Tuesday, March 17, 2015

When Worlds Collide

Today the thing that I had been dreading for so many reasons happened.

My dear, treasured, cousin Nancy passed from this world to the next to live with Jesus and wait for us to join her.  It wasn't unexpected.  She has been fighting cancer for a while now.  But the stark reality of hearing that it had actually happened still punched me in the gut and left me bereft in a way I cannot describe.

Nancy and I are 74 days apart in age.  Our moms are sisters that are closer than sisters.  They are more like twins who share that weird twin sense thing you hear about.  We grew up together like siblings doing everything you can imagine together. Our dads were best friends who married sisters who were best friends. Our families were perfectly matched.  All six of us kids are adopted and we each were the same corresponding ages.  When the older boys and we were around ages 4 and 6 we sang together in little quartets at church gatherings and such.  Our families vacationed together. As kids we pretended to be sisters and even twins since we often had matching outfits.  We even had similar hair types--both of us have thick, curly hair.

As we got into junior high and high school Nancy and I sang together just the two of us more and more.  By the time we got into high school we were singing at lots of weddings together with Nancy playing the guitar.  I looked up to her and thought she was the coolest person and she had oodles of friends that I wanted to be my friends.  My school didn't have a drama program so I lived vicariously through her plays and musicals throughout high school.  I once had a nightmare where I dreamed she had died and I vowed never to sing again.  When I woke up it seemed so real but thankfully it wasn't.  But that is how intrinsic she was to my entire being.

Nancy was always cutting and styling our dolls' hair when we were little kids so it was natural for her to move on to cutting my hair as we got into junior high.  I trusted her even though there were times that it wasn't exactly salon worthy. :)  Then as she got near high school graduation she started attending Barber College simultaneously with high school and got her license to cut hair soon after.  I can honestly say that until I found my current hair stylist several years ago she was the only one who really "got" my hair and could make it look the way I wanted it.

We had funny nicknames for each other that we decided on after we had a funny experience at Bible camp as junior highers.  Up through our last conversations this year we used those names with each other as jokes.

She introduced me to people that have changed my life and I introduced her to people who changed her life.  When she turned 50 I made a list of 50 memories of the two of us and gave it to her with a homemade card of the two of us sitting naked as 3 year olds on a family vacation.  The truth is, I could come up with way more than 50 memories of the two of us.  We shared a lifetime together.  I just never thought that our time together would end so much sooner than I wanted.

And now, the thing that I've been fearing the past month has happened.  My dearest cousin has passed on while my precious son is lying in a hospital ICU with no immediate quick recovery in sight.  So the family that I cherish back in Illinois and the funeral of someone that has impacted my life more than almost everyone else might as well be a million miles away because I won't be there.

Today my son said to me "you are going, Mom" even as he had tried to comfort me as I cried at his bedside this morning when I got the news.  "No," I said, "I will be right here with you and I want to be here with you."

This is what happens when worlds collide.

I'm so blessed to have loved her and known her.  I am beyond thankful for the two different weeks that I spent seeing her over the past year.  I will see her on that day when I pass through the veil, along with so many others whom I have loved so dearly here.

And for now, I press on:  Philippians 3:12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.


  1. Press on, dear friend. Press on.

  2. Love you, Shell. Remember? She introduced me to you.

  3. This is so beautiful, and I know not being there must be heartbreaking. Praying God will continue to comfort you as you stay by your son's side. I know she wouldn't expect anything less, and if she was able, would probably scold you if you tried to go! (((hugs)))