This has been an incredibly emotional week! On Sunday afternoon, I got a call that one of my colleagues and friends had fallen while at a friends house. I was then told that this young, vivacious 36 year old mother of 2 was on life support. Monday was a "looking down day" - no one made eye contact with others for fear that the tears would break through the dam. We received the tragically devastating news that our friend and colleague had been called home to spend eternity with Jesus. It took my breath away!!! That feeling of "this can't be happening" hit me all over again...that same feeling I had when we were told my precious Dad would not survive.
Since losing Dad, I have been consumed with my own grief and the ensuing journey through that grief but this tragedy has jolted me. All I can think about are those 2 precious boys (10 and 7). I know how difficult the loss of my Dad has been for me as an adult...I cannot even begin to fathom the depth of grief that these 2 sweet toe-haired boys will walk through. I was lucky enough to spend 46 years with my Dad and he was blessed with 73 wonderful, productive years. And still the absence of him in the physical body is almost unbearable at times. I think about the fact that this boys will have a much longer grief journey than I...they will grieve the loss of their mommy as children and then as they become adults the grief will take on a different dimension. My heart breaks for them because I know a little bit about the kind of grief they will experience.
As I have read and listened to people talk/write about Jennifer, I can't help but to begin to reflect on my life an how I'm living it. Jennifer's "dash" has been full of adventure and joy. She always flashed that dimpled smile to everyone she met. She was perky and friendly and full of life...which makes her tragic untimely death all the more difficult to wrap my mind around. As I listen to people speak lovingly about her, two things come to mind: 1) Why do we wait until people are gone or ill to tell them how much they've touched our lives? 2) How will my life be remembered by those whose paths have crossed mine?
I hope that in my 46 years and the years I have to come...that I've made (will make) an impact (however small) on someone's life (just one life). I pray that people see me as a person of integrity, with a deep abiding love for my family and friends and a spirit of joy. I realize we can't be "happy, happy, happy" all the time but I do hope that I don't have the reputation as a "Debbie Downer" or a "Negative Nelly". I'm the first to admit that there are times in my life when I've been less than pleasant. It's my desire, going forward, to be certain that I'm making the most of "the dash". Seizing the days and making them count! Loving my family and friends and bringing hope and joy to those I encounter. My Dad and Jennifer had quite a lot in common. They both lived life to the fullest and touched more lives than they or I will ever really know.
Heavenly Father, be glorified in my life. Make me an instrument of your love, joy and peace. Help me to carry out the legacy of my Dad with the same mercy, grace and generosity that he demonstrated. Provide opportunities for me to minister to Jennifer's boys. I ask you to reignite in me the fire of your Spirit...draw me near to You.
Lord, tell Jennifer that we will all watch over her sweet family and help them in any way that we can. Tell her she is missed and held dear by all who knew her. Heavenly Father, give my Dad a big ol squeeze and tell him I love him so very much. I thank You for Your mercies in disguise, Your grace sufficient and blessings in the midst of grief. Hold us all close to You as we walk this earthly journey and help us all to make the most of the "dash".
In Jesus' name, Amen
Dignity Memorial - Jennifer Niday Obituary: View Obituary for Jennifer Niday by Eternal Hills Funeral Home and Cremation, Snellville, GA
The Dash Movie