My friend Sara is dying.
It's not my favorite subject at the moment.
And people keep writing really beautiful posts about her. And make no mistake - they are right about her beauty. The fact that she couldn't leave her house but made the best of every situation, praised God for it, even. There is nobody like Sara. Never, ever doubt that.
And yes, she changed my life long ago. I call her Gitzbuckle because I consider her a member of my family. I took her with me everywhere, no matter how boring it was. And the thing is, she wasn't once jealous or sad that she didn't still get to experience those things herself. She was always delighted that she got to see it at all through my eyes.
That's who she is. She's the girl who prays for you even though you're the one who should be praying for her. I wasn't impressed by her attitude and her beauty because I read about it on her blog; I was impressed by her attitude and beauty because I saw her live it as we walked each other through some of our hardest days over the last three years.
I don't really want to talk about that, though. That's just ours.
But rest assured, she is exactly who she represents herself to be on her blog.
That's only a fraction of how I remember her, though. Most of the way I'll remember her looks like this:
...and, what will for ever, ever, ever be my personal favorite - this, which is what happens if you call Gitz old.
(You can imagine what's under the heart, but it's covered because most people who read here have children looking over their shoulder, are easily offended, and/or have the power to fire me from my ministry job. And lest you think she would be mortified by my posting this now that she's dying, I threatened to post it immediately when she did it, and her response is "GO AHEAD! HERE! I'LL DO IT AGAIN FOR YOU!" and did it again. There are many reasons to love her.)
So, anyway, don't think for a second that she was ever angelically stoic at all times. Don't think that she was too sick to laugh. Don't think that she didn't have an amazing sense of humor. I don't know of any time I ever laughed harder than when I was talking on the phone, video chatting, emailing, tweeting, or texting with her.
She's the kind of friend who, when you send an e-mail to vent about the many, many people in your house, who are all over 50 years old, and therefore have the TV super-loud...
...but accidentally INCLUDE YOUR MOTHER-IN-LAW IN THE EMAIL, WHO IS SITTING ACROSS THE ROOM FROM YOU...
...will, after having "shouted" an expletive on your behalf and then done nice things to help smooth things over with your (VERY UNDERSTANDING) mother-in-law...
...laugh at you relentlessly and unapologetically with the rest of your friends.
The Gitz I know is snarky. In a loving way.
The Gitz I know will watch an entire movie with you on Skype, 800 miles away, making fun of you for how silly you look laying in bed.
The Gitz I know makes up nicknames for those she loves.
The Gitz I know loves food as much as I do. Even if she can't eat a lot of her favorite things because of her allergies.
The Gitz I know is super-creative and loves pretty things, especially if you made them for her.
And the Gitz I know is going to run so fast toward her dad when she finally gets to heaven that she'll probably knock him right over.
And then she'll laugh so hard that she'll snort (oh yes, she will), which will make her laugh even harder. And unlike here, her lungs will allow her to do that and there will be no sharp pains coursing through her body causing her to cry out in pain during that laugh.
And if letting her go here is what needs to happen for her to laugh without pain?
That's worth saying goodbye to the Gitz I know.