This morning while doing my daily scripture writing, we were in the book of Ruth, chapter one.
The verses were 16 and 17: But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. 17 Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me,”
Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Many times Tiffany would say, I’m sure you are tired of me and my crazy life full of trials and “you cant make this up” moments. She would apologize like she could control what would happen to her and her family. She would apologize for her illness and her deafness. She embraced them both but in moments of weakness, she wished she was a “normal” person. She was such a fascinating and unique person, that’s part of the reason I was drawn to her and loved her so much. I would always reassure her that I loved her, her uniqueness, and that I wasn’t going anywhere; over and over I would reassure her. I know it was her illness talking, the bipolar monster that ate away at her day after day after day. Never fully leaving her alone.
Even though there was a great distance in our homes because of our relocation, her in VA and I in NC, we still talked and talked on a regular basis and every time we were together we spent hours and hours sharing and re-sharing what had happened since the last time we were together.
Usually the morning after getting into town we would go have breakfast together, breakfast usually lasted 2-3 hours, oftentimes more. She would always get french toast, or raisin toast if they had it, grits and eggs. Coffee with a cup of milk and a glass of water. One morning in particular at Koffee Kup I remember teasing her because she wouldn’t drink the water without a straw. I questioned her and she said, “well the glass might be dirty or something.” I reminded her we drank the coffee without a straw and we are just fine. We had a good laugh about that!
Where you go, I will go. Tiffany loved being outdoors and didn’t mind getting really dirty. I love the outdoors too but I am a little more OCD than her and sitting in a stall of pigs is not my cup of tea but she would do it every chance she got. I would cautiously stand at the door, admire the cute pigs, and watched my step as we left. We both loved to go fishing but she was the one to bait the hook, I have a crazy fear of fish hooks and getting one stuck in me. One time at the pond, she found a huge bullfrog and even posed with it.
Your people will be my people…Tiffany’s family became my family also, sharing many times together. Her deaf church family also became my family. I was privileged to be welcomed by all of them when I attended different events with her. We surprised her with a baby shower for Karoline, held get togethers at her home with cheap cappuccinos, had a painting party where we painted peacocks, and even after her death we fellowshipped many times.
Your God my God…she always encouraged me by leading me closer and closer to Jesus. All that she did, she did with great love and grace. She made me want to be a better follower of Jesus. She spurred me on and was constantly asking me. “how can I pray for you?” She gave me a lovely peach colored journal just before she left for her last deaf ladies retreat in October 2016. The cover simply stated, “Live a great story.” She wrote a sweet heart felt note in the front of the journal to get me started. “Who knew my friendship with you would grow so much. I am so thankful for this God ordained, awesome, so strong friend. You point me to Jesus over and over and over again.” That’s exactly how I feel about her. My so strong, Jesus loving, awesome friend. She certainly lived a great story that continues even now, after her passing.
May the Lord deal with me ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me…
Well our story ends in death. Death way too soon for this fragile and desperate heart. Tiffany took her own life and left this earth on the early morning of April 22nd, 2017. To be absent of the body, is to be present with the Lord. 2 Corinthians 5:1-10. That is the promise I am clinging to. She is with Jesus in heaven now. We called each other, best friends this side of heaven. My best friend is now in heaven and I am still here missing her so very greatly. We had a running joke, “don’t beat me to Jesus,” when we were saying our goodbyes until the next time we met. Well, she beat me and I guess the competitive spirit in me is mad because she won so soon! We didn’t have to chance to grow old together. See our children graduate, get married and start families of their own. Never had to chance to take beach vacations together, or enjoy the deck with a another nice cup of coffee.
It has been five weeks since she left us. Seems like a small eternity without my girl. My phone is so quiet these days without her texts, pictures, and Facebook tags.
Life is not easy without my friend. Life hurts right now. She was my person, my go to girl! She was the best friend a girl could ask for and I tried my best to be that for her as well. Grief and loss is a strange and complicated thing. I don’t like it one bit. But I have to constantly and continuously remind myself, Tiffany is healed now. She is with her maker now. She is whole now. She fought the good fight, she finished the race. I will see her again one day! God will restore me, He will sustain me, and He will never leave me. I believe that with my whole heart because His word is true and alive!
1 Timothy 6:11-12: But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.