Sometimes the world cries with you

You know that feeling you get when your personal Earth shifts?  Maybe you were just broken up with or found out about an infidelity or someone close to you dies.  You look around and people are still driving their cars and going to work and laughing and basically going about their lives.  The world looks really weird from broken eyes.  The scene doesn’t line up with your reality.

We knew Ed, Randy’s Stepfather, wasn’t doing well.  In the late Fall, he was diagnosed with Pulmonary Fibrosis after a year of constant coughing and very quickly went downhill.  We got a call last month that Ed was in the hospital.  He was struggling to breathe and there was nothing the Doctors could do except breathe for him.  He made the informed decision to go on a ventilator for five days.  Enough time for us all to come home.

We bought tickets around midnight and left for Texas at 4:30 am the next morning.  We spent the next few days in the hospital.  We sat in Ed’s room and we talked to him though he couldn’t answer back with words, and we visited with each other.  And when I say “we” I mean to say there were enough family and friends in and out that we had to actually organize the chaos.

The staff at Brooks Army Medical Center never said a word about how many people we had in their ICU and they were kind and loving and they prayed with us, and every one of our nurses from that week cried when he died and so did Ed’s Doctor when he came in to confirm that Ed had indeed passed.  Most of the staff at the hospital never knew Ed when he could speak.  They just listened to us all week and they saw the constant stream of visitors and they felt the love, and they couldn’t help but love him (and us) too.

That’s the funny thing that I’ve been contemplating these past few weeks.  It didn’t happen the way I thought it might.

I was so weepy when I knew Ed would not be with us forever, when he got his diagnosis and went into the hospital for the first time.  But when we got to San Antonio, when it was time to be sad, it felt different (to me).  I know there are a lot of reasons why this happened, mainly there were probably a thousand prayers of comfort upon his family.  Ed knew where he was going, he was happy to be rid of his “earth suit”, and I think that regardless of any past problems, everyone knew he loved them.

One day Bev, Randy’s Mom, stopped what she was doing and looked at me with horror, like she had forgotten her purse in a restaurant.  “You know how much Ed loves you, don’t you???”.  Of course I did.  And I didn’t assume it.  He told me.  Never held back a compliment, and when he told you, you knew he meant it.

Here’s what’s awesome.  Ed wasn’t perfect.  He just wasn’t.  He was as imperfect as any of us.  But he loved a lot of people wholeheartedly, and in return he was dearly loved back.  There were hundreds and hundreds of people at the funeral.

The world did actually stop that week.  At least through my own eyes.  And cried along with us.

And I’ve been pondering that question.  Thinking, who do I matter to?  Who loves me?  What have I done?  Will I be remembered?  Because times like these make you wonder.

And now I’m really thinking, who do I love?  Who do I serve?  I wonder to myself if I can freely give love like that, and why I don’t?  Because I really like to receive it.

I think of Ed and of all of the people I know who will probably fill a stadium at their death.  What do they have in common?  They serve others, and they love others unabashedly.  Others’ accomplishments and happiness bring them only joy, never jealously, and others’ sorrows are their own.

I’m working on living that kind of life.

I will miss your tacos, your backup turkeys, your 3-meat-course dinners, your bible and large stack of devotionals never beyond arm’s reach, your smile that showed joy in your heart, your constant praise of my Mothering skills, and your love of our children.  Jack’s wondering if you are watching some really awesome TV shows in Heaven?



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11 responses to “Sometimes the world cries with you

  1. Beverly Emmons

    You are living this kind of life. Love to you, Bev

  2. Peggy Ratliff

    Well said. Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful thoughts. You have an amazing ability to put your feelings on paper. Love, Aunt Peggy

  3. Cynthia Freeman

    Hi Jessica,

    What beautiful thoughts you wrote about Ed, family, friends, and life!!! Today is all we have . We can hope for tomorrow and know it is all in God’s hands. Whatever we can do today for some- one, let us do it now, for tomorrow may never come. I have learned through the years, the only joy in the journey here on this earth is with Jesus …allowing the Spirit to lead in everything I do. For through His power and strength, nothing is impossible. That’s what Ed knew was true for his life. I miss him and think of him often.

    Jessica…Jesus, through His Spirit has certainly spoken to your heart. All praise to God for His Goodness and Love for all His Children.

    Love and blessings,
    Cynthia Freeman

  4. Annette

    Jessica ~ You are a precious gift to anyone who knows you.

  5. This is beautiful!
    Thanks for sending it.

    Happy Easter!

    We will be in Tennessee.

  6. Karla Garcia


    I just read your beautifully amazing letter. I too am grateful for all that God has given us. Our family is very special in that they always come together when one of us is in need.

    “And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.” Isaiah chapter 65 verse 24. God is listening all the time.

    I know that all our prayers were answered and that Ed is at peace. It doesn’t matter, in my opinion, how many mistakes that we make in our lives, but that we learn from them and go forward glorifying God and doing His will. This is how we can help our friends, family and anyone else that we may come upon to help when the situation is presents itself to us.

    God bless all our family and friends and remember all of us in our own individual prayers.


  7. Heather Briggs


    I too wonder about the things you have written about. Your words are eloquent and beautiful and they touched me deeper than anything has in a long time. Thank you. I feel as if I’ve met Ed and will sorely miss him as well.

    You leave a lasting impression on people. Your legacy is being written every day you are alive. You are definitely loved my many many people including me.

    Love, Heather

  8. Such a great post. Makes me feel like I knew him. I wish you were here so I could hug you and make you a cake. Love you! xoxo

  9. Jeannie

    You are so right on about everything you said about Ed. Even thought I’ve not spent time with you, I feel you live this kind of life. We are all blessed so much everyday and have much to be thankful for. Thank you for sharing. Love, Jeannie

  10. Jeannie

    You are so right on about everything you said about Ed. Even thought I’ve not spent time with you, it seems you live this kind of life just by reading your words. We are all blessed so much everyday with family, friends, and have much to be thankful for. Thank you for sharing. Love, Jeannie

  11. Pingback: Reality Shift | TrueGrit

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