I had a topic all thought out for today's blog post, but then it flew out of my head on Wednesday around 2:00. My mom called to tell me that my aunt, who's been battling brain cancer for a year now, had been rushed to the hospital. And it looked bad enough that my mom was leaving for Tahlequah, Oklahoma - a 4 hour drive from where we live - as soon as she could get a hold of my dad.
I got off the phone, spent some time in prayer, then called Mom back and told her I was coming along. Because even though I wasn't feeling a clear, "Yes, you should go," from God, I kept thinking of July 2009.
I had my first book signing, and even though my aunt had been feeling horrible (we wouldn't learn about the brain tumor for a couple more weeks) she insisted on coming. She stood in line with everybody else, and beamed with pride when she handed me a stack of 5 books to sign.
With that in mind, how could I not go?
The Bible talks about rejoicing when others rejoice and mourning when others mourn. In my experience, it's easiest to mourn with others. On Thursday, when I stood in my aunt's depressing hospital room, mourning came easy. Especially when my uncle came in after speaking to the oncologist. He said they were calling in hospice, that my aunt wasn't expected to live more than two more weeks. I had no problems crying along with him. I had no problems aching for my aunt.
But rejoicing when others rejoice is a much greater task, and it's one my aunt performed beautifully a year ago. It was hard for her to walk, she was in too much pain to sleep, and she'd lost control of half her facial muscles. And yet she dedicated herself to rejoicing with me in my moment of excitement.
I have evidence that if she was capable of mourning for me at this moment, she would. The last time I lost a family member was nearly4 years ago, when my grandfather died of lung cancer. When my aunt heard, she mailed me the "grandfather" Willow Tree statue along with a heartfelt letter about how hard it was for her when her own grandfather passed. Instead, it'll be my turn to "pay it forward." To be there for those who feel the loss more acutely than I do, like my mom.
Because I know my aunt and her heart. She'll be partying it up with Jesus, and that means it's my turn to carry on her legacy of being His hands and feet here on earth.
Stephanie Morrill is a twenty-something living in Overland Park, Kansas with her husband and two kids. Her only talents are reading, writing, and drinking coffee, so career options were somewhat limited. Fortunately, she discovered a passion for young adult novels a few years ago and has been writing them ever since. Stephanie is the author of The Reinvention of Skylar Hoyt series and is currently working on other young adult projects. To check out her blog and read samples of her books, check out www.StephanieMorrillBooks.com and www.GoTeenWriters.com.