Tuesday, January 22, 2008


To Lora...

I love and miss you so much already. All day today, I've been walking around like a zombie. I felt you yesterday -- your spirit was all around me. It felt like you were dancing. But today I feel so empty. How am I supposed to speak at your funeral? I don't know what to say.

I've been listening to tapes of your voice. My favorite is when you still had a lot of energy in your voice, and we were singing "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" and you sounded so happy. A band of angels comin' after me...comin' to carry me home. I believe you are happy, now. Finally out of pain. Clear minded. Mobile. What's it like? What's heaven like? Are you watching us? If you are, can you help me give your talk? Can you help me with Heather? Can you help me not be so mean and angry?

I loved washing your hair that day for you - singing Ol' Man River and Fifteen Tons. I bet most people would be surprised with the gusto with which you can sing. I bet people would be surprised about a lot of things about you. How many people really understood you? Did any of us? I know I was often surprised by you.

I hope you can laugh loudly in heaven. You always did have this great guffaw. Your mouth open so wide -- that huge mouth! You had the biggest smile of anyone in the fam. When you died, your hands became so soft. And then they turned so pale. It was strange to see you so pale. But then, it wasn't really you anymore...by then. It was still your body, though -- your old friend. I like to think of it as your friend. Not the enemy. Not the one that caused you pain. Not the one that killed you in the end. I think it worked as hard as it could...for as long as it could...to keep you doing everything you loved: serving, helping, cleaning, working, writing, recording, singing, talking, praying, thinking, smiling. Always smiling.

Do you know that you nearly died twice before? It was just like the last time...only it didn't last as long. The first time you almost died, I couldn't take my eyes off you. I was the only one there for a long time, and I was kneeling by the side of the bed, holding your hand. I could hardly blink. And only one thought went through my mind: not yet. keep breathing. open your eyes. not yet. not yet. not yet. But a few hours later you were back and recording yourself on tape. It spilled out of you while you were still unconscious. The second time, just before Christmas, you took longer to come back. You were gone for so long, I thought for sure it was your time. I didn't want you to hang on for us. I wanted you to go, then. You'd been in so much pain. I didn't think it could get any worse.

It got worse. For days, you kept talking, but I couldn't understand you. The words wouldn't come out right. When they did, I didn't want to listen anymore. I was afraid of what you were saying. The meds made you hallucinate. You didn't know where you were. You wanted to go home. I was afraid. I couldn't stay by you anymore, I was so afraid. So afraid and so tired. So tired.

I take breaks. I take breaks just like people tell me to. I take a shower. I play racquetball. I go to the movies with Dan. I sleep at home. But it doesn't work. I'm still tired. And I'm still thinking about you, feeling guilty I'm not there because I know how much you need me. Why me? Why am I the name you'd call? Why have you always loved me so much? Even when I was little, you looked up to me. I was your hero. Why me?

Lora, I'm afraid. I'm afraid that I've failed you. I tried so hard to be there, but I couldn't - not all the way. I couldn't follow you when they took you away in the body bag. I stayed on the couch. I can't even remember what came next. Heather followed you. Heather is the one who cried for you. Not me. I didn't cry that whole day. I don't know why. Except that I still felt you there. I almost felt like you were YOU again in a way you hadn't been in a long time. I had a small smile on my face all day. I felt like I could sleep all day long. Sleep like a baby - completely at peace, completely unburdened. You weren't my burden, little one. But you were in so much pain. All kinds of pain. The physical, sharp, demanding pain that everyone knows about. And the dull, aching, tired pain that most try not to think about. I think I carry it with me. I think I felt what it was like to set it down yesterday. Both of us laid your pain at the feet of Jesus, and walked away. You left your body. I stayed with it.

But today, I keep thinking that I'm hearing you calling me. But it's the old you - the you in the bed. Not the you that is now. I wonder if you look the same. For some reason, I feel like if I saw your spirit, you would look older than I am. Like you know something I don't. Now I get to feel like your little sister.

I miss you, Lora.

Love, Marci