I needed you here.
Today was supposed to be your birthday.
It has been 6 months since you left and I still find nothing in me that is ready to give up. I still see you around town. My peripheral vision catches glimpses of you everywhere I go. A sweep of blond hair from someone wearing a flashy outfit and my heart skips a beat. It only takes a moment to turn my head, but in that moment my heart outruns my reason… and I’m convinced of the possibility that it’s you. It only lasts a moment… and the rush swells into a lump in my throat. The reality of your absence is suffocating. I needed you here.
You missed my birthday. You missed Asher’s birthday…. and his first steps. He says “dada” now… you always loved to hear the other two say that. You missed Emery’s birthday too. You missed Halloween and Thanksgiving. You missed another perfect 12-0 season by our Tigers. All of these keep piling up on top of me. It’s so heavy, and I’m already exhausted from bearing the weight of it. This feels like some kind of terrible, tasteless joke. No one laughed, but the joke keeps repeating over and over again. It comes in relentless waves, one after another. Having a sister like you has always helped me weather the little storms. Not that I’ve had to weather many storms, until this one. This is a big one. I needed you here.
I’m not the first person to lose a loved one. In fact, I’ve realized that everyone I know and love will leave me someday. Or I will leave them. Death is right around every corner and we rarely ever consider it. If we were having this conversation in person, you’d be accusing me of being morbid and depressing. Perhaps I am. It’s hard to know because I normally rely on you to tell me. You would always shoot straight with me and I needed that. I needed you here.
There are so many things I wish I had shared with you. You spent so much time looking up to me and telling others about it. Someday, I hope to become the person you told everyone I was. The truth is, I was so proud of you. I learned so much from you. I loved staying up late with you just to talk about whatever. You have always been so chill and calm. Even when you were a nervous wreck, you would listen and adapt. You were always dreaming of the next big thing, and I used to think that was crazy. Now I realize that it was your boundless ambition that kept me motivated in my own life. As often as I would get comfortable and settled in for the long, boring haul; I would see you zip by with a smile and a wave. What an adventure! It made me want to do more and be more.
You were the one who taught me that the world doesn’t revolve around me… because little sisters are always more adorable. You were the one who gave me a reason to be strong… because little sisters need to be protected. You were the one who taught me how to respect women… because you would let me know when I needed to grow up. You were the one who taught me to lead carefully… because you were content to follow me wherever I went. You were the one who taught me to be brave… because my future wife wasn’t going to call me first. You were the one who taught me to have integrity… because you were always watching. You were the one who showed me how to love unconditionally… because you truly believed that I could do no wrong. You were the perfect little sister… and I needed you here.
Christmas is coming soon. You aren’t going to be there for any of these new memories for the rest of my life. If I could make that reality seem more real, I think I could handle it better. Everyone always says that when they lose someone. “It just doesn’t seem real.”
Why doesn’t it seem real?
I think it is because it was never meant to. The sting of death was never part of the plan. We were never meant to die, and we have always known that we were made for eternity. This is the time of year that we remember this. As the world waited for the first Christmas, it groaned under the weight of death. We experience death because we chose to disobey our Creator. Death was the inevitable consequence for something that unthinkable… for the creation to rebel against its Creator. But our Creator is good and just. He promised that He would make a way for us to be with Him again. He would send a new King that would show us how to live our lives as He intended. That’s where I am today. Waiting, groaning, longing for the day when I will be made new again. When Christ was born, the Good News to the world was that the King had finally come. When He allowed Himself to be crucified, the Good News to the world was that the debt we owed to our Creator had been paid. When He rose from the dead, the Good News to the world was that death had lost its sting. That all started at Christmas. We needed Him here… and now we long to see Him again. Because, on that day, there will be no more death… and you and I will see each other again.
So, Happy Birthday Bekah. I needed you here and it hurts that you are not. But it will be OK… because I will see you again.
1st Corinthians 15:54-57
“When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:
‘Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?’
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”