Death is unfair. Unexpected death is cruel.
It has been nearly 3 months since Casey had to leave.
It was a Monday. It was cold and damp. I was angry when she left. I felt sullen and confused, hopeless and stormy. Why her? Why not me? Why are we given such precious people, but have no way of knowing when they have to leave? The truth is, we always think there’s time. I didn’t get a chance to tell her how much I adored her. How proud I am for the beauty she created. For being an exquisite mother, wife, daughter, sister, and friend. I am proud of her work. I am proud of her passion to help others and her acceptance of all people. I hope she can hear me in my dreams (she’s very busy, you know. Lots to do, lots of people to visit).
I first met Casey in middle school. Day after day, we’d spend our afternoons on the bus giggling and sharing stories. We spent a lot of time together my junior and senior year, also, while we sang and performed. Most memorably, she was the Cinderella to my Rapunzel. I remember sitting next to each other while we saw Cats at Chanhassen. I remember having jumping contests during Oklahoma. I remember she told Devin to ask me to be his girlfriend. I remember she called me beautiful on my wedding day.
I remember standing next to Casey while singing Ave Maria. Staggering breaths. I’ll sing while you breathe. And now as I continue to breathe, she’s still singing.
And on that wretched Thursday night when hundreds of people were gathered and crammed in a small town sanctuary, I remember feeling really brave. I didn’t want anyone to see me crumble, I didn’t want anyone to see my pain. I knew they were holding their own grief. But as we traveled through the church pews like a Disneyland queue, I stared at her family with their backs straight while mine began to fall. I don’t understand why it was her. I don’t understand why someone so loved and so important could be here one moment and be gone the next. And I think of that age-old question, “If God is so good, why doesn’t he take away our pain?”
I kept my tears quiet in the two hours we zig-zagged through closer and closer to the cross. It wasn’t until I was in the arms of my best friend, Kendra, that I sobbed. I wept because I missed her. I wept for the words I didn’t say to Casey and the moments I could have spent with her. I felt equally grateful to hold my loved ones and equally guilty that her loved ones are left with a hole.
It didn’t matter if you knew Casey for 10 minutes or 10 years. You loved her. You were enamored by her beauty and kindness. Her smile would hook you, but her charm would keep you. She was exceptional. One of a kind. Remarkable. Exclusive. But though there was only one of her, she left us with abundant love.
In her love I remember the Truth. That God is good even through our pain. He is full of infinite power and goodness. I am reminded by His promise- that His love will be more strong and more powerful than we could ever imagine. We are promised eternity.
She built a home in our hearts with her boundless love and kindness. The world was a better place because of the friendship and devotion she shared. She is so dearly missed.
She was so beautiful in all things.
Beautiful people leave the world a better place. Beautiful people leave more smiles, more kindness, and more acceptance. Beautiful people send more sunshine and rain so the earth can bloom and grow. They flourish our soil. Beautiful people send us miracles, but we often forget to marvel when spring comes, when the lakes clear, and the earth becomes new again. Beautiful people come from dust and to dust they will always return.
Death is unfair. Unexpected death is cruel. Losing Casey and the sweet child she carried inside her seems too painful for words. But God makes all things new. Spring is near and I hope we stop to marvel her miracles.