There are no more texts, phone calls, emails or visits. I sit alone. Life keeps plugging along, though I’m not sure I can account for the days this week. I feel adrift. Afloat on a boat in still waters, no oars and no direction.
I wonder, have you noticed there are no more posts by one of our contributors? I wonder, do other people notice the gaping hole too? I know that through our writings and friendships, most are aware. But sometimes out of nowhere I have a thought that comes down heavy upon me. She’s gone. Dalina’s really gone.
I have no worries about my friend. I am relieved that her pain and suffering is over. The time had come. I believe she lives in freedom, now in the presence of the Lord. I can’t help but be jealous that the mystery that we together so longed for has finally been revealed to her. What is that like? My mind can’t even begin to comprehend. Dalina is on a whole new adventure.
So the hard work is now ours. We adjust to this earthly life without her. We go through all the firsts. The first evening, the first morning, the first weekend. The first church service, the first visit to her apartment, the first Thanksgiving, the first Christmas, New Year… We walk in gratitude for the time we had. The laughs we shared. (You know, the throw your head back, pound the table laugh. How I loved it!) For the ways our lives were changed because of each other. But still, we are sad.
Though time will grant us some healing, we aren’t there yet. We are here. And in this moment it’s hard to imagine life feeling full again. But again, I remember. I remember the life Dalina led. Even in the midst of great suffering, she stepped into it fully. There were times of doubt, frustration, fear and sadness. There were also times of laughter, gratitude, purpose, and simply embracing the reality of what life had given her.
Let’s not rush through the work ahead. The grief that will show up in ways we won’t even expect. We must lean into it. Each day stepping out and entering in. Desiring to live fully and in faith, just as Dalina did.