Surrounded by the love of her husband, daughters and our pastor, and covered in prayer, she passed from this life into the embrace of our heavenly Father. A moment filled with overwhelming sadness, but also incredible beauty.
During her lengthy, but dignified battle with cancer, her church family, neighbors, long-time friends and many others surrounded Kirsten and her family with an outpouring of love shown through home made meals, prayers, visits, child care, hand holding, hugs and tears. All these actions stand as vivid testimony to her joyful, generous and grace-filled spirit. She loved freely and laughed often (long before these phrases became cliché). Though her time with us was cut short, Kirsten leaves behind a legacy of a life well-lived and well-loved. She was a friend to all, best friend to many.
Kirsten battled this dreaded disease the same way she lived her life—with grace and dignity. And by her, and her husband John’s, courageous and faith-filled example, showed us how to do the same. A lesson we’d rather not have learned, but one that will likely serve us well in the future.
I feel so blessed to have known Kirsten and call her friend. I'm humbled to have been invited into the sacred spaces of her last days. And I am overwhelmed that God prepared my heart, bolstered my faith and allowed me the privilege to enter into this experience because several years I couldn’t have. It would have been too much.
Death is unfamiliar territory for me. As the reality of loss began to sink in this morning, I thought about her husband and young daughters. I wondered how the sun had the audacity to rise. How could birds and squirrels forage for food? People scurry about their business? Life continue on? Don't they know?
It is the beginning of a new normal. We will never know this side of heaven “Why?” But I have faith that even this God will redeem for His glory. I have seen glimpses of that already.
Kirsten’s passing leaves a hole that we will forever hold dear—a space of joy and laughter and love. I’m sure she entered the gates of heaven and found Jesus waiting to welcome her home, “Kirsten, my child. Well done, good and faithful servant.”