Saturday, November 2, 2013

'Til Then, My Dear Friend

I don't even know how to begin writing this post... My heart is heavy and I'm at a loss for words.

Last Thursday night, one of the most beautiful women in my life, and my dearest friend went home to be with the Lord.

Most of you know her as Jess, or simply my cousin. It was with her that I toured the countryside every Spring and Fall. Every December First for the past decade has been spent with her celebrating the arrival of the holiday season. Countless shopping trips, coffee dates, bible studies and afternoon teas...

She has always been a part of my life. 

Ever since we were little girls, all of our school holidays were spent at our Oma and Opa's. In high school, I spent every single first period spare on the payphone talking with her. In college she edited every paper of mine, and visited me on my breaks when I worked at the Starbucks across the street from her apartment. It was on her couch, by her scheming, that I had my first conversation with Ryan. Secretly we both knew then already that we would one day get married. All the while she was in bed down the hall, pretending to be asleep. At our wedding, she was my maid of honor and was there whenever I needed help adjusting to being a new wife out on my own. She was the first one we told we were expecting our boys and she spoiled them with stashes of jellybeans and toys to play with.

She has simply always been there.

She is in the middle, I'm on the right.

Her and I making French Toast for Oma with my little sister, Becki.

Her and I, right before I started dating Ryan.

Out on one of our adventures when I was pregnant with Willen.

Most of you also didn't know that she had Muscular Dystrophy. She was diagnosed with it at the age of six, and aside from her being in a chair, no one would have ever known by looking at her.

She always smiled. 

Her joy for life, and love for Christ radiated from her. It was addicting to those around her and never went unnoticed. She had learned something very important and her simple words will always stay with me.

"He is God, and I am not."

That was it. It was those words that allowed her the freedom to wake up each morning and live her life joyfully, and not caught up in her inabilities. They were her strength, and her comfort and her hope. Her life had meaning and purpose and it was for her greater good that she was were she was. And that was that.

Many of you also don't know that she wasn't only my cousin, she was also Ryan's. Here he is, the only boy at the tea party. She is front and center, and my sister in law, Rachelle, is front right. It sounds ridiculous, I know. She's had many laughs and has happily told people for years that her cousins are married. (Her dad and Ryan's dad are brothers, and her mom and my dad are brother and sister. So we share her as a mutual cousin.)

She was only thirty one, and it was so sudden I didn't even have a chance to say goodbye. Hours before we had been joking back and forth and she was only supposed to be having some tests done. 

And then she was gone.

There is only one consolation that brings comfort and hope. She is with her Savior and she has been transformed into His beautiful image. She is free from sickness, and disease and sin. She has an eternity to spend in the glory of God and until I join her, I am resting in Him, and on His promises for strength and comfort.

"She is clothed with strength and dignity; and she laughs in the face of the future."
Psalm 31:25

She won't be gone forever. One day we will meet again. And what a sweet, sweet reunion that will be. After all, we never said goodbye.


  1. I am very sorry for your loss. When one is young, the first good byes are often the most painful. "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints."

  2. I'm so sorry. Praise God this isn't the end!

  3. I just discovered your blog…and we haven't even gotten to know one another…but I am so very sorry to read of the loss of your dear cousin. Keeping her in my prayers.

  4. I am so sorry for your loss. I lost my 23 year old son just last August and know there really isn't anything else anyone can say.
    Thinking of you and your family,

  5. Thinking of you and Ryan and your families, Maria, with the sudden loss of a dear friend and cousin. Those are powerful words "He is God, and I am not". What an important reminder for so many things in life...Carey-Jane

  6. Maria you were an awesome friend to Jessica and I know that she loved to do things with you. You both carried on with normal life and because of you she enjoyed special dates for the two of you....Tea in Niagara on the Lake, Antique trips and of course all the Starbucks and McDonalds runs won't be forgotten. She was such a wonderful light and I know that you were blessed to call her friend and cousin. Your eulogy was very special and I loved looking at all the old pictures...oh the memories of vacations at Oma's and Opa's....Keep them close to your heart and you will also hold a little bit of her.....Love Mom

  7. what a precious remembrance. God bless you and your family, and may His comfort embrace you.

    1. Very beautiful tribute, Maria. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and photos. Jessica will truly be missed by all who knew and loved her. Blessings, Lily

  8. What a sad news darling...wishing you all the best this must be hard for you.....and you will meet her again once from me...x !!

  9. I am so sorry. I saw this post up on Common Ground. I don't know you but I'm praying for you now.

  10. I'm so sorry Maria...will be praying for your family. What a beautiful post about Jess!
    Sending hugs

  11. I'm so sorry for your loss. I met Jess at your Vintage Tag Sale, I bought a necklace and some earrings from her, We spent some time talking about her jewelry and paper bead making (I have made it myself and was very impressed with her work) She truly was a beautiful soul. I will cherish her pieces even more. She will always be with you, in your heart, in your thoughts and in the things she left behind.

  12. I am so sorry for your loss. I know what it is to loose someone you love so much. God is near you all and He will comfort you! Trust Him.


Thanks for leaving your comments! I always love reading them. - Maria