Today Jaime would have turned 31. She would have gone on and on about how “old” she was and how quickly life was passing her by. I know this is true because she started saying these things when she turned 21! She once feared gray hair and the regret of not accomplishing everything on her physical and mental to-do list. Those fears and so many others quickly faded as she valiantly battled through her cancer.
Over the past couple weeks I have had several personal battles of my own. And it’s been “amazing” that even in the most frustrating, difficult moments, I immediately think back to the journey we took – and how we responded to the crisis we believed at times would take us out. And it’s when I thought back to my anger with God and the feeling that He had completely abandoned my family, that I see these new challenges as my “2nd chance” –to view these current bumps in the road as an opportunity to lean in and on the God who proved Himself faithful to Jaime and me (and to you!).
This is what Jaime understood her final months to be –an opportunity to demonstrate that even if she was to die, she was going to leave encouraging others through her humility and thankful heart. It was difficult for me to be perpetually upset about a lack of money for bills when my wife, who couldn’t walk, go to the bathroom unassisted, or even count back change, would smile big when people would come and sit to talk with her or leave messages to her on her Facebook page. There would be times when I would wake up in the middle of the night, think about how “horrible” everything was, and there was Jaime, awake, pecking at her laptop, sharing encouragement and thanks through her blog. That’s what I have been thinking about these days and weeks.
On my way to work a few days ago, I began to just find things I could thank God for. Even in mentioning struggles, I was able to honestly thank God for His taking care of Felicity and me and seeing us through the present storms. Friends, Jaime got it! She could have sat around and complained about the obvious and about many other things you will never know that she struggled with, but she didn’t. It doesn’t take cancer and death to understand the power of praise, though. You and I want everything to be our definition of perfect. If God is good than He should ensure that the story is always written in our favor. How self-centered and ignorant we can be! His own Son endured far worse experiences than you and I will ever face and in the midst of His Gethsemane Jesus was praying for His friends and thanking His Father. Even from the sight of His execution, Jesus forgave – not once did we hear Him complaining about His circumstances.
Sure, it hurts deeply that Jaime is not here to celebrate her birthday. Someone asked me the other day if it was getting any easier now that we are coming up on Jaime being gone 2 years. I told them that her loss is a lot like a perpetual bruise. I find that when I am focused on work or spending time with Felicity, I tend not to notice the loss as much. Then, I bump the bruise the wrong way (memories, smells, inside jokes, special dates, etc.) and I am reminded how I got the bruise in the first place. Taking my own counsel, however, I thank God that Jaime is whole and in the presence of God. I thank God that in 29 years, Jaime was able to accomplish so much against so many human odds, and inspire so many to pursue their own goals. And I thank God that even in the most difficult days of her life, including her final days, she chose to focus on and tell of the goodness of God, instead of her momentary afflictions.
Jaime, we celebrate your life. We painfully hurt because you are not here. We thank God for the promise of a beautiful reunion to come. Thank you for so many memories to tide us over until we sit and talk again face-to-face.
-Love You, Lady