For more than six years, Janiver Brown of Napa, Ca. fought valiantly, but unsuccessfully, against the cancer that had invaded her body. A few days ago, this extraordinary woman slipped from her earthly form, as her rare and splendid spirit settled surely into the hands of God.
Bethany is one of her daughters, a brilliant young woman who last year graduated Summa Cum Laude from Sacramento State University. At one of the places where she writes, I came across this elegant piece, and after communicating with her was given permission to post it here on my blog. I offer this as a tribute to both Janiver Brown and her daughter Bethany who wrote these moving words.
This did not strike from the darkness.
It was not a shock.
It’s like watching a slow motion punch coming at your face.
You can see it coming;
You know it’s coming;
And yet when it connects it doesn’t hurt any less for that knowledge.
And hurt it does.
She’s with God.
My head knows that,
Yet my heart grieves.
We were prepared,
And yet we weren’t,
For who can prepare for something like this?
It is impossible:
It strikes at our core,
The part of us that denies reality,
That says, “it will never happen,”
While our surface thoughts pretend that we knew it would happen all along.
And as it strikes that core,
A little part of us is torn away.
The part that became intertwined,
That person’s life.
And that little part can never be replaced.
Scar tissue will cover it,
Scar tissue will mask its removal,
Scar tissue will hide the hole,
Even as scar tissue boldly declares the absence of the original.
It staggers you.
It affects your entire body;
Not just your emotional well-being,
Your spiritual, your physical, your mental well-being.
It makes you want to curl up in a corner
And cry and cry and cry
Until no more tears will come,
Until the tears wash away the pain and the sorrow,
Until the tears wash away the grief and the anguish,
Until the tears wash away the gaping hole.
But they can never wash it all away.
If the pain, the sorrow, the grief, the anguish ever totally disappeared
Then the memory would be gone.
And that is the last thing that holds them to us.
The pain, the sorrow, the grief, the anguish will fade,
But God forbid they vanish.
They will ebb,
But God forbid they disappear.
Life becomes meaningless.
Reality becomes a joke.
For how can one go on when one is only partly there?
How can one laugh when the source of laughter has departed?
How can one continue a regular existence when existence has lost its life?
Only God knows.
Carrying on, trying to fill the hole, looking to God for mercy and strength,
Trying not to feel,
Never daring to hope to heal,
As the world spins around us
A mockery of what it was.
Bland and colorless,
Threatening to leave us behind
If we cannot keep up.
The world never understands.
We can only trust and follow
When trusting and following are hardest;
Accepting His will
When we don’t understand;
Believing His word
When it isn’t what we want to hear;
And try to rest in His assurance
When rest is the hardest.
We are following in the dark
Searching for the light
And committing ourselves to His everlasting care.
And always praying that we too,
Like those who have gone before us,
Shall see Him in His glory
And His power,
Surrounded by those who have lived faithfully and righteously—
And those who have left us to see Him—
This is our hope
And this hope is enough