They say when we are about to die, our whole life flashes before us. In my case, when it was announced that my daughter had been killed, my entire future without her passed before me. I have always believed, even joked, that I would live to be very old—maybe even a hundred like my Grandpa Joe. Already envisioning my future grandchildren and the things we would do together when they came to visit me, I even had a quaint, little cabin picked out that would be my home as an old lady… The kids and I would muse about it every time we passed on our way to violin lessons in Ouray. They loved laughing and making up all kinds of stories and scenarios about how things would be!
One of my greatest fears has always been to die prematurely—simply for the fact that I have no intention of leaving my babies alone in this big, wide world. Never before had it crossed my mind that one of them might leave me first… In an instant, I was thrown into a nightmare that I could not even begin to comprehend. How was it so?
Now, as I sat alone in the hospital waiting room, staring down at my quiet hands, all I could think was, “It is going to be a very long, lonely life without her…” All of our plans and hard work were dashed to pieces in that single moment—and yet, I was still living and breathing. Compelled to continue when she could not, how would I ever manage that long, lonely road alone?
Odd as it may sound, there are plenty times now that I feel envious of the elderly, or even terminally ill. It is easy to wish it were me instead, preparing to make that journey home again—just so I could be with my sweet, sweet Josie. Then it hits me… I would be missing all of my children here, if I were there!!! This is the place to be for now, I reckon. Focusing on the love I have for these remaining three gives me great courage and resolve to soldier on—they are everything to me.
Those first minutes, hours, and days turned to weeks, months, and years have seemed torturously long, but I can now begin to see how quickly time has passed. Never did I imagine this would be possible—my agony was far too great. Today, though it still feels like I just hugged and kissed my precious daughter goodbye this morning, the passage of time has become increasingly apparent as I watch my toddler growing into a young boy, my youngest daughter growing into a young woman, and my oldest son quickly becoming a man. When we first moved to this little town, I believed it would only be our temporary home, a mere stepping stone—how quickly 18 years have passed…
Perhaps this quickening of time is just one more of my Father’s tender mercies. I have prayed often that He might “speed the day.” I believe He is. It is now possible to look ahead to the next 20 years. Hopefully they will pass before me like a beautiful dream, filled with more cherished memories. After that, perhaps another 20 will pass in like manner, and then another. By then, I will be well past one hundred. By then, all my babies will be grown. And finally, I will be able to rest.