This week we celebrated as a family the anniversary of the going home of my precious sister. On this day, four years ago, my only sister stepped into eternity. We celebrated her life by going to an American restaurant, eating chocolate cake and sharing memories that reminded us all what a precious gift she was, just as we have done the past four years on December 16th.
Below is the post from my old blog that I wrote on the year anniversary of her death.
Today is December 16th 2010, a harrowing reminder of December 16th 2009, the day my only sister was tragically killed in a two car accident.
It was a year ago, but I still remember the exact gift I was wrapping when my cell phone rang. I still remember tearing open the front door, leaving my children alone as I sprinted across the cul-de-sac to find my friend for help. I still can see the flashing red and blue lights as we approached the scene of the accident. I still can hear the unrecognizable sound of weeping that filled my parent’s home. I still can see the innocent faces of my sister’s children as I rounded the corner of the hospital room. And I can still vividly remember the first time I talked to my husband who was in Central Asia at the time of the accident.
The memories of that day are vivid and often times agonizing.
If I’m not careful, I will replay the events of December 16th over and over in my mind and allow the difficult circumstances surrounding my sister’s death to completely rob me of my joy in Jesus Christ.
The reality is, Mandy is not dead. Now before you tell me I’m completely insane, read John 11:25-26…Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” In the next verse Martha, a friend of Jesus, replies, “Yes Lord!”
In light of this promise from the Son of God, I was determined not to let this day be marked with sorrow. I wanted this day to be a day of celebration because the truth is my sister is experiencing fullness of joy in the presence of her Savior and Lord. You see, when Jesus asked her over 10 years ago the same question, “Do you believe this?” she also replied with, “Yes, Lord.” And because of her faith in Jesus Christ she is in many ways more alive than I am or any of you reading this right now.
I rose early this morning only to find an encouraging letter that my dear husband had written and left for me. His words blessed me so much and what he said reminded me of the many times he held me earlier this year when I could not find the strength to even stand. I do not have the words to express how grateful I am for the blessing God has given me in him. His letter this morning was a great start to a day that would be focused on celebration and not tragedy.
My husband preached her funeral last year so with the letter he had written he also included a printout of the sermon notes. I don’t remember much from the funeral so it was like I read it for the first time. In his notes he cited passages like Psalm 46 and Isaiah 40:27-31, which served as sweet reminders of God’s promises.
Throughout the day I was overwhelmed by the number of you that expressed your prayers and support. I received hugs, emails, FB messages, texts and words of encouragement. Each of those acts of love and kindness helped me to celebrate today for what it truly is.
Tonight we decided to start a new tradition. We loaded up the boys and went to one of my sister’s favorite restaurants…the Melting Pot. Due to the fact that it’s not a “family friendly” establishment, we decided to just get dessert.
We spent our time remembering all of the wonderful things about my Mandy, sharing our favorite memories and consuming way too much chocolate. (Which is exactly what she would have done.) Brooks was unable to share his favorite Mandy story due to his inability to speak intelligible words, but he sure did partake in the chocolate…Needless to say, we had a blast!
So, despite the fact that I’ve cried more than my share of tears for today AND that I miss my big sister more than I can put into words we’ve decided that each year when December 16th rolls around we will not wallow in our despair. Instead, we will celebrate my sister’s life that continues on today in the presence of God!