It’s not often that I bear my heart. It’s not exactly “who I am” as a person. I’m quiet, I will never be accused of oversharing, though I do tell stories from time to time 🙂 but when things hurt, I put them in my emotional basement and leave them there.
I’m an introvert. I always have been, though there have been times I’ve hidden it better than others. I’m not really comfortable around new people if there’s a chance I’ll have to do very much talking and I’ll avoid large groups every chance I get. It’s not that I don’t want anything to do with people in general, it’s just that “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix” kind of mentality.
But then there are those handful of precious few people who have dragged me from my shell, accepting nothing less than my being a part of their life. And I’m so thankful for the precious few of them. And they are all sisters to me, always have been always will be. I don’t even have the room to talk about each and every one, but THEY know who they are. They always have.
One of them, I met almost 15 years ago, a wonderful Christian woman from my own home state of Kentucky, back in the hills. We met online on a Christian women’s group, laughed that we had the same accent and God bonded us as sisters from that point on. As we got to know one another better, we found more and more things that we had in common and we wound up starting a Christian ministry online for women who had been through abuse. She taught me pray out loud and has stood with me when no one else would. I love her.
Another, a lady a bit younger than myself, I also met about 15 years ago. She was younger than me, was a single mom, and we met at a church where my husband and I were worship leaders at the time. I can’t even remember what pulled us together so strongly, other than God, but she was like a ray of sunshine in my life and still is to this day. She taught me many things, not the least of which being that we are mothers, we are daughters of God, and we are stronger than we feel most of the time. We’ve been together through thick and thin and time nor distance has ever separated us very long, even though she’s a globe-trotter. I love her.
Another lady, and another a little younger than I, I met at a grocery store I worked at, as she did too. It was a hard time in my life and I had determined not to get to close to anyone else, because as I had come to find out, that never ended well. She wouldn’t have it though. Her smile and her elusive, addictive love of life simply made me feel that she was someone who could be trusted, someone I could be friends with.
She was a hugger. I was not. I had to be for her though 🙂 And that was okay. Days turned into weeks turned into months and I was a hugger too, pretty much just for her, but a hugger I had become 🙂 We spent a lot of time together. She would come to my house and we would go places together and when she wasn’t around, I missed her like crazy.
She loved to sing, but it scared her something awful. I would get up to sing with her and she would hold on to my hand and stare right into my eyes while she sang, ever so softly. She was a great singer. She should have belted ’em out, but she didn’t. That wasn’t who she was. Oh, she would belt them out if it were just us and we were sitting in the living room or in her truck, but even though she was as outgoing as she was, singing in front of people still scared her. I thought it was adorable. And I relished all those times. More than she knew, I think.
She taught me that smiles don’t hurt, tears don’t last forever, and it’s okay to call people “puddin”. And I loved her. I still love her. I will always love her.
Early in the second month of 2015, when everything was already cold anyway, her life was brought to a tragic and senseless end by a mentally unstable boyfriend. How do I know he was mentally unstable? Because he pointed a gun at her chest while she stood on his porch, and he ruthlessly shot her through the heart and ended one of the most beautiful lives that God had ever graced this earth with. A short while later, he shot and killed himself. Doesn’t that sound mentally unstable?
She was to turn 31 that November. She had two precious babies that were left behind, along with more people that loved and cherished her than I could possibly ever count. I know there are a lot of people that were much closer to her than I was: a mother, her children, her sisters and other family and friends… but she was a huge part of my life, my world that I let so few people into in the first place. I guess that’s what makes it so hard.
Some days I can think about her and laugh, remembering all the good times, the deep conversations and all the smiles, hugs and laughs that we shared. I think about the way I use to come into the store on my off days, when she was working, and I would slip her snacks as I went through her line. I think about her kids calling me down if I “talked mean” 🙂
Other days, I think about too many things I shouldn’t, and all the questions I will never have an answer to, and the pain seems almost too heavy. Sometimes, it’s almost like the grieving process starts all over, as I wonder why. So many times, the slightest thing will happen, and for a split second, the thought will flit across my mind, “Hey, she would LOVE that!” or “Wow, she HAS to hear this song, she’ll love it!” … and then I remember…
I miss her every day and I know I always will. She will be a part of my heart forever and she will most certainly NEVER be forgotten.
I love and miss you SO MUCH, JuLee…so much!