It’s four o’clock and I’m just sitting down. I’m group texting my girls. The ones I only know because of Kara and who have become the keepers of my heart through Kara’s illness and death. They are laughing with me, crying with me, and praying for me. My heart doesn’t understand their capacity to love me so big in the midst of their own grief. And when I think about their grief and the goodbye they each had to say, I am almost overcome.
Jason called yesterday shortly after Kara died. His voice was full of emotion and I knew he was fighting to just get the words out. After a short time, our phones went crazy. We spent the evening with our small group, beginning the process of grief together, and then we came home to full inboxes, textboxes, and voicemails. I was up late trying to get organized. Kara and I planned her service and the days following her Homecoming months ago; the moment I dreaded had arrived.
When I woke up this morning, my eyes were wet and my lids stuck together with gunky tears. I knew I had cried in my sleep, mourned in my sleep. I feel Kara’s absence in my bones. I think my DNA has changed and I’m a different person. My bones shout angry complaints of pain; they try to explain that they don’t have hearts and shouldn’t be asked to carry this burden. But my grief dwells deep. It has seeped into every part of me, and it aches.
I went to the Tippetts’ this morning. I took toilet paper and paper napkins and tissue and grieved as I handed it over that I knew to bring those things. I hugged Mickey and watched tears crawl down her soft cheeks. She has beautiful skin that I always want to touch to see if it’s as soft as I anticipate. I had never seen it wet with tears. Story Jane was playing in the kitchen. We raced Barbie cars together. And she told me that half of her was sad and half of her was happy. She dabbed at her nose a lot with a tissue through her sweet giggles, but I couldn’t tell if she had tears or a runny nose.
When Jason walked in, I hugged him big. He has this profound gift of being able to talk through tears, and as we talked, he wiped many away. Ruth played football with Lake outside. He proudly showed off his Peyton Manning jersey. Harper cuddled and giggled in a chair with Jason.
I had feared what being in a Karaless house would feel like. It was difficult. But though Kara is gone, Hope isn’t, Joy isn’t, Grace isn’t. Love still reigns in the Tippetts’ home, and I was comforted sitting where Kara sat the last time I was in that room with her.
My sisters text regularly to check in, to see how my heart is doing. I tell them I’m okay, that I’m trying to lean into Jesus. I am surprised that my heart seems to actually believe that Grace will show up, that Jesus is beside me. I picture Kara seeing His face for the first time—the delight she would have encountered. And I imagine that delight next to me, caring for me, holding me up.