The house is quiet.
And I need this quiet.
Last week we took the Spain kiddoes to the airport.
Four days ago our Canadian daughter left.
This morning our dear Japan family drove off – ending the long and busy-happy family reunion.
Those last hugs made me sad – of course! — and now the house is filled with ‘holes,’ missing persons and sweet memories.
Swinging. Swimming. Camping out. Pushing our two-year-olds in the pink stroller car. Square dancing at the Barn. Celebrating four birthdays. Much cooking, eating, dishwashing, talking, and hugging (!). And the highlight: our first-ever “Cousin Camp.”
Daughter #1 dreamed it up and pulled it off, directing her ‘staff’ (yours truly and Grampa and Aunt Miah) and generously giving her time, money, and creativity.
What a camp!
Wake up fairies. Exercise. Cabin Clean-up. Singing time. Crafts. Picnics. Field trips (like behind-the-scenes tour of our post office). Rock-hopping. Making puppets and a show. Reading aloud the Wemmick books. Giving affirmation badges. And more.
It was good, so joy-filled, so tiring (yes!), so satisfying to be together.
As it happened, during those noisy, lively days around our house, my dear life-friend M. was quietly, painfully lying in the hospice house two hours away.
Death is ugly.
I wished – oh, how I wished! – I could be in two places at once. (Not the first time I’ve wished that . . . )
Morning and night, thoughts of my suffering friend and her family filled my prayers.
Our Cousin Camp finished on Sunday, July 28 — with a big-bang 40th birthday party for Daughter #1.
That same day dear M.’s heart stopped and her spirit left for heaven.
The house is quiet.
And my heart is tired.
Sadness. Joy. Longings. Disappointments. Love. Pain. Mercy. Anger. Forgiveness. Strength. Exhaustion. Gratitude. Grief . . . it’s all confused in there and feels heavy.
But God is helping me.
God is telling me that life goes on.
Life goes on for me here in Montreat.
Life goes on for my children and grandchildren far away in their different places.
And life definitely goes on for my friend – with Jesus in heaven.
In the last days of her consciousness, she said things like “Do you hear the music?” and “Oh, the colors! It’s so beautiful.”
At her funeral service, the preacher talked about glory, how those who love and seek to follow Jesus will pass from this life and experience His glorious presence forever in heaven. “This life is full of grief but the next life will be full of glory. Our grief will be replaced by glory!”
There will be no tired, confused, heavy hearts like mine there.
What a family reunion that will be!
And I will never need a quiet house again.