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I am a wife, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a cousin & a best friend. I am a poet, a lawyer & a survivor. I've learned that God will give you a second chance.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

I Heard the Bells

My personal Facebook newsfeed is filled with reflective posts, the year in pictures, and memories that my friends are sharing. They remind me that 2015 is coming to a close, and my own thoughts are mixed with pain as well as joy. A year ago I was spending time with my friend Linda, reading her the Christmas story from Matthew and Luke. We knew it would be her last Christmas.

In March God took her to be with Him. It was heart-wrenching. Yet I would gladly do it again. What she gave me in those few short years that we knew each other will always be with me. Her love. The way she accepted me into her home and family. She let me be with her. When we were together we were simply together. No agenda. No ulterior motivations. No mandated reason to show up. We laughed (a lot). Sometimes we cried. We cuddled. Our relationship was like no other that I’ve had. And I will always thank her for letting me in.
At the end of August we lost my cousin’s husband. As heartbroken as I was, I watched in sadness and helplessness my mother’s devastation, and my cousin’s heartache. My cousin is my older sister in many ways. Losing her husband was more than losing a cousin by marriage. He had been in our lives since we were teenagers. The hole he left behind is enormous.
I ran the “year in pictures” that Facebook offered and was struck by the number of pictures of flowers that the app generated. Each bouquet was bright and cheery. Each one celebrated a moment of joy.
This year was filled with “firsts.” The first of many holidays and events without Linda or David. But also memories of joy and love were created. We had a “girl’s weekend” of me, my sister, our cousin-sister, and my mother. Just the four of us making a casserole for dinner out of items from my mother’s pantry. Laughing. Trying to take selfies.
Going to church once a month with my mother at the church where I grew up. Opportunities of growth and learning at work. Meeting up with friends when we were in the same area. And travel. Lots and lots of travel.
I was faced with much darkness and pain this year. The heartache and brokenness of so many. Death. Disease that threatens to take friends away too soon. But there was also joy. Babies were born. Friends advanced in their careers. There were flowers in my home. I spent time with those I love most. And I have added to my collection of dear ones; friends that I cannot imagine my life without.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s civil war poem is reflective of the deep despair he felt at Christmastime, but it ends with “Then pealed the bells more loud and deep: God is not dead, nor doth He sleep: The wrong shall fail, The Right prevail, With peace on earth, good-will to men.” My wish for you is to know the depth of Peace, and the joy of Love that you found in 2015.

If you enjoy my blog and would like to follow me on Facebook, I can be found at The Reluctant Survivor. And on Twitter @relucsurvivor.


  1. I agree with Shar Wolff. Seems to me there was something about Longfellow in "Our Daily Bread" I was born in his birthplace and learned many of his poems growing up. I'll see if I can find the book of his poetry that I think I have.