I had been able to help bear her through it. I preached about this, told this story, last March. You can read that here.
"Being born through the dark nights of our lives is NOT something we can do on our own. We must bear each other."
One of those people I could rely upon to bear me, because she knew me and cared for me, has died. And I am sad. Very sad. I have cried and would really like to let loose and wail. I will find the opportunity to do that.
Last autumn her daughter Mary Ann told me they had put Mary Jane in hospice, and I told Michael I wanted to make one last visit. I tried to fit it into my fall schedule, but it seemed so full. Then I thought maybe I'd make it over there during Christmas vacation, but the timing didn't work. Everyone once and a while I thought of it again and the need to make some trip to NW Arkansas, to see others as well. I regret I didn't actually make it happen. I could have made it happen. Oh well, I must simply let that go.
Is it funny that a twenty-something young man should find such a deep friendship and connection with an eighty-something widow? One of those relationships that doesn't need regular communication to sustain it, but simply is rich and deep and full of joy whenever you see one another.
It shouldn't be funny. It is part of our humanity, part of our Christian faith.
She was so wonderful to Michael too when I introduced them at lunch a few years ago. Such a delight to spend that time with her that day at AQ Chicken on our way through Fayetteville. How long ago was that? I wish she could have made the wedding, but she wasn't travelling distances by that time.
In a children's sermon I once asked her why she still went to church after all these years. She looked at me aghast. There wasn't even a question. This is simply what one did. It was important. I loved the response.
She was stubborn and loyal and faithful and sharp and witty and opinionated and hopeful and a lover of music and my friend. And I grieve her death.