Two weeks ago my friend of 20 years passed away. Suddenly. Too quick for any of us to get a grip on the thought that she could be gone, let alone absorb the fact that it was true. It still, even today, seems impossible that I can speak about her in the past tense.
She was fun, and silly, sweet, and feisty. She was the maid of honor at my wedding and someone I loved. That was the hardest part. I’ve had many friends who have come in and out of my life, people who have made an impact in some way, but I loved this particular friend.
In the days and hours that have passed, I’ve experienced moments that have unexpectedly hit me so hard I’ve felt it hard to breathe. I’ve felt tears on my face before I even realized I was crying. And I’ve laughed, randomly at silly moments that pop up in the midst of my pain.
I will miss her. I do, already.
And yet, I feel her here yet, too. The love I had for her… it’s still there. I feel her friendship as strongly now as when she was here on earth. I take comfort that she is at peace, with Jesus. I grieve now, but I also find healing in the fact that all the struggles of her life are wiped away. I hold tight to this belief, to this tiny bit of peace in my heart that will grow as she stretches her arms and embraces our Lord. This is what will allow me to finally accept that she is gone.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
The Coming of the Lord
But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope.14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. 15 For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord,[a] that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.
English Standard Version (ESV)