When God took you back, He said "Hallelujah, you're home."
You know how, when you're growing up, there's that one friend's mom who, if you didn't already have an awesome mom of your own, you would want that friend's mom to be your mom? My best friend, Kelsey, has that mom for me, Mama Debbie. My back-up mom. I've known Kelsey since 6th grade and that means we have been friends for over 20 years now (!!!!) and her parents have always, always, always been the most welcoming, warm, loving and kind people that I know. Their home was always open, always a safe place for me and all of Kelsey's friends to be. I don't think I would have survived high school without them.
When Josh and I were planning our wedding, I knew exactly who I wanted as the officiant to marry us, Debbie. She's a pastor, so she's qualified, but more than that, she was someone that I knew and trusted, someone who loved me and had always supported my relationship with Josh. There really wasn't any other option as far I was concerned.
Debbie, this amazing woman, this light and rock, this incredibly beautiful and kind spirit, has passed from time into eternity, just six, very short months after her diagnosis of stage IV breast cancer.
My heart breaks for Debbie and her family, for all they have endured and for all that is to come. Their grief is heavy, layered on top of my own grief and I wish so desperately that I could carry it all away from them. Kelsey, my best friend and Michelle, her little sister and also one of my dearest friends, are two of the strongest women that I have ever known. They're kind and honest, hard working and so caring, their hearts are so big and full and so much of what I love about them is because of their amazing mama. I cannot even begin to fathom the depth of their pain right now but I pray, constantly, and I ask that anyone reading this, also offer up a prayer of comfort and strength for this amazing family.
I had the honor of taking some photos of Debbie with her family, her grown kids, shortly after her diagnosis, before she started her chemo treatment. It's these moments that I am so thankful that I have this small gift I can offer my friends when they are hurting. These are the photos that Kelsey has been using when she shares an update about her mom and I just love being reminded of Debbie's beautiful smile, even in the face of such despair.
I heard this song after I learned of Debbie's diagnosis, and couldn't help but think of Debbie... she is definitely an angel in the shape of an amazing mother, wife, grandmother, sister, woman, and friend.
I love you Debbie. Thank you for being my second mom, thank you for raising my best friend, thank you for loving me, thank you for all that you taught me. I will never, never, never forget you.