Forty eight days ago I kissed my Aunty Kathy on the forehead for the last time.
We had been at the hospital for almost a week, watching our precious darling rapidly fade as the cancer overwhelmed her body. I have never seen something so devastating.
As we surrounded her bedside, our hearts were torn from our chests, tormented by desire for her to be without pain, but reluctant to say goodbye.
You never think that this will happen to you, until it does. And when it does the sheer intensity of emotions make you feel like death may take you too. But then it doesn't, and you are left behind, to try and cope.
After two and a half years of being on a sugar free diet, I turned to sugar as a convenient 'comfort'. My own health didn't matter anymore. Nothing mattered anymore.
In the last 50 days, I have consumed ginger cake, chocolate biscuits, ginger crunch, carrot cake, caramel slice, chocolate, apple crumble, melting moments, chocolate ice cream, berry friands, banoffee pie, gingernuts and hokey pokey ice cream sandwiches.
I've washed it down with salted caramel hot chocolate, red wine and a swimming pool of coffee. Twice now I have had desserts delivered to my door by the pizza boy.
I have gained weight but I have gained no true comfort or strength through the consumption of worldly fixes.
Heartbreak in mourning
Army General George S. Patton said of his soldiers lost, 'It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived'.
Yet when informed of their death, none of their loved ones likely possessed thankful hearts, but broken ones.
This is neither foolish nor wrong.
Like them, my heart is broken.
My heart breaks for our regular coffee dates, for the weaving of our conversation. For the times that I confided in her, knowing that nothing I told her would be met by judgement. I long to watch films together again, exclaiming over characters and plots. I ache for the sunny afternoons spent op shopping and picking up her library books, going home for coconut water and roasted almonds on the deck. Even for the time I helped her unload boxes in the rain.
I smile about the time she sat texting me from the cafe where my crush worked, letting me know her thoughts. It hurts to think that I won't be able to tell her about a boy againâshe was more interested in my love life than I was.
Now she will not be in the front row on my wedding day, she will not tell me how happy she is for me. She will be but a beaming absence. The thought of this puts physical pain in my chest and I am crying again. There is so much to miss.
I miss her calling me her 'darling girl'. I miss her bright demeanour and inquisitive nature. I miss the happy inclination in her voice as she'd smile and say, 'yeah?'
I miss the remnants of her Greek accent and the way she said things more softly than others. Words seemed more comforting from her mouth.
The safe places in my childhood were paved with the sound of her voice, and I will never hear it again.
Grief in the Bible
The book of Ecclesiastes tells us there is a time for everything, including death, weakness, tears and grief:
'To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance' (Ecclesiastes chapter 3, verses 1â4).
We can be comforted by knowing it is not only OK to grieve, but it is to be expected. It is a season.
Thanksgiving in a time of grief
In the burden of loss there is also gratitude. I could not comprehend this concept upon the news of my kindred spirit being sick. But now, by the grace of God, I can see there is still much to give thanks for.
I was not owed the presence of such a wise, kind friend and maternal figure in my life. Some will go their entire lives without the gift of being entwined with such a gracious soul.
By the mercy and grace of God I was truly blessed by this woman. He willed an irreplaceable bond be formed. He created such an angelic person, to deeply bless the lives of others.
For my favourite woman (alongside my mother) I will be eternally grateful. I thank the Lord for the love and the lessons she freely gave. I praise the Lord for creating such a marvellous being.
Though I am not sleeping, and I cry every day, I thank God for the strength to make it through, with His sufficient grace. Though I am passing through the water, He is with me, and the rivers will not overwhelm me. While I am walking through the fire, the flame shall not consume me.
Aunty Kathy, I love you and I will miss you every day for the rest of my life, but I will forever be grateful for you. Everywhere I go, you are coming too.
Scarlett Jones resides by the seaside and loves reading, films, craft and quality time with friends and family.
Scarlett Jones' previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/scarlett-jones.html