The light and that cactus flower

Death is hard. It’s hard for the family and the friends. In America, death is hard. To some people death is fascinating. It’s full of questions with no answers. In some cultures death means that the soul is finally free and this is a cause for celebrating.

On Wednesday a friend of my family died early in the morning. Her name was Trish. My day at work after finding out was with my head under the water. Nobody noticed that I was moving slower. It felt like I was trying to run on the beach but I wasn’t going anywhere fast enough. It felt like I was just walking when I was trying to run. I was thankful I didn’t have to talk to anyone, and at the same time I was in disbelief.

On Tuesday I was on a sort of emotional high. I was excited about learning how to “bag” (literally putting food on a tray or in a bag) for register and drive thru and I didn’t have to talk to people too much that day because I was running food out and washing trays, and it had rained the night before. At one point I was the one on the drive-thru window (I’m the warm sunny face you see when you pay in the drive-thru NOT the person you talk to at the speaker box). These are all my favorite jobs, just stuff I can “zone out to”, in a sense. That night I was told she wouldn’t make it through the night.

Just a month or two before, which feels like forever ago,  I was told the cancer had spread to her liver. I was in disbelief then, and I’m in disbelief now.

I didn’t know Trish like most people knew her but the common experience I had was that she just had this light about her. When you met her and she smiled then you did too. She could shine even in people’s darkest hours. Like moths, people flocked to see her, you wanted to be around her. She was funny. She wasn’t afraid to make fun of herself. She didn’t seem afraid to do anything. Even better, she saw beauty in all of God’s creations.

I used to see facebook posts about her cactus flower. I LOVE the smell of a cactus flower. If you’ve ever smelled it you know it smells like perfume but it smells different too. It could be a strong smell but it would never overpower you. I miss the cactus flowers. Anyway, I always loved seeing these posts from her.

In the past 4 days I’ve been feeling like I’m caught in a dream. I don’t think I’ve fully accepted that she’s gone. Even after today it doesn’t feel real. I still get on facebook and I still expect to see the pictures of the cactus flowers.

I’ll end with something she said that stuck with me all day today: When she was asked why her faith hadn’t changed, even after knowing that the battle would end in death, she answered, “I know His (God’s) character. I have faith in His character. He never changes. Why would my faith change?”

She’s right. God never changes. God never strays. The only thing that changes is us and our faith in God and our faith in His love.

Trish knew how to live life. She was a woman of God. She was an amazing woman who rarely feared the lion’s den. I wish I knew her better than I do. More importantly, I wish there were more women like her.

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.” John 1:5 NLT

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