We all have one thing in common – death. No one wants to talk about it yet everyone in their lifetime will experience it in some form or fashion. Your spouse, your child, your best friend, or an acquittance that made a lasting impact on your life… I don’t bring up this morbid topic to bring you down or create anxiety that one day you might have to live without the person you love most. I bring up this topic because there is something in death that is beautiful, however, when you’re dealing with a grieving heart it is almost impossible to see. The beauty? LIFE. In order to die, you must first live.
When I lost my best friend (and all three grandparents) almost 5 years ago I can remember the symptoms of my grieving heart. Isolation, depression, anxiety, doubt, chest pains, shortness of breath, no energy, intense crying spells, anger – this one was tough to battle, and flashbacks. These were so crippling that some days it took all I had to even get out of bed. There was no warning, no manual guide on how to live after a traumatic death that I could follow step by step to get past it. How was I supposed to learn to cope with telling my best friend absolutely everything about my life to never again being able to tell her anything? In an instant I would never be able to text or call, hear her voice or get advice. Death had robbed us and just like that – it was over.
I vividly remember where I was and what I was doing when something came over me. I was cleaning out my guest bedroom closet when I pulled out the dress she wore as my Maid of Honor. It still smelled like her Flower Bomb perfume. She had been my best friend and Maid of Honor, but so many different things to so many others who loved her. A devoted daughter and sister, a friend, a loving fiancé, a grandchild, teacher, Christ follower, student, co worker, the list could go on. That’s when it hit me – Brittany was not defined by her death. Brittany IS defined by her LIFE. She loved – and hard. There was never a day that she didn’t tell people what they meant to her. In fact, I have notes from the past 20 years that I can read when I need reminded. She poured her heart into her talents, paintings, pottery, and most importantly, she poured her Jesus filled heart out to people. No one was a stranger. She never had a bad day. She never judged – she knew that was God’s job. Despite her own struggles she was an overcomer and she wanted everyone else to feel the faith she had. If you didn’t feel it, you soon would after spending time with her.
Her death was devastating. Too soon. Too traumatic. But her life… oh, what a beautiful thing. This is what it’s all about. What are you leaving behind? Take time to smile at the stranger, give the hug, write the letter, pay attention to the sunset, take the pictures. Tell them you love them, say sorry, and most of all… enjoy the time you are given.
Death has impacted my life in a detrimental way but it also has taught me to love deeper and harder and I know for that she is SO proud.
In order to die, you must first live. Thank you God for the ultimate death you endured. Because of it, I will be reunited with my best friend one day for all eternity.