I asked Jesus to see to it you get a pedicure, a good book and a Diet Coke today. I have purple toes in your honor. I am wearing a silver tiara with sparkly rhinestones. Yes, I wore this to church. Some people asked me about it. That was nice b/c it gave me a chance to talk about you. It also made me stutter and stammer, in some cases, where I wanted to say just the right thing to tell a person who you were and how you lived and what God did in your life and those words did not exist. There is no simple concise way to explain to a passerby why this crown is on my head on this day. I hope my explanations, however incomplete, touched someone today. I hope, if nothing else, I was a reminder of how deeply people are capable of loving and that joy can be found in even the saddest loss. B/c I am smiling as I wear this tiara and talk about you. Last year, I was near tears all day, but this year I am smiling. This year, I have traveled a road with Jesus toward peace in knowing where you are and why you are gone. That doesn’t mean I have all of the answers. That simply means I am at peace with not having all the answers. What an amazing place to be in this life. What an amazing life you lived, my friend. A life that is still being lived in the hearts of your friends and your family.
You are not here to talk about the books you are reading, but many others are reading books because of you. They are given away in your honor. There is an entire children’s library named for you. In Memory of Natalie Rose York is scribbled within the covers of more books than I could even begin to count. Your name is written on paper bags and t-shirts for Relay for Life. A bunch of crazy women have purple polish on their toes right now. Some people will drink a Diet Coke while they think of you today (I would be interested to see if there is a significant spike in the sales of Diet Coke, tiaras and purple nail polish around June 7th every year). Prayers will be poured out for Jonathan and Anna… and Wes.
Yes, Wes. I was so angry with him, Nattie. The trip to your memorial service, last year, was full of my anger. I thought such mean things about him. I worried that I could not be in the same building as him without lashing out. Truth be told, I blamed him for us losing you. I kept thinking, if he had been there… If he had been a GOOD husband, he would have been there and taken you to a doctor much sooner and… These are all stupid human thoughts that have no real baring on what happened or did not happen. I walked into the funeral home where your body rested in pink pajamas and Wesley York was the first person I laid eyes on. He was walking toward me, on his way out the door. I didn’t yell at him. I didn’t seethe. I melted. Something inside of me gave way, and I just loved that man. After your service, I had the privilege, the honor, of praying with and over your ex-husband. I got to bend my knees and kneel before him, hold his hand and cry out to Jesus. I got to tell him how you loved him and prayed for him and would have given anything, did give everything, to see him come to know Jesus as you knew Jesus. Jojo and Cynthia stood with me. We held him up and wept with him in your absence. God forgave Wesley through us and for us, because we were not capable of doing so on our own.
I miss you Natalie. I miss everything about you. But I wouldn’t ask for you back. A year ago, I would have. Two years ago, I did. Two years ago on today, I BEGGED God and yelled at God and cursed whatever “PLAN” this could be a part of. Today, I am calm and smiling, because I know you wouldn’t want to come back. I am sure you will rejoice to see us when we join you, but none of us would ask you to leave the heavenly place of rest where you exist right now. You deserve the peace you have been given.
Thank you, Natalie. Thank you for blessing me with a few priceless years of your deep-hearted, soul-filling, friendship. I love you.