Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Another One's Made it Home

My heart is heavy tonight as I write. Another traffic accident has claimed the life of another family member-- this time on my side of the family. My mom's first cousin, Rachel was taking her great grandson to school when a car ran the stop sign at an intersection and ended her life. She was 69. Thankfully, her great-grandson, 5, survived with bruises and seatbelt burns. Needless to say we are all in shock tonight.

Rachel was the type of person that was a nurturer. She loved to be of service to people. She loved encouraging people. Every year since my mom passed away in 2001, she has sent me and my sisters a card in memory of my Mom's birthday, which is coming up, May 23. When my sister got to Rachel's home this evening, the family showed her a piece of paper with some of Rachel's printed words that talked of her love for my mom and decision to do this for us three sisters. It was a journal entry of sorts. They said it was lying out with some other things at Rachel's home. I cried when I realized that she had brought it out as a reminder to send the cards this year. The family had no idea she had been doing this annually.

I spoke with both my sisters today and another cousin, and we talked about different things we loved and admired about Rachel. We all had the same memories of her big old purse she always carried. No matter what you needed, she could usually pull it from that purse. Ready for anything. Rachel raised six children; I suppose it was imperative to be prepared. Kerry laughed and said that she always thought that big straw purse was bottomless. Every year at the Strawberry Festival, Rachel packed drinks and snacks for all of us children. We were counted right along with her six. Most afternoons after school we congregated at her house waiting to be picked up by mom. I remember being at Rachel's home when my baby sister was born. I remember them holding the phone up to my ear and letting me hear them tell me it was a girl. I once spent three days during a snowstorm at Rachel and Neal's home, and I remember being tucked in at night with warm blankets by her -- even though I was 18 at the time.

Back when my mom was very young, she and Rachel and another cousin, Robbie, used to sing together. One song, in particular, that I remember my mom saying they sang was an old Southern gospel song, "I'm Feelin' Fine." The first thing my husband said when I got off the phone in tears this morning was, " What's that song Nanny and she used to sing? They're singing it now." My cousin Tim said nearly the same thing. He said when he and his sister talked, his sister Shelley remarked, "We know where she is. And can't you just hear Aunt Nancy sayin', "Well, here comes Rachel." Yes, Rachie and Mama are having a grand reunion. My grandmother said, "We can't question God," after she was told. (My grandmother has been through many tragedies, including outliving her husband and two of her three children, and is one of the strongest women I have ever known.)

It's hard not to question God after something like this. We can't imagine what good could come from a family losing such a precious treasure. We long to turn the clock back so we can say what we left unsaid, or just to hug them one more time. We never know from one second to the next what life will have in store for us. It is imperative that we keep our hearts and minds on our purpose, our ministry, and our God. My Aunt Ramona said that she had just seen Rachel last night at the Mother/Daughter banquet at the church. I'd like to leave you with this thought that was the theme of their banquet last night: "What Kind of Legacy are you Leaving Behind?"


Mike Goodwin said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. My prayers are with your family.
I have lost a few extended family members over the years; one of them, in a very tragic manner. It is difficult. I dread the day I might lose an immediate family member. I'm not sure how I would handle it.

I hope you all are doing okay.

Lisa said...

You and your family have my deepest sympathies, Cindy.

But you pose a good question for us all...and it is an important one for sure.

Thx for the reminder and for putting things into perspective.

May God give you comfort and may you also find comfort by memories.

Praying for your Prodigal said...

I am so sorry for this deep loss. What a beautiful tribute you have written for, clearly, a very beautiful woman!

You are so right--we never know when the last good=bye is--so we should treat each one as important. We should also strive to leave such a lasting legacy; Rachel's life continues to bless even after her death.

God Bless you and your family as you go through this time of grieving and loss. I will be praying for you all!


Delia said...

I'm terribly sorry for your loss. It's always hard losing someone that you love.

Your words are very beautiful and it's obvious that you truly cherish the memories you have of her.

I'm praying for you and your family also.

Lei said...

I'm so sorry for your loss... cyber hugs. :)

I just hope to be remembered as somebody that made people feel good...

Praying for your Prodigal said...

I just re-read the last paragraph of your post and got the full impact--WOW!


Magnolia said...

Oh wow. I am deeply sorry for your loss and for your grief. I love the stories you share about your family. You all sound like an incredible group of people with a wonderful, deep faith.

Praying for you and your loved ones!

Cindy said...

I'm so sorry to read of your loss and my prayers are with you. What a great way to pay tribute to her, with your post.

Karla said...

I'm so sorry for your loss.
It has been an honor to read of this lady who is so special to you.
The 4th paragraph gave me goosebumps. What a glorious reunion it will be!