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Until Next Time

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I will never hear Amazing Grace again with the same ears as I did before that bright California day. That bright day that I could no longer feel the sun’s warmth. No day passes without the predictable visitation of the once inspiring, now saddening song. Friends of yours told me detailed stories about your many late night purchases of QVC, the new card games you were just bursting out of your seems to teach me, and an uncountable number of stories of how many phone calls from you were about Travis and I, your niece and nephew. Pastor Bob, our friend through you, solemnly told us what no one in the room wanted to hear, it was time to say goodbye. “Saying goodbye,” he said, “Is never easy.” I have never heard words proven to be as true as we bowed our heavy heads.

The chemo went on far too long for you, and that’s okay. I know how much you loathed it anyway. We all just wanted more time for you, and you know what? You got it. Aunt Barb, you outlived every set date, every guesstimate, and you made terminal cancer seem not so terminal. You fooled me, though; I think I began to convince myself that I would have you forever and the day forever really came was one of the most difficult days of my life. I couldn’t imagine you not being there through all of my successes and failures; picking me up and encouraging me on. I always assumed you would be at my wedding, lighting up the room in the way you always do, outshining the bride herself. As much as I wish you, my California mom, could be in the pew on that day, I have to have faith that it all happened for a reason; one turn on the intricate map of life. You taught me what it meant to both live and die like an angel, an undertaking I would have said impossible if it was not for your living proof.

No, I wasn’t ready to say goodbye. The only commodity of my heart allowing me to do so was the little piece, deep down in a hurting heart telling me, “You’ll see her again.” Amazing grace, how sweet the sound.





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