I tried several times to write something that would make sense for this post. I was actually looking forward to talking about my younger sister Lora today. And then I sat down to write and was barely able to string a sentence together. So bear with me.
Today, it's been seven years. There are a million ways my heart is broken - and every year I handle this anniversary differently. Today I'm watching my toddler E. proudly drag her alphabet magnets around in a paper grocery sack and I'm just sad. Most days I would enjoy it but today it's a reminder. Lora loved children. We used to think it was just a phase but as she got older her love just grew. She babysat so she could earn enough money to buy or make clothes for a foster family in the church. She went on missions with her youth group and always gravitated toward the kids. As a college freshman she had decided she wanted to be a teacher, and when she found out mid-year that her grades needed to improve in order to pursue an education degree, she buckled down to pull her grades up (Lora was quite social; school was always a little harder for her). Sadly, she was killed in a car wreck on her last night of freshman year. We found out a week after her death that she had managed straight A's in her second semester.
So I cried today. Because E. will never know her Aunt Lora here on Earth. We'll show her pictures and videos, and we'll tell her stories. But she'll never know her like I did. And that breaks my heart.
BUT - for every moment that I ache a little, I also have a redeeming sense of relief and peace. Because Lora was ready. Like all teenagers, Lora had struggled with living a Christian life. But she always came back to what she knew. And at the time of her death she was totally and faithfully in love with Christ. Shortly before she died she told my mom that she was driving and she felt His presence in her car - like He was just sitting next to her. He really was her friend and comfort. As gut-wrenchingly painful as her death was, I still remember going to sleep the night she died with the peace that she was finally Home. Her life - and death - is a testimony for me.
These lyrics are from a favorite song of mine as a kid - I Will Be Free by Cindy Morgan. I never knew it would become an anthem.
Oh, and I'll dance on silver moonlight
And I'll walk through velvet fields
Oh, and I'll run into the arms
The arms that set me free
I will be free
I will be free to run the mountains
I will be free
Free to drink from the living fountain
Oh, I'll never turn back
'Cause He waits....
I'll never turn back
Don't you ever turn back
Because someday, someday we're gonna see
We will be free
Lora, someday I'll run the mountains with you. Until then, I miss you like crazy, Sis.
For more, visit: www.lorabeth.com