Graceful grief

Jonna was in town shortly before Kara’s death. We enjoyed coffee together and I listened to her tell me about this visit, this time that was likely her last spent with Kara on this earth. She spoke with grace and love. She shared her heart and her thoughts about the children and how much she loves them, we talked about how special aunts are, and spoke of the hurt that comes with loving someone so deeply. The dreams that will never come to fruition, the pain of having to say goodbye prematurely.

As she spoke, I watched Jonna’s face, so much like Kara’s. My heart ached for her having to say goodbye to her baby sister. She spoke eloquently, just like Kara, and with the same irreverence that makes us all laugh. Her thoughts were amazingly well organized in the midst of her grief as she talked about how her role will change in the lives of her nieces and nephew. As different as these sisters may be, they are so alike, the biggest similarity being how big they love.

I can’t imagine my sister dying. I can’t imagine how you live without a sister, how your heart must break for your sister’s babies left behind. And yet here is Jonna gracefully walking her story with a radiant trust that God will carry her through the darkest days.

She later sent this update and I asked if I could share it on the blog; I rejoice in the love between these women and how it will bloom even bigger in Heaven. 

I am sitting at the airport processing my trip with Kara. This was a beautiful and touching trip but very, very hard. As we were saying goodbye, she looked in my eyes and said, “Jonna, what do you think?”

I said, “I think you are great.”
“Have I deteriorated?”
“Yes,” I replied, “Since the last time I saw you…” 

She agreed. Then I said, “Kara it is so hard for us to watch you suffer.” 

She nodded. “Yes, the pain sucks.”

We talked a lot this week. About our plans of growing old together, outliving our husbands and sharing our last years together. About how that is not going to happen now. And we cried more than we laughed, but it was beautiful.

I truly feel in my heart I just said goodbye to my sister. We hugged and I told her, “I love you. So much.” 

She said, “Jonna, I know you love me and you love me so well...but I love you more.” 

“Not possible!”

And she replied as a bratty little sister would, “I love you more because I said it first.” And we laughed through more tears. 

I told her last night that sometimes it can be hard for me to see sisters. I want to be jealous, envious of them that they get to be together. But my sister taught me differently—I want to celebrate that beautiful bond two girls have because I have the bestest sister!!! Even when it will be past tense—I had the bestest sister!!! 

I wouldn't trade one ounce of heartbreak for a second of time I had with Kara. She is amazing!!! She is even doing dying well!!! 

I am so honored to be by my sister’s side through this whole process. I am so blessed to have the very, very best sister!!! I love her so, so much!