A great friend of mine I went to high school with, died two years ago today. It was a Thursday night, we had just gone to the MTSU library and dinners at OleCharlies then she was headed to the football game. It was a rainy day and she lost control of her car, was flung out, the car flipped on top of her, she was killed instantly, Everyone gathered at the school library that night. It is a tragic night I will never forget, and do not want anyone to experience. One of the worst nights, and weeks of my life.
Since then, I have learned some things:
1. There isn’t really a right or wrong way to grieve. No rulebook exists. I remember finding myself arms crossed, observing, not crying.Then I realize, I’m standing with all the guys… looking at all the girls sobbing in the middle. Maybe I should try this crying thing? I did. I don’t really know if it helped. I have learned nothing is wrong with me, if I don’t cry. I am still a girl, my women hood is not ripped from me. However, I am also still a strong human, even when I cry. Have a healthy perspective on tears. Let yourself feel.
2. God can handle you. Your anger. Your tears. Your questions. Be honest with him. Be honest with yourself & others. I remember saying I’m not mad at God, but I wanted to know What’s next? What now? I think it was true that I was not mad, but I was hurt. I felt really hurt and I blamed it on God. But, because I felt guilty or shameful for that. I was never honest and it just slowly calloused my relationship with God. So. Be Honest with God. It’s worth it.
3. Although yes… The 27ths of months are iconic & for some the worst day. I still have random moments that are harder. That’s okay. I have never been to her grave since the day we buried her. I do not think I will for quite some time. Other friends have been there often. That’s okay. I still call her number randomly to hear her voice mail. I write short and sweet FB posts. Her mom posts long ones and the Noelle paints every sunset. Everyone grieves differently. Have grace for yourself, have grace for one another.
4. I expected Noelle dieing to just bring so many people to reality, and in that reality people would meet God. That was my hope! They would leave partying, yada yada, and realize there is more to life. That looking in a casket of our friend, that we saw living and laughing yesterday would make us stop. Then they would meet Jesus! That would give meaning to Noelle’s death. Then there would be purpose. But guess what, that did not happen. Her death did not cause a revival of our senior class. In fact, I do not even think it caused any one to come to the Lord. I do know it caused some serious heartbreak and maybe pulled some further. I do not know why Noelle had to die at such a youthful and young age with dreams of college, teaching, and a family ahead. But, I do know. God does not waste anything. Although I didn’t see tangible salvation results… God does not waste the evil that happens in this world. Through Noelle’s death, I grew a whole heck of a lot. I could have sat in it for years, however, I gave it to God. Lies that I believed about God, have now been revealed through sweet and great truths.
5. Life is a precious, valuable gift. Do not ever, take it for granted. I remember watching the cars leave the football game that… I realized they had absolutely NO idea what was going on. The world just kept going without her, even when my world was completely paralyzed. I could not do a thing. I planned a candle vigil for Noelle…. There is still candle wax on my gloves from that night. But really what did that do? Afterwards, we all drank hot chocolate and laughed again. Life. Goes. On. There is a choice whether to join again or not. I wanted to fix it, change things so badly. But I could not. There was nothing I could do. I think that place is often the worst. I want to be okay with that, and remember. sometimes. you cant do anything. Sometimes, my world will stop. But, keep on going.
6. Through this process. I learned one of my favorite questions… My pastor asked me…”Anna, if God could do a miracle in our life what would it be?” My answer.. not that Noelle would come back, or that she had not died… But that God could give me a literal hug. A sweet, strong, patient hug. I look back and see the times he tried to hug me but I refused. I see the people he put in my life that I could have leaned on. But, I would not accept it. I am now still learning to experiencing this hug, 2 years later. To allow Him to love me. To believe that he loves me. Even with my questions, doubts, and hurts. Even with the lies I have believed about him.
I have some learned some other things, I could organize these thoughts much better, I plan on sharing/tweeking later, but for now… That is it.
Noelle and I at our homecoming game a few weeks before when I was on court. Goodness, she was such a treasure. I am so thankful for this picture. Noelle wanted to be a teacher. She was and is a teacher. She has taught me a lot and is teaching me a lot. You are missed. You are loved.