“I don’t want her to go.” She looks at me, tears in her eyes, and I can only imagine what it must feel like to see her daughter laying in the hospital bed before her.
My heart is breaking as my hand reaches for her shoulder. “I don’t either.” I don’t even know if my words feel as broken as I do, but I look at my sweet friend lying on the bed, her body struggling with every breath, and I feel the weight of my words. I don’t either.
I haven’t had enough time with you. I haven’t had enough walks along the river, and I haven’t talked to you about all my questions I wrestle with. I haven’t heard enough of your stories of the crazy people you have to chase down the hallways at work. I haven’t held enough warm drinks with you across the Starbucks table from me.
Mostly I am afraid I haven’t memorized your smile enough. Mostly I am afraid I will forget what it’s like to hear your laugh or see you greet me as I walk in the doors.
But what I won’t forget is the way you love, sweet friend. With arms open wide, just like Jesus, welcome and open and no shred of judgment. You just get it, the messy, dark places and the rays of joy. You’ve understood what it means to reach for joy and it to be out of reach. You got my darkness, friend, which is so much more than most people. And you let me know, over, and over, and over again that I wasn’t alone. I wish I could convey to you what that has meant to me.
I haven’t gotten to be your friend long enough, sweet friend. You are a gem. You’ve taught me more of what it means to brave scars and tattoos and be who you are because that’s enough. Jesus makes it enough.
And it’s because of Him that we get to laugh together again. I can’t wait for that day, when you will be free of this horrible disease and life will glow from your eyes to the tips of your toes. Until that day, sweet friend, I will remember you when I paint and crochet and wander into places we visited. Thank you for walking with me through my dark places and thank you for encouraging me to be brave and hope and love who I am. I will buy flowers for myself and each time I will remember you telling me to just do it. Just buy the flowers because we may be single, but we will rock it. And we will love who we are.
I am honoured to know you, sweet friend. Thank you for making me a better person. I will keep loving you, keep praying for you on this side of heaven as long as God graces us with more days with you. And I will keep telling Him that I don’t want you to go, either.