More than a year ago, I lost a friend who was dear to me. It was a slow process, the worst kind of slow. The fighting slow. I understand now what it feels to watch someone's body deteriorate while their mind continues to remain, tortured.
Cheryl was a fighter. She was one of four valedictorians in my graduating class, an unprecedented event in my small rural school where only two other graduates had kept a 4.0 all through high school. She had big plans. Plans to see the world, plans to succeed. Plans that involving going to college and maybe even changing her major to something her parents wouldn't approve of (I'm sure she would have done something like that.) That was the hardest part for her I think, letting go of all she could have seen, could have done, could have been. She held on so much longer than they expected her to.
She tried so hard to be 'normal,' til the very end, refusing to stay in the hospital unless it was absolutely necessary. She wouldn't even sleep in the hospital bed hospice brought for her. I saw her some of her worst days. Cheryl loved animals of any kind, and my friend had puppies we brought over to her house for her to see. The pain, or the medication, kept her distant most of the time we were there visiting, but her eyes lightened up when we asked if she wanted to hold the puppy. Even the weight of the puppy on her stomach was too much, and she cringed and cried silent tears. It was painful, but I think it was hard for her not to enjoy what she used to, even just seeing a puppy.
I've had my debates with God over Cheryl's death. Before it actually came, I prayed feverishly that whatever her turn out, someone would know about Him because of it. When it actually happened, the funeral and everything was done, it was like He didn't show up. He didn't allow any conversations to open up for me to talk about my faith, no one asked me how I was dealing with it all. I was furious at God. If He took my friend He could at least have a "good" reason for doing it, right?