The rearview.

Last year I shared that one of my friends was sick. Before I left for Nashville, she was finally relieved of the cancer. My friend Donna, who has been so important to me, is gone.

I’ve been praying for her to have a baby for 8 years. I have physically (and awkardly tbh) put my hands on her stomach and prayed for her insides. All I can wonder is if the cancer was already growing in her brain at that time, and why would the Holy Spirit lead me to put my hands on her stomach and pray for her if this is what was going to happen.

All of those tears. and prayers. and this is where we’re at. Well, where I’m at.

Donna was my waiting person. While she desired and longed for a baby, I desired and longed for a husband. Thinking about my wedding feels really empty these days. Not my marriage. I’m looking forward to my life with Justen, but when I think about the actual day of my wedding I just feel overwhelmed with sorrow and heartache. Eight years ago, Donna and I met in this Waiting Room of our lives and she’s gone but I’m still sitting here dreading the day I walk towards Justen and turn back and see an empty chair. All in my heart, obviously, but still. There is a huge hole in my heart. and I am not the only one. Donna was so loved, because she was such a wonderful, loving person. Loving Donna and being loved by her has changed my life.

So I dread the day I walk ahead without her.

I committed to praying for Donna so often that I even wrote her name on my rearview mirror. You can imagine how hard the drive was the day I got the news of her tumor, always seeing her name each time I glanced back.

As I’ve been processing and beginning the grieving process (what an awful rollercoaster) I keep thinking about that picture and I had this realization.

Moving forward and stepping forward isn’t just about keeping your eyes glued straight ahead.

We are actually taught that we need to keep our current position in context. Sneak a peek at your side mirrors, watch where you’re going, and check your rearview mirror to see what’s behind you. The stuff behind you is literally a part of moving forward. Donna can’t physically go forward with me anymore. No more out of the blue Facebook messages at the very moment I need them the most. No more walks around camp talking about how much waiting can suck sometimes. No more tears shared between us. No more messages seeing how she’s doing as our camp friends announce the pregnancies she’ll whole-heartedly celebrate. Those things aren’t going to happen again.

But they’re never going to have not happened. They’re never going to be erased from my life, their impact never going to be undone because they’ve ceased happening. I get to glance at them and keep steering forward.

What an absolute treasure it has been to know Donna Parkinson. May all of you know someone so wonderful and cherish them (AND TELL THEM) every single day.

5 Comments

  1. July 23, 2017 / 11:25 am

    I am so, so, so sorry for your loss…I know that’s a useless thing to say, but I really am…

    Your thoughts are so deep and I agree with all of it. The whole “forget the past!” thing isn’t a healthy way to live or follow Christ. (Hence Moses recapping everything they’d all been through before he died…)

  2. Cherie C
    July 25, 2017 / 12:00 am

    I’m so very sorry for your loss. Please be gently with yourself as much as you can. I know you will find ways to continue to honor her. Be well. <3

  3. July 26, 2017 / 1:25 pm

    i’m so sorry to hear about your loss of someone who meant so, so much to you.

    “The stuff behind you is literally a part of moving forward.” – you are so deep. keeping this quote to remind myself of this sentiment in the future!

    and you are so right. Donna may no longer be here physically, but she will always be in your memories. and memories can hurt especially when the pain and grief are so palpable. but… one day when time has passed enough to ease some of the pain, you will be so so glad you have so many memories! 🙂

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