i had not seen her in over twenty years, but there she was on the other side of the flat glass of my living room television. Who knows what features of a sixteen year old still lie in the face of a woman strung taut with grief? There was the square jaw in a thin face, the dark, thick lashes, and a distinct set of eyes that set her apart from other blond, thin, lovely women in their forties. That night, looking at the TV i couldn't be sure; I couldn't even attach a name. But i could remember a kindness; i was remembering those eyes must be blue, though now shuttered with grief and thick, black lashes.
She had been a sophomore in my English lit classes. She had looked me up one time, several years later, when she had decided to become a teacher, and she had visited me in my home. Gracious and kind and always laughing and smiling.
This morning i remembered her name is Grace.
The photos tell me Grace went on to marry a kind faced man and had five beautiful blond children, and her oldest daughter set goals and achieved them. An accomplished swimmer, she had chosen to run the the shamrock half marathon in Virginia Beach. Photos tell me that she had Grace's gentle, laughing smile. The stories tells us that she had asked the priest a few weeks ago, "Father, what does a blessing do?" and she smiled a smile he would remember when he answered, "It wraps us in God's love."
Grace buried her sixteen year old daughter yesterday, the sod falling on the coffin of her first born as spring arrived in its first hour. At mile twelve, her friend tells us that this daughter of Grace, known for her endurance, had encouraged her, "Let's finish this." After crossing the finish line, Grace's daughter hugged her friend and then collapsed.
Grace's husband, holding Grace's hand, tells us that their daughter still lives.
There is a Resurrection.
i pray that in the wee hours of every morning for the rest of her life, Grace believes, that she will say, "Let's finish this," and rises again . . .
inspired by her daughter. . .
"For I am already being poured out as a drink offering,
and the time of my departure has come. . .
I have fought the good fight,
I have finished the race,
I have kept the faith."
~2 Timothy 4:7