Sunday, January 30, 2011

If Only I Could

It’s been almost a week since I have written or read anything. I can’t think right now. Yes, I am working a new job, ten hours a day and obviously have to “think” during those hours but the truth is, I am on auto-pilot while there. Everything looks fine on the outside, but on the inside, I am numb, silent, frozen.




Thirty-three years ago, I was barely twenty years old, married for two years and pregnant with our first child. Two months before Matthew was born, Bob and I moved four hours north of our family, to a very small beach town where my mother was born and raised. All my maternal family was still there so it was really like going home for me. One we settled in, I realized that although I had tons of aunts, uncles and cousins, I had left all my friends when I moved. I began to wonder how I would ever meet people my age in such a small town when I could barely walk with my huge baby belly. I didn’t have to wonder for long.



Just days after moving into one of my cousins rent houses, a darling wood cottage painted red with a killer view of the ocean, there was a knock on the front door. I waddled my way over to answer the rapping and was pleasantly surprised by the blonde woman on the other side. Elsa was just a few years older than I was and lived across the street. She came over to introduce herself and to bring homemade treats. We spent about an hour talking and then walked across the road to her home where she fed me lunch and fed my soul with friendship. I will never forget her for that.



The next day my cousin dropped me off at home after taking me to my doctors appointment. As I walked up to the door, there was a jar of homemade blackberry jam sitting on the front doorstep. I picked it up and went into the house smiling, assuming it was from Elsa. It wasn’t but an hour later that Lori knocked on my door. She introduced herself as a friend of Elsa’s and asked if I had found the jam she had left. I quickly invited her. She had her two year old boy with her and we spent a wonderful afternoon visiting and getting to know one another. Meeting Lori that day changed my life forever.



For the last thirty-three years, Mike and Lori have been more than our friends. They are our family. We have been through births and deaths, parties and partings, girls nights and boys weekends, couples vacations and times of pure vacancy. When we moved to Oklahoma sixteen years ago, one of the most difficult things for me was leaving Lori. She is my sister, my kindred spirit, the person most like me in every way imaginable. I love her and her husband Mike, beyond words. When I think of Lori, I think of laughing until we are crying and crying until we are laughing. That last sentence really sums up our relationship perfectly.



This week, Lori sent me an email. I won’t go into it all because it is deeply personal. I will only share this one line:



“…..he only has months to live.”



Of course, I immediately called and spoke to Mike for a minute and then Lori for much longer. I wanted to be encouraging, to laugh with her, to tell her things that would bring her comfort. I couldn’t so instead we cried together. A lot. I am still crying. Bob has had to wake me up from crying in my sleep as I dream of Lori and Mike. I cried all through worship at church last night. I have cried in the bathroom at work and on my way home. When I am crying, I am also pleading with God for an answer, a miracle, for peace and comfort for Mike. I am pleading for the same and more for Lori and their family. I am also asking Him to teach me what it means to be a friend in the face of such incredible pain for the people I love.



Only months, possibly weeks to live. I can’t understand this. My heart won’t allow me to. I want to go home. I want to live in that little red beach cottage and find blackberry jam on my stoop. I want to stay up all night laughing with Lori and the other girls in our group while the guys are off backpacking with all the kids. I want a do-over. I want more time.

25 comments:

Teresa - in the Middle Side of Life said...

My heart aches for you. I'm without words of greater substance right now. There is no way for me to say "I understand" because without living through it, there is no way that I possibly can. I pray for you, for your family, and for your dear sweet friends.

I pray that when we are faced with that same challenge, that we have a friend such as you in our lives.

Two Shades of Pink said...

My sweet Marla, I wish I knew how this cup could be removed from these precious friends of yours but we know God has their life in His powerfully perfect hands. I hate that you are in pain and immense grief. I will join you in prayer for them and for your tender heart. And we too had a similar shock in our church this week when a police officer was shot last week. I cried so much over it, waking in the middle of the night and asking God to help his wife through the night. But she has reached THOUSANDS with a testimony of faith and strength where zero of it comes from her own flesh. It is awe inspiring and humbling since I cry out to God with a loud WHY when this happens. I just know you and God's strength and wisdom will once again pour forth from you to be the friend and powerful intercessor they need. I love you dear friend.

Katharine said...

I'm so sorry. I wish I had answers, and miracles and words that could really comfort, ease heart break and heal...but please know that I am lifting you up in prayer to the one who has all that. I know He will help you be what you need to be for your friends,and I know he will hold your heart.
Blessings...

Parsley said...

Oh sweetie. Wish I was there to give you a hug. God blessed you with wonderful people in your life and it sounds like he wants one of them back home with him. I will pray.

Bruce Coltin said...

At times like this, I wish I had the perfect bit of advice. Of course, I don't.

But I am sorry.

ModernMom said...

I wish I had some magic words for you that could make this easier. Life can be so terribley hard and cruel. I send you prayers of strength both for you and your friends...

Coby said...

Oh Marla, I'm so sorry. I will certainly add your dear friends to my prayers. I'm sorry, sweet friend.

Delirious said...

This is truly a reminder that we should cherish the time we have with our loved ones because none of us know how much time we have. The one blessing from this is that you have time to tell him how much he means to you. If it were an accidental death, you wouldn't have that time.

Brian Miller said...

tears and prayers....

gayle said...

I am so very sorry to hear this sad news!! I have had a best friend since 1968 and I can't even imagine what you are going through!

Dawn said...

Marla, I'm so sorry. You and your friends are in my thoughts and prayers.

My heart is breaking for you and them.

Sarah said...

I'm so sorry for your pain. I am experiencing the same thing with my friend, whose husband only has months to live. Although it's been three years, it must be very difficult for her when the end is near. I am clueless as what I can do at a time like this. Aside from prayers, it's completely out of our hands.

Prudence said...

OH I hate this!:(

Far Side of Fifty said...

I am so sorry, what terrible news I am sure you are still in shock and denial..sometimes it takes a bit to sink in, so of course you are numb, silent and frozen..you are a good friend:)

Mrs. Tuna said...

When my mom died last year after cancer treatment was no longer working, my best friend was my rock. She let me cry, walked my dogs, and always knew what I thought. Do the best you can for her, she knows it is enough.

FreeFlying said...

That is truly heartbreaking. I am so sorry, Marla. I will be praying for a miracle.

Kristen said...

Very sad, I am sure she is so grateful to have you ecspecially now. Stay strong!

Not So Simply Single said...

Marla darling, I am praying for you! I hope you surrender your woes to God. Bless you sweetie. I hope that you can get some rest and recharge your batteries.

Come to Maui, I will make you a plate of fresh papaya and pineapple and rub your feet.

Lisa

J.J. in L.A. said...

Oh sweetie, I'm so sorry to hear that! I'll be saying a prayer for all of you.

TechnoBabe said...

This is maybe the first time I have heard you having this much trouble dealing with pain, shock and fear in people you love. Intellectually you know death is part of life, but emotionally it has hit you hard.
In one way Lori has some time, all of you do. The people who lose someone in an instant with no warning walk around in shock for so long. You have been given the time to say goodbye. Sad as it is. Hugs to you, dear one.

Glen said...

ah mate - I feel for you and your friends. If only we could have more time... just remember all the time you have had. it was good time, used well.

Oklahoma Granny said...

I've added all concerned to my prayer list. Hugs to you.

The Duck Herder said...

big love Marla.

Okie Book Woman said...

I'm so sorry. Losing long time friends like that is so very hard. Praying for you.

Michelle said...

So sad. Life is so hard sometimes. All we have to hold onto is the thought that only a thin veil separates us from the ones we love that have passed on and someday soon we will see them again...this time with no parting!