“Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.” ~ Albert Camus

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I don’t know how to grieve the loss of a dear friend. This is a first for me. I feel myself pulling away. I want to be childish and chuck the stupid gourd that decorates my house for fall because I should have been visiting Carol Anne in the ICU yesterday. My stomach grumbles, but who can eat at a time like this…so why do I want to shove an entire apple pie down my throat? Why pie?

In forty-five minutes–not an hour or twelve days. Not sometime later when we can get around to it. In forty-five minutes my friend Carol Anne will be taken off life support. Everything is shutting down and there is nothing more they can do.

Who is “they”, anyway? Where is the liver she needed weeks ago? 

By the time I finish writing support will be removed and in a matter of hours the world will feel empty somehow. Vacant because of one life.

Who is Carol Anne?

I’m typing faster in desperation now. I want to write about who Carol Anne is, not who she was.

Carol Anne is my friend.

She is a friend who lasts forever.

Carol Anne is someone who becomes more each time I see her.

She is the person I find more beauty and inspiration in than I did the day before. A brighter light flicks on each time. I didn’t notice right away, but now I can’t imagine life without her. 

Carol Anne is one of my most faithful blog readers. Sometimes I believe she’s the only one, but that’s all I need to keep me going because she tells me how much each one means to her.

She takes that second when she could chuck a gourd across the room in anger over her rare disease, but she chooses instead to encourage someone childish like me.

The last really long conversation we had in the church foyer with coffee in styrofoam found me choking down tears. Her precious daughter was there too. Her girl cried and I cried while Carol Anne told me never to give up. She had been to a conference and heard a message of perseverance and knew she was meant o bring that message back to me.

How did she know I was one coffee sip away from giving everything up?

God works this way.

He gives us people. Extraordinary people who leave us stunned to silence by their poise and extravagant faith while they travel through an unfair world.

How He must behold the work of His hands. Especially when she walked out her unique path so well.

Carol Anne, I love you!

Carol Anne, i will not give up!

To you, this post is written–it’s noon…