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The days after learning that Jennifer had died and my grandmother passed away were a whirlwind of a painful numbness. I felt everything and I felt nothing.

My grandmother’s funeral was December 31. I gave her eulogy. It had to be me. It could only be me. No one loved her, knew her like I did. No one loved me, knew me like she did…processing the loss of her was overwhelming.

I told her story to all the people who came to mourn. And there were so many that came. Family. Some who knew her, but not as well as they could have. Or should have. Some who didn’t know her at all but could have. And should have.

And friends. Wonderful friends. Some had met her just a few times. Most had never met her at all. But all of them loved her because I loved her. And I love them for that. Seeing them as I wept through sharing my grandmother’s life that day kept me upright, kept me focused, kept me going. On that day…but like manna from heaven, that focus, that uprightness wouldn’t last longer than the day…what was coming was more than I would be able to ask them to carry…

One person didn’t come at all. My sister. We haven’t spoken in years. She hadn’t seen or spoken to our grandmother in more years than that. But surely, I thought, surely she would come when she knew our precious grandmother was ill. Okay, so she didn’t come when she was sick, but certainly she would come when grandma died…of course she would come to the funeral…right?

But she didn’t. She didn’t call and she didn’t come. She made her position clear in what she wasn’t saying, in what she wasn’t doing. My only sibling. Gone. By choice.

My grief increased. My pain intensified. I prayed the numbness would take over. I screamed out on the inside, praying not to fall apart on the outside…things were not good.

The days moved into weeks…the pain was constant and was getting worse. I was not doing well. But there was lots to do…

A beautiful wedding to coordinate…busy, busy, busy…clients to take care of…busy, busy, busy…a Bible study to teach…busy, busy, busy…a business trip to New York…busy, busy, busy…

Even through all the busy, busy, busy, I was free-falling. I was in trouble. I felt like I was losing my mind.

It was too much. Too much grief. My grandmother and Jennifer. Gone. Too much sadness. My sister. Gone. Too much pain. All at one time. I couldn’t breathe.

I needed help. Sitting in the airport waiting for flight out of New York, I called. To get help. I left a message. And I prayed.

“Lord, please help me…”

“I will,” He said. “Remember, I am doing something…”

I boarded my flight. I came home. And for the first time in more than five months, I had nothing to do. Nothing big on my calendar. No family health crisis to deal with. No social commitments. Nothing.

I exhaled.

And then I got sick. Stay-in-bed sick. Go-to-the-doctor sick. Take-lots-of-medicine sick.

It would mark the end of a very long season. And the beginning of another.

Because change was coming. Help was on its way.

He was doing something.

I learned so much from Jennifer Goodman.

Jennifer was one of my very first Christian friends. We met at work. I was young in the Lord. She had walked God since she was young. I was trying to figure out how life in the Lord worked. She had gone to Bible college and served as a missionary overseas. I was newly single and new to myself in a lot of ways. I didn’t have hobbies or interests. I didn’t know what I liked or didn’t like. But Jennifer was active and busy and was always engaged in living life.

I liked her. I wanted to know what she knew. I wanted a life that was like hers, filled with activity and fun and busyness. She came to work one day with a quilt she had made. It was beautiful.

“How did you make that?” I asked her. “I took a class,” she said.

“Wow, I’d like to learn to do that,” I answered. “I’m taking another class, why don’t you take it with me?” she asked.

From that point on, Jennifer let me tag along to all kinds of things with her. And I learned.

I learned about going to the gym before work and the importance of sleeping in your gym clothes to save time in the morning.

I learned how to make the best rolled sugar cookies. But I could never learn to decorate them as beautifully as she did.

I learned how important it was to have a disciplined church life, to be committed to a church body. I learned that it was critical not to compromise your Christian principles.

I learned that it was 3 1/2 miles around the Rose Bowl and that if you were walking briskly, you could get around in 47 minutes.

I learned that you should never let your season of life, what you did or didn’t have, your hopes, your dreams, your desires keep you from exploring the world the Lord had created.

And I learned that even if you don’t see the friends you love but every once in awhile when you run into them in a Hallmark store, it doesn’t change your affection for them or the connection you share.

That was my relationship with Jennifer over the last several years. More often than not we would run into each other at the card store where we both loved to browse for fun and interesting cards to send to friends.

Jennifer was a faithful card sender.

On December 22, I came home from visiting my grandmother. I was drained. Emotionally. Spiritually. Physically. In every possible way, I was exhausted. Before pulling into the driveway, I stopped to get the mail. The mail would have been delivered hours earlier.

And there it was. Jennifer’s Christmas card, I thought! Her handwriting was unmistakable. Seeing it gave me a lift. We hadn’t talked for awhile and I was glad to hear from my precious friend. To hear that she was well.

Only it wasn’t a Christmas card. And it wasn’t exactly from Jennifer. And all was not well. I opened the envelope and pulled out what was inside. It was an Easter card, covered with fluffy yellow chicks. “Hmmm,” I thought. “That’s interesting.”

Out fell a slip of paper. It was a note from Jennifer’s mom, saying she had found the card in Jennifer’s things and decided to send it.

Jennifer had died. She must have addressed the card in the spring, intended to send it but never did. But now here it was in my hand. But she was gone. I was devastated. I broke down. I cried. Hard. For a long time.

Not because she was gone. I know where she is. She’s with Him, with her Lord, with her Jesus. And as much she loved her life here, lived it to the fullest, she’s living a life now that is beyond description. She’s more than happy. She has joy unspeakable.

But my heart hurt for the lost opportunity to tell my friend how much I appreciated her, appreciated what she did for me all those years ago. Appreciated everything I learned from her. To tell her how much I loved her and how much I loved her spirit. To tell her what an influence she had been on me. How I used her life as an example to others for so many things. I never got to tell her any of those things. The pain of that lost opportunity overwhelms me even now. I can feel the tears rising.

I grieve the loss of my friend. I grieve for her mother who lost her beautiful daughter. For her niece who as a little girl called her Auntie Fer-Fer because she couldn’t say Jennifer. I grieve for her sisters and the rest of her family and her friends that feel her loss so deeply. I grieve…

Three days later, my grandmother died. My grief increased. And my heart cried out louder to the Lord. It screamed out. My pain was blinding.

In the days and weeks that followed, He spoke gently to me…

“Remember, I’m doing something.”

About Me

I'm Aurora and I'm under transformation! Ever since Jesus Christ took hold of my heart, He's been working on changing me into His image. I'm passionate about growing in my faith and living fully in the freedom Christ paid for me to have. I love hearing about what the Lord is doing in the lives of His people and encouraging them to follow hard after Jesus.

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