Today I’m going to tell you about Kathy. I’m too tired, too sad, too sleepy to do anything other than what is honest and from my gut. Today I’m going to be weak and vulnerable and tell you about the person who taught me a lot about the importance of being weak and vulnerable.
I won’t pretend that my grief at losing Kathy comes anywhere near the grief my friend, her only daughter, feels, or the other family members she left behind. That is their honor and privilege for being her most precious ones. But there is undoubtedly a hole in my heart and man, I feel it today.
Today is the 2-year anniversary of the day she left. I was thinking about her earlier this week (as I often do), because I was trying to explain to a dear friend the impact Kathy had on me and how she, in her personhood, taught me a lot about how to love others and reflect the Personhood of Jesus. Kathy was full of grace for others and for herself. This is a lesson I need to learn.
In the 11 years I knew Kathy, I watched her embrace, love, and nourish other people where they were. She wasn’t blind to the faults and brokenness of others; actually, she had a keen eye for seeing and understanding people, maybe the keenest eye for it I’ve yet met. She saw people and she loved them. She saw people and she loved them. Not just passively, not merely an affection of the heart, but with actions, with word and deed and encouragement and firm little nudges.
She saw me, an idealistic perfectionist who had big dreams but too much fear of failing. Someone who was a volatile mix of melancholy and choleric. When I showed her my angsty poetry and fiction, she didn’t shake her head at my adolescent drama. She saw my dreams and loved them. She told me they were good and beautiful and important dreams. She didn’t have to love my dreams, and she didn’t have to love me. I wasn’t her kid, and I had my own mom who loved (loves) me fiercely and unconditionally and believes I am awesome and special. But Kathy loved me anyway, and she loved my mom.
I think that Kathy was able to love people so well because she understood her own brokenness and the grace of Jesus that covers it. She could see Grace over others’ imperfections because she first saw Grace over her own imperfections. Oddly enough, this is still the number one thing I struggle with. How kind and gracious is it that God gives us people who show us the parts of Himself we most need to see. And it is the keen importance of those people that makes the absence so keen when they’re gone.
Today is the 2-year anniversary of the worst day of my life so far. The day I learned well and true that death is real and wrong and not something only grandparents do. The day I learned that if we don’t have hope in Jesus we don’t have hope at all.
So cling tightly, dear ones, cling to Jesus.
Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:
“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
“O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”
1 Corinthians 15:51-55