I have made an agreement with myself that I will save my deepest grief for my siblings birthdays. That doesn't mean I don't miss them other days, it just means that I recognize my need to keep living life, to take care of myself and my children, my friends, my mother, the living the other days of the year. I could easily be swallowed up by the grief of missing my brother and sister. Some of you know what I mean. To have your best friends violently torn away from you, to have those who best understand you and where you come from suddenly vanished from your life. It hurts.
Today is Angela's birthday. She would have been 42 today. She would have been enjoying her children, watching her eldest learn how to drive, teaching him how to drive, helping them through the pitfalls of high school & junior high. Instead, they are fighting their way through the darkness of their own grief and loss. We would have been sharing the pitfalls and joys of parenting, visiting each other once or twice a year, perchance even living close together again.
I miss talking with her. I miss our daily phone calls, her wisdom, her assertiveness, her humour, her no-nonsense take on life. We were so dissimilar, yet we were a match. I still have days when I want to pick up the phone and call her to tell her something. It's been almost 6 years... will this pain end?
That's why I save it for her birthday. She died too close to Christmas to save it for that day, Christmas is still hard, but I need to leave my grief for a time when it won't ruin the joy for others. It took me a long time to dance with my children after she died because that's what I was doing when the police showed up at my door, I was dancing with Charlie to "The Six White Boomers".
My beautiful sister. Her death has saved lives, and will continue to save lives. I see that. I have a mission that partly arises from her story. I am left to tell her story, to share with others of her beautiful life, too quickly gone. There are women who have left their abusive marriages and relationships before they too ended up dead, women who had already left who were thinking of going back but stayed out because my sister didn't get out, women who didn't think verbal & emotional abuse was dangerous until they realized that was all my sister suffered at the hands of her husband until the fateful night when he killed her.
God takes the horrific, terrible events of this world and He turns them into beauty. He cannot change that it was terrible, He cannot change that it causes untold grief and pain, but He will take it and turn it and twist it until something good comes out of it, until it works out for His glory. Nothing in this world is untouched by God's hand, and when God's hand touches something it is changed for the better.
My sister's life was touched by God's hand. At the very end, she confessed Him as her Saviour and because of that I look forward to catching up with her all the way to heaven. She'll get to enjoy her children again, marvel in how well they did, I'll get to introduce her to my boys and we'll never be separated again. That is a day worth looking forward to, worth rejoicing in.
Here on this earth, I will fulfill the mission that God has given me. I will tell her story and my own until God has weaved together a tapestry of saved lives so beautiful that no darkness can hide it or destroy it again.
I'm going to keep dancing. Sometimes tears flow down my cheeks, but I'm not going to stop moving my feet.
May God bless you. May His love sustain you in your moments of grief. Thanks for listening.