Monday, April 28, 2014

A Death in the Family

This morning started with a message from 5:23am. It said something to the effect of, "Something really bad happened. Call me before you check social media." Panic.There was only one thing that that could be about... only one main mutual friend... "Dear God, no. NO! I just talked to them yesterday. I just heard that gentle voice come over the phone reassuring me it would be ok."  Now I couldn't even remember what it was that was bothering me the day before. Just the voice murmuring soft reassurances they'd murmured a thousand times before.

Look at the clock. 3 minutes. Of borrowed time.

No time to call. Just enough time before I had to go to check social media. Brace yourself for the inevitable.  But how can you brace yourself for what you don't even know?

It didn't hit home at first. The message was vague. It sounded like everyone was alive. But there was nothing vague about the second one.

I was right. I wish I had been wrong.  There was a death. Three to be exact. Just not the one I was expecting.  A CollegePlus family in Arkansas suffered tremendously by the tornado. Their home was demolished, killing 3 members of their family - Dad and two daughters.

and then.... it hit home

In the picture was Whitney. Whitney who joined CP about the same time I did, the girl I'd chatted with many times in those early days on chat. The one that took the same somewhat obscure class I had and given me tips on the test. The fellow "brilliant blondie" who wanted to be a writer like me. And there was the profile pic with her hugging her dad. It was the same exact pose of me and my dad on my birthday... The final straw? The sister spelled her name the same way my sister does - with a k.

And as Whitney reminded us to hug our daddys, the blow hit home.... Life is short and fleeting. There isn't time for angry words or selfish pining. There isn't room for anything but living. God apparently got the message when I kept humming "Hello Lord." Over the weekend the same message again and again. But today it really came home. Rebekah Tittle's last Skype message was in answer to "Are you there?" to which she replied "I am." Within 2-3 hours her sister was posting that she was dead.

Tears brim in my eyes as I watch the CP community be ripped apart and come back together. CPers have always called themselves a family. This isn't our first death... but it's the first for our generation. Following on the heels of a very happy engagement, it's not easy But once again we come together - stronger, more courageous, more mature than we were before. I encourage us all to do something now. If you can, give. Several CPers are discussing going to help. For more details on this, feel free to contact me and I can put you in touch with the people heading this up.

Lastly, I issue a challenge to us all: Every time you see a post, an "in memory," or a prayer request, stop right there and then and send up a prayer. With the way social media is flooded right now, if each of us did this than it would be more prayers than we could count.

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