Happy birthday, Rissa.
For weeks I have been remembering. At first, just this unsettledness. Fall breezes, fall colors, fall smells. A favorite time of year filled with so many lovely memories–why this agitation in my heart?
But you were diagnosed in September. And now, your birthday is here.
The flavor of fall has changed a bit.
I could easily focus on the bitter parts of it, the tears and pain and sorrow. I could easily wallow in all the ways I’m missing you.
But instead, I am remembering your heart. I remember your joy in living, always the first one to suggest a fun outing or a family gathering. Your love for others, your longing to help. Your willingness to get involved with people. Your passion, your calling, your pursuit of God. Your friendship and the delight of having you near.
I remember all the layers of you.
I happily gather all the memories, cherishing your life and all the days of having you here.
Even the hard days. The sick days. The dying days. Part of your story, but just a small part. Your life continues, beautiful and eternal and orchestrated by a gracious, sovereign God.
The valley of tears is ended for you, and you sit at the feet of the One who redeems and restores and rights it all.
I love you forever, Rissa. Happy birthday!