Sunday, December 19, 2010

My Stepmother and Friend

Four weeks ago today, my father unexpectedly lost his best friend, my stepmother, Debbie.  I've hesitated to write about it, not knowing what to say or if I should write about it. But now as I'm typing, I can feel a calm coming over me. Debbie came into our lives about seven years ago laughing and making jokes within minutes of our meeting her.  She was such a loving person, full of laughter and life. She has two children whom I am proud to call my siblings: Dena and Trey. She has one grandbaby by blood, and three others that she loved as if they were her own. We became good friends over the past few years and my sisters and I believed we could come to her and confide in her with any situation. Her death was sudden and painless: an aneurysm. We are all grateful that she didn't suffer.

My dad is holding up relatively well. Some moments are harder than others (waking up without her there, going to sleep without her there, Sunday afternoons). But that is to be expected. He takes comfort, as we all do, in knowing that she is walking with her Savior now.  Of course, that doesn't completely take away the pain of her not being here.

Dena and Trey are grieving in their own ways. My heart goes out to my step-siblings. I cannot imagine losing my mother so suddenly. My step brother was celebrating his birthday with her when she collapsed. Again, I can't imagine... Dena had to travel eight hours before she could see her mother for the last time. What a drive that must have been. I've tried to remind them often that we love them and are here for them, even if we are hundreds of miles away. 

My biggest fear in all of this is that my family is torn apart due to little spats. Everyone is grieving and anger and frustration are a big part of the grieving process. I just pray that any little arguments that arise will be resolved quickly and without hurt feelings. Debbie wouldn't want any animosity to rise up among us.

I feel so helpless being this far away. Most days it just doesn't seem real to me that she's gone. I know she's not here, but every now and then I'll get a thought (I wonder how Dad and Debbie are celebrating Christmas this year?) and almost immediately am reminded that Dad is alone now. I wish I could be there to help with something. Although, I'm not sure exactly what I could do. I also realize that I have to trust in God to deal with the things I cannot and to comfort those whom I am not able to physically comfort.

Throughout all of this, I have been reminded that family and friends are most important, after my relationship with my Heavenly Father. It's such a peaceful feeling to know that He is in control and that I don't need to worry. Debbie is and will be greatly missed on this earth, but in the end we will see her again and hear her infectious laughter. I'm thankful for that.

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