The very worst part of grief is knowing that it isn’t a one-time-feeling. There will be something else in your life that brings back that dreaded ache in your heart. The empty numbing dark cloud of indescribable sadness hanging over our heads will always return when you least expect it – and we can never be prepared.
I had a strange feeling last night about a good friend – I had not spoken to her in awhile. I discovered a month ago (to the day) that she had cancer. On that day, I shared with her something personal – something tragic I was going through – and we cried together on the phone. We said we would pray for each other and that we hoped God would wrap his arms around us to help us through our difficult times. She told me she was going to be okay …. she reassured me she would be okay. I now have this sinking feeling that she knew during that conversation she wouldn’t be okay…. This morning I received the news that she had passed away.
My friend taught first grade beside me in Baltimore for two years. She retired my third year (my hardest year), but we talked weekly on the phone. She gave me the strength I needed on days when I didn’t want to teach anymore. She was one of the first people I told that I was pregnant. She always loved to hear gossip – about school, about my life, about anything – and she had the best sense of humor. I loved to make her laugh with inappropriate comments and jokes – because she LOVED that kind of stuff. She taught me how to handle first graders and also taught me patience. It didn’t matter that she was 30 years older than me, she was an incredible friend. She knew more of my secrets than most of my friends do now because she wanted to know everything there was about me. So I told her the good, the bad, and the ugly – and she never judged me once. At the end of our second school year together, I made her take a selfie with me. She told me she was going to take off her glasses so she didn’t look like an old lady and that I wasn’t allowed to post it on Facebook. She made me laugh so hard sometimes.
When my Grandma died my first year of teaching, she was there to hold me while I cried. I feel like at some point she became like a Grandmother to me since I no longer had one. She has looked out for me since the first day she met me and now I feel like there is a hole in my heart. I will never hear that laugh again, I will never be able to call her and tell her about a crazy day at school or a funny story about Annabelle. She never forgot anyone’s birthday, anniversary, or a special day in their life. She loved everyone and everything. She loved angels and often wore one pinned to her shirt. Today my heart breaks for her daughters and husband – for everyone else whose life she touched – because we have lost a one of a kind, beautiful woman.
They always say when people die that heaven gains another angel. They truly did this time. Rest in peace Hebron. I hope you find my Grandma up there… and when you do, send me a sign you two met… because I always told you that you’d like her and then I’ll know I have two guardian angels looking over me…