Thursday, September 27, 2012
In an instant: Becky's story
My sister died almost two years ago. I'm afraid this will be a recurring theme here so you should probably hear the story. My little sister, Becky, 32 years old. Wife to Jacob. Mother to Amity (who turned 10 three days after the accident) and Dara (8). Becky was a lover of Jesus. She was a runner. She was a reader. She was 4 months away from finishing her Doctor of Pharmacy. She was smart as a whip, goofy and had the quickest sense of humor I've ever known. Missing her is like an ache that will never go away.
That year, 2010, we celebrated Christmas at my house. I live about halfway between Spokane, Washington (where Becky and her family lived) and Corvallis, Oregon (where my parents and other sister live). So, in the spirit of meeting in the middle, we all converged on my house. Thankfully our house is fairly large but, with 7 adults and 4 kids, we were pretty crowded. It was a great kind of crowded though. We ate, laughed, played cards, goofed around and celebrated together.
On Sunday, December 26, everyone headed back to their homes. Becky had to start a new rotation for her Pharmacy degree the next day. She was so excited about it and about nearing the end of this program that she had worked so hard on. Wednesday, December 29 was a wintry, cold day. Ice storms were forecasted so Becky packed a bag in case she decided it was too dangerous to drive home that evening. Late that afternoon Becky decided it would be safe to drive home if she left her rotation a little early. So she headed home. Approximately 10 miles from her home, Becky hit a patch of ice and her car slid into the path of an oncoming truck. She died on impact.
There are so many things in this story that beg the question: "what if."
What if we hadn't gotten together right before that? What a gift that was!
What if she hadn't gone to work that morning?
What if she had decided to stay in town rather than drive home?
What if the pickup hit her car in a slightly different spot?
What if, what if, what if?
Here is one thing I have learned in all of this: everything can change in an instant. What does that mean? It means I need to treasure every second, to live life with the understanding that this moment could be my last. It wouldn't be a bad thing; I am fully prepared to die. In fact, my own death is actually less of a fear for me than the death of another loved one. I know my own death will only be a celebration for me, entering into the presence of my Lord. And Becky experienced that celebration when she died.