this past week provided a great juxtaposition in my life, in 2 short days.
wednesday we attended a "gender reveal" party for my dear friend annie. here's a picture of the moment of reveal:
it's a girl! (and check out my stream of silly string - i'm in the pink coat. i loved this moment!)
we celebrated the life annie and her husband are bringing into this world, and spent a lot of the night speculating what her baby girl elle will look like, what her personality will be, and the myriads of possibility that lay ahead for her life. it's a fresh start for this baby girl, and it's a chance for her parents to step up and call on their heavenly father's help. it's so exciting and i am so thrilled for this new family. they will be perfect parents.
the next day, a close family friend passed away.
i received a call from my best friend & childhood buddy danielle while i was getting my eyebrows waxed. we play phone tag constantly, so i thought nothing of it - but then when the voicemail signal beeped, my heart dropped and i knew what the news was. her mom has fought with cancer for years, and a few weeks ago they finally stopped the rigorous treatment and put her in hospice to essentially wait out the end of her life. we didn't think it would be this soon, though.
intellectually, we all knew this day would come - and heartless as it sounds, sometimes i wished the day would come. danielle moved home to take care of her mother and, although i absolutely believe she did the right thing, she has been miserable and bored and not moving forward with her life. she has spent her days sitting by her mother's side, having infinite amounts of time to worry. i wanted danielle back in utah, with me, progressing, finding reasons to be happy.
yet when the moment came, i could feel no relief - only grief for danielle. one of the first things she cried over the phone was that her kids will never know their grandma, and i realized how short sided i had been, how permanent this news must feel to her. how permanent it really is. i've experienced death a few times in my life, and it's always such a different experience - it's hard to even lump it into one category, death.
i was so grateful for the opportunity to be the first one to cry with danielle over the news. i got to be the one to tell her that i was sorry and life isn't fair and it's okay to feel mad. it was all a very spiritual experience, and i could feel the moment being tattooed in my brain as one i will never forget. it's a moment that has a lot more weight than most, in the grand scheme of things. i felt the weight of the moment fuse me to danielle, over the phone through hundreds of miles. as if braving our middle-school awkward stages together didn't bond us enough, i felt an un-shakable connection to danielle that night.
my heart felt heavy all night into the next day, but it all felt natural. the experience seemed to coincide so effortlessly with the experience of celebrating a new life just the night before - life moves on, it stops for no one. it keeps moving - and as danielle experiences grief, a whole new chapter of her life opens up. death is a fresh start for her - a chance to call upon her heavenly father for help and push through to become stronger and more solid in who she is, what she believes.
“everything's a wheel, turning and turning, never stopping... always coming in new, always growing and changing, and always moving on. that's the way it's supposed to be. that's the way it is.”
and if nothing else was gained from all of this, i felt a strange perspective - one experienced from time to time, where you just feel like this is all so, completely, "earthly" for lack of a better word. it all feels impermanent. danielle, her mother, those new parents, myself - we are much more than this earthly experience, it's merely a chapter. it's a little hard to explain the feeling completely - but it's as if there is a tugging from pre-mortal life, and a tugging from beyond this life. the two sets of pressure just shake things into the right light, and then they don't feel so heavy. i'm SO grateful for that perspective, for the light of eternal families, for the wonderful influence that cindy has been for so many years in my life, and for the chance to stand with danielle this weekend as we memorialize a beautiful life. (and i'm holding my mama extra tight when i see her tomorrow!)