Friday, May 13, 2011

In Memory of

Two weeks ago, a dear friend of my husband and I's died suddenly.  Carrie had a pulmonary embolism - a blood clot in her lung.  Her heart stopped on the way to the hospital.  Her husband was the one who called off the chest compressions after an hour of trying to get it started again.  My heart breaks for him and I hate that he had to make that decision when it was his beloved wife they were trying to save.

She was way too young, with a young family and a whole life of possibility ahead of her.  It seems dumb and random and utterly cruel for this to have happened.  I have been trying to process it and assign it some sort of meaning to try to make it okay for it to have happened.  But it isn't okay.  It IS dumb and random and utterly cruel.  Why is it fair for her 2 year old daughter to grow up without her mother?  Why is it okay for her sweet, wonderful husband to lose his wife so suddenly?  I haven't been able to even send a card to her family because I have been searching for words to say and I keep coming up empty.  Empty words of comfort.  Empty words of sympathy.  Not that I don't want to comfort or that I don't feel sympathy - because I do - but the words feel empty because I have lacked any conviction of a greater meaning behind this tragedy.   
But I have been giving it a lot of thought.  And in my own way, a lot of prayer.  I don’t pretend to know God’s will or plan or anything.  I don’t even pretend to know that it is all a part of a plan of any kind.  But I do know is that nothing in this life – good or bad or in between – has any meaning but that which one assigns to it.  So I guess that means I can choose to search for the meaning to this heartbreak or I can choose to give it meaning.  I can decide someone else has the meaning and believe them, or I can decide to give Carrie’s presence in our lives and her sudden, awful exit a meaning of my choosing.  I know most people don’t think this is the truth of things.  But I find that holding to this gives me a sense of power and direction to choose my path and rise above that in this insane life which seeks to drag me down.  But it is also a bigger responsibility than just waiting for an answer to come.  I truly believe God loves us and sees us and mourns with us and for us.  But I don’t believe He is a capricious and cold-hearted God that would steal away a beloved wife and mother on a whim, or even as a part of a grand plan we can never know.  Life has a flow, and things happen in that flow that don’t feel good and don’t make sense.  Sometimes they are completely unfathomable, but that doesn’t mean we can’t decide what they will mean to us and use it to help us to become the next greatest version of the greatest vision we ever had of ourselves here on this earth.
Carrie was so giving and thoughtful and loving.  I have decided to remember her when I think that I don’t have time or am too tired to do someone a kindness.   And I will do that kindness in her honor.  She was funny and warm.  I have decided to remember her when I feel the urge to protect myself from getting to know people better.  She was a true friend.  I have decided to remember her when I feel old friendships fading from time or distance and I will take the time to reconnect - because she would have done that.  When I try to think of the best ways to honor her memory, these are the things that some to mind.  She was a shining example of what a friend should be and I hope that I can be like her in this way.  I don't know if this is the meaning I have been trying to find, but it helps me to feel less sad.

Carrie was family.  Her family is our family.  Please take a moment to say a prayer for them as they try to find the daylight again.