Got a text message from a friend saturday that said, “kay m– had massive stroke. not expected to live.” What? Wait a minute, did i read that right? My friend, kay, was going to die? How could that be? She’s only a few years older than me. She has kids (5, to be exact) and grandkids. She has a husband who adores her. What about her friends, her church…..? This can’t be right–kay isn’t really going to die.
But, in fact, by saturday evening my dear friend kay was home with Jesus, leaving us all standing in a daze, wondering what had just happened.
At her funeral, kay received many fine accolades–all of them deserved. My daughter says that of all the folks we know who have died, she is positive kay is in heaven with Jesus. This woman lived her life for Jesus out loud and in front of the whole world. She never flinched in her love and dedication to Him. She never backed down in the face of opposition–in fact, it made her more determined to stand. Kay was a soft-spoken, highly intelligent woman. She possessed a great amount of common sense, and an equal amount of good humor. She loved to laugh. She chose joy for her life instead of depression, and she overcame adversity on purpose.
I loved this friend of mine, and i am going to miss her. It was very strange to me to stand at the coffin, looking down on her empty body and see her so still, all of her “essence” gone. She was such a jokester, i almost expected at any moment that she’d pop up and yell, “Surprise! Fooled you!” But she didn’t. Instead, she was in heaven, worshipping in person the God she had lived for while on earth and bowing at the feet of the Savior she had trusted with her life for all those years. What a celebration they must be having!
Kay was the person who helped me learn the freedom to be me. You see, as a young woman in the new role of “pastor’s wife,” i had this picture of what i was supposed to be–you know, the picture of serenity, every hair in place, pillbox hat, white gloves, a-line skirt all smooth and perfect. I KNEW i could never live up to that idea i had, so i elected to just be ‘me.’ I wasn’t really sure how that was working, until one day, as i visited my husband at the church, kay took the time to tell me how comfortable she was around me. She told me that because i was so “real” and wasn’t afraid to share my life–warts and all–with folks, that it put them at ease; that i made them feel like they could be ‘normal’ around me and not think they had to put on a mask to hide their true beings. Those words meant so very much to me, and i thanked God for sending kay to me to share them. I will forever be beholden to her for confirming to me what it is church folk need in a pastor’s family.
Yes, i will miss my friend, kay. I’m not the only one who will.
I wrote a little poem once that went like this:
One day my life will be no more
and i wonder,
will anyone knock at my door
to mourn my passing?
Many people knocked at the door of kay’s house and many people are mourning the loss of her physical presence in their lives. At the same time, we rejoice that she is in heaven, with Jesus, and receiving her jeweled crown as a good and faithful servant.
‘Bye for now, kay. See you later. I love you.