It’s been a part of my life for as long as I can remember.
I didn’t understand it then, as a three-year-old asking questions about my father–the mysterious man with the gentle smile from the picture.
I understand it even less now, forty-two years later as I’ve seen grief in action on the faces of many of my loved ones.
My heart is tuned in to those who hurt, who grieve, who wonder how they can find a way to go on when half of them is missing. Their stories stop me in my tracks, and I have no choice but to reach out to them. Not because I have any answers, but because I get it.
Sometimes, I am left speechless by their stories. The depths of their pain is matched only by the depths of their faith. As their bodies are ravaged by disease, their spirits inch so close to Heaven that they can feel it, smell it, and taste it.
And then they are able to explain it to the rest of us. The ones who still don’t understand.
Sara Pigg Walker was one of those people. Though she was not a personal friend of mine, that didn’t stop her from changing my life.
Sara’s story of cancer began on what should have been one of the happiest days of her life. The day her daughter, Anna, was born on December 6, 2010. For reasons doctors could not explain, especially given the textbook pregnancies and deliveries of Sara’s first two children, Anna ceased to live a couple of weeks before her due date. Anna’s birthdate and date of death were one and the same.
And Sara and her family were left to wonder why.
Within a month, Sara soon learned, on her 33rd birthday, that she had stage IV colon cancer that had spread into her liver.
And so her fight began even in the midst of her grief. Sara started to share her story in CaringBridge, a site one would never choose to become a part of, and she posted her questions, thoughts, dreams, prayers, struggles, fears, cherished moments of savoring every minute, and her most intimate conversations with God. Even the ones where she questioned His existence. But also the ones where she questioned why how so many people had grown to care about shy, little Sara.
Sara dared to ask ‘why?’ as she knelt at the throne of God, and though she probably never got the question answered in a way she could understand, she began to learn just how much God truly loved her. Through the loss of her daughter and through her battle with cancer, Sara demonstrated to anyone willing to read her treasured words what it was like to be so close to Heaven, you could almost taste it.
She saw things through eyes that we, in our broken, human form, cannot comprehend.
You just have to read it for yourself. My personal favorite post was dated February 28, 2012, and was a testimony of her amazement at the true love of her husband, Brian. Her words, because of her battles and the way she fought them, matter in a way that will last forever.
Sara was laid to rest last week, and there are hundreds of thousands of prayer partners who are left to wonder why.
This is what I would tell them if I could. It’s the same thing God told me as a child when I asked the question, “Why can’t Daddy come home?”
“Because sometimes I choose to heal in a way that lasts for eternity. And once I do that, they are so perfect that only Heaven can hold them. And I love you enough to give you even more reasons to come here, and I will see you soon.”
Sometimes I think God loves it when we take the time to ask ‘why?’ because it proves that we trust Him enough to listen for His answers.
And to Daddy, Sara, Anna and all the others, we will see you soon. I can’t wait to meet each of you in person.