A part of me just wants to ignore what happened and not write about it, to just move on and write a treatise on the helpfulness of belt loops or tell the tale of how the Great House Shoe Caper was solved, but I owe Nancy more than that.
Last Thursday, I got an e-mail saying that one of the girls from my Cornerstones group was in the hospital and asking us to pray for her. I prayed all day Thursday whenever I stopped to pray. I prayed Thursday night, and I prayed Friday morning. I guess I didn’t think much about it; I thought she’d be fine.
In chapel Friday morning, the chaplain got up to make an announcement. I thought he was going to ask everyone to pray for Nancy to get better. Instead, he asked everyone to pray for Nancy’s family—Nancy had died early that morning.
When I heard, I just couldn’t stop crying. I cried from chapel ‘til lunch. I thought to myself, “I didn’t know her well enough to warrant being this sad,” but when I thought about it, I realized that I had known her better than I had thought. Out of all the girls in my Cornerstones group who didn’t become either my roommate, floormate, or best friend, Nancy was the one I knew the best. She was the sweetest, most joyful and excited, beautiful girl.
Friday afternoon, everything seemed unreal. I had entered that blissful stage of grieving when everything remains strangely blurred. I wanted to cry Friday night, but I couldn’t. Everything stayed so unreal and so blurred all of Saturday until the sun went down, the lights went out, and it was time for bed. Then it really hit me. Nancy was dead. I’d never see her again. No one would. Not here on earth anyway. I cried myself to sleep. I went with Shawna to church Sunday. I needed a good friend, and I needed someone who hadn’t really known Nancy. Someone to be strong while I cried. I cried all of Sunday until supper.
Today, I went to Nancy’s funeral. It was very good. Her uncle from Honduras spoke in Spanish, which was translated, but I understood enough of the Spanish to understand. It was very meaningful and moving in Spanish. I cried more for the people who missed Nancy than I cried because she was dead.
When things like this happen, people often ask why. I didn’t. I know Nancy’s happier in heaven. I know that she’s finally getting to do what she so longed to do. She’s using her beautiful voice to sing for God’s glory.
Even though I didn’t know Nancy intimately well, she was my friend, and I’m really going to miss her.
I’m glad I went to the funeral because I feel like the time of constant grieving is over. All weekend, even when I was so weary that I couldn’t even remember why I was crying, my body knew I was grieving and kept the tears coming. But now, now it feels like it’s okay not to cry.
I’ve never known someone so close to me and so young that died. I suppose this is the beginning and I should get used to it. It’s not something you can get used to. It’s a strange experience. I miss Nancy and what a wonderful person she was. I miss hearing her gasp and start crying every time I played Lord of the Rings. I miss hearing her get so excited. I’ll even miss the way she asked me in a slightly horrified voice if I really heard voices. But I think what I’ll miss the most is that I’ll never have the chance to go with her to Honduras to help her with her Opera house, like she had invited me to. I miss Nancy, but I’m glad she’s gone. Not that she left, but that she went home. Someday, I hope everyone who reads this will be able to meet Nancy in heaven and hear her sing. I hope to see all of you again one day when we’re praising our Savior forevermore. For all of you who knew Nancy, I’m sorry that we lost her, and I pray God gives you peace. For those of you who didn’t know Nancy, I’m sorry that you didn’t get to know her and the joy she had. I pray that someday you’ll meet someone with such a vibrant spirit who will challenge you to life by the way she lives.
Her name was Nancy, and she was my friend
~~In Memory of Nancy, December 29, 1986-April 8, 2005~~