When Memories Are All We Have Left

Life can change in an instant. 
Two weeks ago I was thinking about Cheryl, and how I should text her to find out how she's doing, and beg her to come east for the family reunion this summer. It had been years since I saw her, and I had yet to meet her husband and toddler son. She was due four weeks before the get-together. Surely she would be up for an 18-hour road trip with a newborn.
Growing up we were extremely close, but many miles separated us. Life took us to different parts of the country and across oceans. When she married, I was living in Jamaica. And when I got married circumstances interfered and she wasn't able to be there. But we still kept in contact - She was the type of person who, even after long spans of time apart, I could connect with as though we had talked just days ago. She was a kindred spirit.
But I was busy at the moment, and the text was forgotten.
Now, I would give anything to turn back time and send that text. But it's too late.
I met her husband and precious toddler son. We embraced each other, tears flowing, as we stood next to the coffin holding Cheryl and her newborn boy. There is no words at a time like that. Nothing can make it seem okay or dull the pain. How can life possibly go on when all we have left are the memories? 
The past week has been incredibly hard. I feel like I'm gasping for air, desperate to breath again. By now I should be a pro at facing death, as though there is a 6-step plan to grief and after it's complete I just move on. But as multiple people have told me, grief is hard work. Exhausting. Draining. You never completely heal. And I know what Jason is feeling is a hundred times stronger than what I feel. I can't comprehend it.
How do you move on after something like this happens? It feels irreverent in a way to go on with life. Yet, that is what Cheryl would want. She was so full of life and joy. All I have left of her are sweet memories and albums filled with photos. And for all of those memories, I am thankful. 
Yes, the past was incredibly hard, and to be honest, it feels like I am only now starting to grieve. But I've been wrapped in prayers and love from friends near and far, and I've felt it. Thank you.
Life is so precious, don't take it for granted. 


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