In the writing word, cliches are frowned upon. They are a fallback for the lazy writer who cannot come up with something original to say.
And yet, one particular cliche has been on my mind since Tuesday night—don’t take life for granted.
Last Wednesday, October 19, my friend Stacy Simmons went in for a surgery to remove a growth from her abdomen. She had originally been told the surgery would take place in November, but somehow an opening had appeared in the schedule. Stacy posted how excited she was that Jesus had answered her prayers to do the surgery as soon as possible. The doctors didn’t think the growth was cancerous, but I can imagine Stacy wanted it out of her body. It probably felt like a ticking time bomb.
The surgery went well, and the doctor removed a 27-lb growth. Whew! What a relief that must have been. That’s like carrying triplets.
Tuesday morning, I texted Stacy to let her know I was thinking of her and had said prayers for quick healing and good results from the doctor on testing the growth.
Tuesday evening, I received this text in reply.
“This is her daughter. She passed away today from complications.”
I couldn’t process it. Had my phone been hacked? Hers? Surely this wasn’t real. Somehow, this was a horrible prank.
I scrolled back through my previous texts. I had definitely messaged Stacy’s phone. My text history was chock full of her typical encouragements.
“Wishing you all the best tonight. You’re gonna be awesome!!”
“Thank the Lord!! I’m so happy for y’all!!!”
“Holy smokes!!! That’s so amazing!!! I’ll be happy to tag team it with you.”
Her vibrancy and infectious enthusiasm shouted from my iPhone screen.
Had someone found her phone? Answered me this way to be terribly mean?
I called a mutual friend and asked her if she’d heard anything. Her tear-choked gasp told me my answer.
I looked at Stacy’s Facebook page.
There it was. A message from her family, confirming the news. “Due to complications from the surgery…”
How was this possible?
Whether your religion teaches you the dead in Christ wake up sitting at his feet, or sleep until he returns, the dead person is immediately at peace. Stacy is fine. She’s either with or waiting for the Lord she loves.
But, oh. The rest of us.
This shock is too sudden. Too cruel.
I’m so glad I followed the prompting that urged me to send her that message. I’m grateful her family knew people loved Stacy and were concerned for her. How they wake up each morning and take their next breath with this sudden hole rent in the fabric of their lives, I cannot fathom.
So, back to the cliché … don’t take life for granted. Tell the people in your life you love them. Make the extra effort to spend time with your friends and family, even if it’s not particularly convenient for you. Tomorrow is not guaranteed for any of us.
And Stacy, please save us a seat. We’ll see you again one day.
12 Replies to “So hard to say goodbye”
Thank you Paula. My heart goes out to Stacy’s family and to you in this great and unexpected loss. Our friend and neighbor will join her within two weeks and, although we’ve had time to prepare, losing someone you love is hard. I thank God for the hope we have in Him. Seems such a sudden, shocking loss is even more devastating. God be with you. And yes, tell those you love NOW!
That hope is what keeps us going. I don’t know how unbelievers make it through grief.
So sorry to hear of your sweet friends passing but a wonderful tribute to her. My sincere condolences to you. Yes we have a hole in our lives when someone leaves us but oh the peace she is glorifying in at this time.
One of the greatest gifts from God is that peace.
The very worst sort of surprise. So sorry, Paula.
Thank you. We’re all so sad and bereft.
Thank you for these encouraging words and charge to love when we can.
It’s a timeless message.
For a lovely soul. We’ll all miss her.
Wow! That is so scarey. I am so sorry for the loss of your friend. I will be praying for her family.
Thank you. I can’t stop thinking about her. It’s such a loss.