I walked into the room ill-prepared for the sadness that would strike me. Brave face, Jessie. Brave face.
This was the second time in just a little over a month that I had worn this little black dress. And even though I had washed it, the memories still were imbedded in the threads. It held a new meaning. It would never just be a little black dress anymore. It would be my funeral dress.
I walked in to funeral home, holding my breath, then scanned the room for Jordan. She stood next to her mom and dad with a kleenex in her hand. Her smile was weak, and tears leaked down the side of her cheek.
I met her eyes with a smile, then quickly wrapped her in a hug.
I don’t think I could adequately describe how important she is to me. She loves being the person that makes your day a little better. She makes people smile, and when you are around her you can forget your worries. She lives to listen to rants, and to reassure your feelings. I guess you could say making people happy is her full time job that she puts in over time on. So what happens when the person that lights up the world gets hit by a storm? What happens when the helper becomes helpless?
I hoped my embrace would be the glue to hold her together for just a little while longer. I hoped it would help, but I knew it wouldn’t be enough to keep her from unfolding. I let go of her and didn’t say anything.
Moments passed and before the funeral started, Halle and I followed Jordan into the family room off to the side where a slide show of her Mimi was playing on the TV. We placed ourselves on the couch and leaned into Jordan as she cried over the beautiful memories floating across the screen. She told us how Mimi was built on stubbornness, but also on devotion. And how she was incredibly encouraging and supportive, and how she could always talk to her about anything. But most of all, Jordan told us the stories about how Mimi loved her more. How she loved her fiercely and relentlessly. And how that bond was strong, and powerful.
With tears still streaming down her cheeks, it was time for the ceremony. We walked in, leading her to sit at the front row among her family. The pews were packed with people, and you could feel the void heavy in their hearts. The preacher stood and gave an account of Mimi’s life and preached about eternity and the hope that we find in Jesus Christ. Jordan rested her head on her mom’s shoulder and laced their hands together.
We walked out to the grave sight and placed flowers on the coffin as words were spoken over the setting. And I just knew this wouldn’t be the worst of it.
Soon enough it would be a month from now at 2am and Jordan would be left wanting to call her Mimi about the test she just failed that day. And thoughts would race through her mind at the speed of light, and Mimi’s laughter would fill her ears, and her smile would flash before her eyes. And nothing could calm her down like Mimi telling her that she loved her a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck. I knew there would be moments where she would feel like she was drowning without Mimi. And it was just so sad, that God had constructed someone so perfect for my best friend and they couldn’t be together anymore. So I said a quick prayer over my friend, over this next journey life was taking her down. For strength, and courage, and also for peace. Then, I whispered to myself “You are still good, God. You are still good”.
Here we are a year later from that day, and I can still see that Jordan has lost a piece of herself that she never got back, but she isn’t broken anymore. And if you were to ask me how that works, what the magical formula is for how she has managed to live a year without Mimi’s laughter, her hugs, her talks, I wouldn’t be able to tell you. Because she just did it. And I don’t think it got easier, I just think she got used to it.
I know she has never stopped missing her.
Maybe you’re reading this and you have walked down a similar road. You’ve lost someone you can’t get back, and you don’t feel brave, you don’t feel strong, and you literally feel as if everyday you are gasping for air in your lungs as you tread the water surrounding you. I pray you find hope in tomorrow. Because I can’t promise it will get better soon, and I know it will probably be hard for a long while, but I can tell you, it will eventually. I’ve seen it. So for now, just take your time. Take all the time you need.
And for those of you that haven’t lost someone close yet, and have only experienced the lost through the sadness of a friend, please don’t ever forget to tell people you love them. Tell them every single day. 24/7. 365 days a year. Because the world is more unexpected then we sometimes realize.