UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN

Today is February first. It’s a new day and a new month; however, I am thinking about the last day of January. A day filled with a spectrum of emotions.

Early Thursday morning…

Got up early, grabbed a cup of coffee, showered, got dressed, husband warmed the car, picked up the food for later, drove on part dry, part black ice roads, set up the hall, got back into the car, and started our journey to the church.  Twelve-mile ride, emotions building, tears welling, getting closer, people arriving, walk up to the church, opened the door, walked in, heart beating a little faster, deep breath, climbed the stairs, turned left, see the door, another deep breath, walked through the door, and my heart starts to fall.  My husband hung up our coats, signed the book, another deep breath, walked into the chapel, glanced to the left, eyes see the casket then, to the right, hugged Ryan tightly, moved on, next Dave, hugged, then Alicia, hugged, finally, Ethan, hugged.   If only hugs could heal hearts.

 I turned to the left, the flowers of purple, pink, white caught my eye, then the walk, slow walk, next to the flowers, a casket holding my sister. Dear sweet sister, my heart is breaking, be strong, tears at the edge of my eyes, she looks so peaceful, pretty, tears escaping, staring, taking in every inch of her face, her glasses, her dark brown hair, her ears, her blouse, her arms, her fingers, touch her arm, she is cold, so cold. Next to the casket more flowers, beautiful, lovely.  Then walking through the chapel doors, an explosion of people, waiting in line, to pay their respects, to start the handshaking, hugs, condolences, moving on, then tears.

As I stood and watched, another gamut of emotions surged; family, friends, co-workers, neighbors standing in front of sister, remembering another time, then turning, walking through the doors, finding us, her sisters, and brother, saying, “I am so sorry for your loss,” we replying, ” Thank you, for coming.”

Tick- tock, the clock hands start to click faster and faster, soon the Pastor said,  “The service will begin in eight minutes.”  Heart pounding, tears starting, we walked in to face our sister for the last time. A million thoughts, heart beating faster, looked at her sweet face, this can’t be, help me Lord, swallowed hard, be brave, not happening, then the tears as I turned away to hug her husband and children once again.

 Then the walk to find a pew. It is quiet, ears hear the wheels of the gurney bringing my baby sister into the sanctuary, across the back, Pastor first, then two men, one pulling, one pushing the covered coffin with a large cloth, a cross in the middle, soon they arrived at the front of the church, close to the altar.

The pastor at the lectern, service begins, hear sniffling, broken hearts in every pew. Singing of a hymn, confession of sin, then remembering.

Alicia read a letter to her mom, felt the tears welling, please stop tears.  I’m next, silent, help me Lord, walked up the three steps on the red carpet, stood on the box, the microphone is waiting, deep breath, then I started.

I remember when, loved her dearly, some funny things, some proud memories, then the poem, I am finished, walked back down the steps, heels clicked on the wooden floor, breathing swallow, sat down, tears poured from my eyes.

Then the Lord’s Prayer, Psalm 23, the Litany, another hymn, the Benediction, Pastor walks down the red-carpeted steps, took the lead, one man pulling, one man pushing my sister up the aisle. Her service is over. Finally, each pew emptied, everyone headed to their cars, driving to the hall for a luncheon and fellowship.

Emma never let me forget that I was the oldest and she was the youngest sister. In fact, whenever I met one of her friends, or at a picnic, and on our birthday’s she would remind everyone that I was the oldest. In fact, she would say, “Ten years older!”  The night before her funeral, I wrote a poem for her. The verse starts with confusion, then pain, tears, and ends with peace.

              I Am the Oldest, You Were the Youngest

When I arrived and heard the news, my heart took a plunge, I felt confused.

How did this happen? I needed to know, hearing the words, I kept thinking, it can’t be so.

I am the oldest, you were the youngest.

There you were, asleep, in a bed of white, while machines blinked and beeped.

As I sat by your side, gently stroking your hand, whispering your name, remembering times of long ago, hoping to hear you say, ” Hello!”

But it was not to be.

I am the oldest, you were the youngest.

As the days went by, the time I spent by your bed, praying, talking, remembering; each becoming a treasure chest of gold, that I will always hold.

I am the oldest, you were the youngest.

Dear Emma, you helped me to see that God had another plan. A plan that only He knows, for a sister He chose.

Your home is in Heaven now, and I will go on somehow.

How blessed I am to have shared your life, a life filled with excitement, joy, laughter, and tears, filling me with memories to last many years.

My love for you will live on in my heart, where my dear sister we will never be apart.

I am the oldest, you were the youngest.

Emma, I will love you forever and a day. I will listen for your laughter in the breeze that gently blows; and feel your heart in the sun that shines brilliantly, snowflakes that fall silently,  rain that sprinkles on spring flowers that bloom with beautiful hues, the turning of the leaves in fall, and Christmas trees so bright. I will remember your love of snowmen, the deep love for your husband, children, and grandchildren. Your birthday will always be a day of celebration of memories we, your sisters and brother store in our hearts.  I will wave to Heaven and hope you will wave back.  Dear sister, you will live in my heart forever. Thank you for sixty years of love.

Until we meet again,

Cindy