How do you say goodbye?

It’s been a long year. For many reasons. But the main reason being with my friend, Jannetta, during her fight with cancer. She lost that fight on January 27th. Even as I type these words they are so hard to comprehend. I’ve been friends with Jane for 9 years and have been their family photographer all of this time. I have loved watching her kids grow up and I’ve loved getting to know Jane on a level that is not reached with most friendships. Jane was sweet and kind. She LOVED her kids and husband more than anything in this world. And it wasn’t that she just said “I love you”, she showed it. In the way she talked to them and treated them.

I’m not a religious person. I love God and I have a relationship with Him. It’s not a religion or thought that comes to mind when things are difficult. It’s a relationship where I ask, “Why”? I look at those 3 amazing kids and wonder how they will ever know how much she adored each of them. In the next breath though, I remember that I KNOW how much she loved them and I’ll remind them throughout their lives of her love for them. No one has a perfect life. No one. Certainly not me. I am slowly learning that God is with us and knows the extent of our hurt even more than we do.

My mom had a play at her church during Christmas and these were some of the lines…..

MAGGIE:

“Nathan, a lot of things are going to be happening over the next few weeks. And a lot of it might be confusing to you.”

NATHAN: You mean about school, Mamma?

MAGGIE:” No, not about school. Nathan, one day when you’re older you might want to blame God for making me sick, but I don’t want you to do that. I want you to always know that God didn’t make me sick; He helped me through this sickness. He gave me the strength to play with you and He held me on my really horrible days.
In a little while, you may hear grown-ups say things like, “Isn’t it a pity? God took her so young.” But they’re wrong, Nathan. They’re wrong, and I don’t want you to listen to them.
When they say things like that, I want you to remember what I’m telling you now. God didn’t take me, He received me.”

NATHAN: ” You mean in heaven, Mamma?”

MAGGIE: ” Yes, sweetie, in heaven.”

NATHAN: ” God’s going to take you to heaven?”

MAGGIE: “No. He’s not going to take me, Nathan. He’s going to open His arms and receive me. There’s a big difference, and I always want you to remember that.”

So in the middle of my grief, I’m still asking God to help me and that precious family. I’m writing this to tell you too that God knows where you are. He knows your pain. He knows my pain. And HE promises to never leave us or forsake us.

Here is my very favorite picture I ever took of Jannetta.  It makes me smile to look at it.  It was her real, honest to goodness, from the heart smile.  And I’ll never forget it…………..ever.

Psalm 147:3 “He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds.”

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