Sunday, March 30, 2014

A Sudden Reminder

This may seem like an odd place to post this, as compared to my other blog site, but I have my reasons. Last week in the Oso Landslides, I lost a friend, and more importantly, one of the most cheerful and encouraging women I know-especially in regards to my journey with N. After my previous posts, she made comments like:

" All I could think of while reading this was 'Thank God N has the two of you for parents'. You won't quit till you have researched all possibilities. Lucky young man."


" I still say he is the luckiest boy to have you as his mama."

Julie went from being my CCD teacher during childhood, to singing with me in our little church choir, to being a huge support to me in 2006. At that time, I was a married adult and stationed back in my hometown. After the death of 2 loved ones, I was facing the reality of N's official diagnosis on the Autism Spectrum while wrestling postpartum depression and separation from my underway husband. One of my sure fire pick-me-ups was to drag N's 3yo twin and little baby sister to the quilt shop while he was in preschool on the days that I knew Julie was working. She would help me pick out fabric, and entertain said 3yo with fat quarters and bolts of sparkly, fairy-themed cloth.  "You know, Hillary, every little girl should have a quilt with fairy fabric on it." She got to me. I ended up making one for each of my girls. 
What a saleswoman. 

She spoke bluntly but cheerfully. Best of all, she made me laugh. Thankfully, when I moved to Juneau, I was still blessed with her support and wonderful sense of humor via Facebook and Blogspot.  She hugged, laughed, and loved generously, and as a result, she left behind a town in mourning for her and her son who passed with her.

Processing that this name on rosters and articles is truly her has been a hard, surreal struggle for me this week. I see other people writing farewell messages to her on her Facebook wall, but when I try,  I can't. It makes it too real for me to handle. It is still settling in my mind that she has truly passed on.

What has Julie's sudden departure reminded me? Well, two, vital things:

1) No one is guaranteed a slow, aged death. I must make every.moment.count. I must make sure that those who are important to me know the things I want them to know in case I should pass into eternity unexpectedly. And I must make sure that I am ready at all times to meet my Lord and answer for my choices.

2) What is the 'instantaneous legacy' that I wish to leave behind? 
I know the longer, deeper legacy that I am working on building each day. I have goals for my family's faith and relationships, but what about their instinctive thoughts towards me upon hearing my name or seeing my face? Julie's example is that when I first heard of her passing, my reactive thought was that I was losing her joy and encouragement in my life. Joy and encouragement. Those are the first words that I immediately associate with her. What do others, especially my friends and family, associate with my name? This is something I need to keep in the forefront of my mind as I choose my words and actions.

For some reason it is easier for me to write about Julie here on this post than her FB wall. Maybe it's the pictures. Maybe it's because FB reminds me, again, how quickly she left us considering how I had just 'heard' and 'chatted' with her the day before her death. Regardless, I can say here how thankful I am to have had her in my life. I can definitely say that I am praying and heartbroken for her husband and surviving sons and grandchildren who have lost their Mother, Uncle, Grandmother, Wife and home (for her husband). I can not even begin to imagine the nightmare that they are facing. I am desperately praying for the Lord to be real to them and to send them a supernatural peace that passes all earthly understanding. 
That mountain was big. 
My God is bigger.



  1. I've been thinking of you since you first posted you knew someone affected by the mudslide. You wrote a beautiful post for a wonderful woman. My thoughts are with you.

  2. Thanks, Hilary for sharing such wonderful memories and thoughts of Julie. A reminder for each of us about our ability to share joy and encouragement. All week I keep thinking about her smile and laughter and how often i was blessed with both. I hope many of us remember and pay it forward in her memory.

  3. Lovely … well said. Hugs to you.

  4. Thank you Ladies. And Marleen, what a beautiful remembrance to offer. I treasure all three of you-and especially Marleen and Mrs. Dilly Dally for suffereing through my annoying youth in order to speak guidance and loving wisdom into my life. :) Much love from Juneau!