sad, surreal and thankful

Right now I’m numbed.

Lynn, one of our dearest of friends passed away late this morning after a long battle with cancer. Dale and I visited her (and Gary)  just this last Wednesday.  Dale of course flew to the States two days later to be with her Dad and other family members; she lost her Mom in April last year.

I’ve known Lynn all my life – same age, same church, same primary school, same love for music. I could say much. I’ve known Gary for about 40 years.

Spent time with Lynn and Gary last night. Important time, but so hard. I was told then it would be a matter of days. Wasn’t even that; she died 11.20 this morning.   I’m thankful that I was able to take Lynn’s hand softly and thank God for such a beautiful, giving person who shone life, love and God in so, so many ways.  She has been such a special friend, as has Gary and their family.

Two things made it a challenge today:

  • It’s tough with Dale o/s at present … this is time she has so, so been looking forward to, with a road trip with her Dad, sister Diana and brother-in-law Tom coming up in a day or so … half-way across the country where they are meeting up with other family members at Branson, Missouri. (?).  Tough without Dale’s support and love at a time like this.  I know Dale feels likewise.  She’s not back until 13 July.
  • I received the sms from Gary as I rolled up just after midday for the final session of Day 3 of our big DayCamp holiday program. (having been back at home doing worship prep) I was needed – legit reasons – for the final time of singing. Within a few minutes of arriving, Gary texts me and no doubt many others with the news.  The numbing and the tears started.  Tried contacting Dale – had to leave message.  Let our lads know.  Absolutely no reflection on the songleader (she’s a great person) but you can imagine how much I felt like being around 120 kids belting out Pharaoh, Pharaoh.

I just wanted to find the nearest rabbit burrow and hide. I so didn’t want to be there. The numbing increases; too numb to shed much in the way of tears, though knowing me (more “feely” than people realize), they’re bound to come.

Joel, Jeremy and Nathan have been great during the initial aftermath.  Nathan texts me and asks, “Are you OK?”. Jeremy implores me to “Stay strong, stay safe” (even though I feel broken-down right now and perhaps need to be for a while).  Joel offers to help.   They ask what I’d like for dinner- I request a light salad.  Heaviness of food wouldn’t go well with heaviness of heart right now.

So, along with so many others, I find myself in this strange ‘space’ right now.

It’s a bleak time, yet not so bleak that while I can’t easily dismiss the questions like God, why has this happened to someone (and someone’s) so full of life and still so youngno way will it stop me from thanking God for the gift Lynn was to Dale’s and my life … and to so, so many others … and continues to be.

Yes, this time is sad, surreal and thankful all in one. Totally out of context, I find myself musing over the final words of what has long been my favourite movie: Sophie’s Choice. It ends with the lead male character’s voiceover of an Emily Dickinson poem:

Ample make this bed.
 Make this bed with awe;
 In it wait till judgment break
 Excellent and fair.

 Be its mattress straight,
 Be its pillow round;
 Let no sunrise' yellow noise
 Interrupt this ground.

There’s more to it than this, but the final words of the movie are these:

When I could finally see again, I saw the first rays of daylight 
reflected in the murky river. 
This was not judgment day. Only morning. 
Morning: excellent and fair.

Our dear friend and loved one is at peace. Amid our wrenching loss and numbing sorrow and sadness, my Christian faith wants to affirm that life continues for Lynn, in God’s fulness, beauty and richness: morning: excellent and fair.


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4 Responses to “sad, surreal and thankful”

  1. 1 Craig Mitchell June 28, 2012 at 4:50 pm

    Very sad to hear this David. Thanks for sharing the news. Peace.

  2. 3 Lisa June 28, 2012 at 7:27 pm

    Blessed Be Your name
    When I’m found in the desert place
    Though I walk through the wilderness
    Blessed Be Your name

    Blessed be Your name
    On the road marked with suffering
    Though there’s pain in the offering
    Blessed be Your name

    When the darkness closes in, Lord
    Still I will say

    Blessed be the name of the Lord
    Blessed be Your name
    Blessed be the name of the Lord
    Blessed be Your glorious name

    You give and take away
    You give and take away
    My heart will choose to say
    Lord, blessed be Your name

    So sorry, David. Knowing that it is coming doesn’t make it any easier.

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