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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Anniversary (04/11/05)

By Leslie Lamb


“I do.”

When you think of an anniversary it brings about feelings of joy and a sense of accomplishment. But, there is another type of anniversary that weighs heavily on my mind. It is the anniversary of my dear friend’s death. It was a moment that all time stood still for me, a moment when the salt of my tears were like salve to my hurting heart, a moment when I doubted God’s sovereign will.
I was pregnant with my first child and anticipating a celebration of life when her life ended. To say that her death was a mystery to me would be a tragic understatement. She and I were soul kin, the kind of friends that distance could never separate and love could never be quenched. She was my prayer confidant and my life line when there was little line left. The day I got the call, I knew something wasn’t right. I felt sick and tired from the moment that I woke up. I could barely find the energy to get out of bed, and I didn’t know anything yet. I say I didn’t know anything, but my spirit new, my soul new that its partner was missing. I could barely hold the phone as the words made there way across the lines, “She is on life support until Shawn can get here, but she is gone.” I begged God to wake me up! This nightmare had to end. My friend was fine; she was planning a wedding and smiling and laughing like always. She was not fighting death in a cold hospital!
Not many hours later I would learn that she was indeed gone, even the machine used to keep her lungs working had been rejected. God had indeed taken her home. I clutched at the child inside me, seeking to gain some comfort, “Maybe she is here in this womb!” No matter how incredibly stupid and blasphemous that sounded, I wanted so desperately for it to be true. My hand traced the same belly that she had caressed just weeks before, and my heart screamed in my ears, “Too soon. Too soon!”
The next couple of days walked through me without a cognitive thought consisting of anything outside of her. My dear husband longed to heal my pain and touch my sorrow to wipe away the tears, but there was little he could do. I attended the wake begging myself not to look, but my love would not let me walk by but instead forced me to take in her beauty once more, a beauty that was nothing more than hollow cheeks and dimpled lips. She was gone. The body lying there possessed none of the qualities that had made up my dear friend. It might has well have been a log of wood in a pink linen suit for what it resembled of her. The funeral was sweet, a celebration of twenty-three years of life, and a reunion of lost friends. We had all gathered around the one person that had brought us all together in one wild adventure of life, a life that for us was not yet over. I had to force myself to remember that. The soft strings played “Amazing Love” as I remembered all that she had been to me. I allowed God to wipe my tears as I lifted my hands up to Him in a desperate attempt to reach out to her. As I closed my eyes, I heard every word of encouragement that she ever spoke to me and relived every answered prayer that we had prayed. She was at home with her Father, the Love of her life, the Keeper of her soul. She was not just my friend; she was His child, and had it not been for his love and provision in my life, we would never have met. As the song still played I lifted my arms anew and sang at the top of my lungs, “I do! In all I do, I honor you!”
It has been four years since that chapter of my life closed. Every time I look into my sweet daughters eyes, I picture my sweet Aimee and the legacy that she left behind. I remember the night that she prayed for this child, and I pray that every blessing she wished for her will come to pass. It is an anniversary of life for me now, not one of death, because through the loss of a friend I came to truly feel the love and compassion of God. Just as she spent her whole life in honor of God, I pledged to honor God with my whole life and those of my children. I know that is what she would have wanted!

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Member Comments
Member Date
Lynne Gaunt04/19/05
Sharing these heart-wrenching memories of your dear friend will surely help to heal your heart and to heal the hearts of others who have experienced similar loss. You are courageous to write so openly. Thanks for sharing your work.
darlene hight04/21/05
This is a beautiful and powerful testimony! I thank God for your friend and the love that you shared. Keep sharing eternal life, my friend :)
Deborah Porter 04/26/05
Leslie, you are a very good writer. This was a very strong piece and I encourage you to keep entering the Challenge. The most important thing, don't be discouraged. Unfortunately, because this was your first Challeng entry, you may not have seen the note in the guidelines about word count limits. It's a minimum of 150 words and a maximum of 750. "I Do" came in at 792 words, so had to be disqualified. Don't feel bad about it - you aren't the first person to make that mistake. I just want to encourage you to keep writing and rising to the Challenge. With love, Deb (Challenge Coordinator)