Four years ago this week my sweet, beautiful, bestest friend in the whole wide world, Paula passed away. And my world still rocks. Although it started out as a knock-you-off-your-feet-and-down-to-your-knees kinda rock that was the hardest thing I have ever had to recover from, it has become a rock-you-in-the-arms-of-Jesus-till-you-fall-asleep-in-the-peace-of-knowing-she-is-THERE kinda rock. Both were unfathomable to me four years and 1 month ago. Now, I am Blessed by knowing that God is there through ALL kinds of rocking.
Paula was diagnosed with breast cancer. She fought it - the double mastectomy, chemo, radiation and hours and hours and HOURS of prayer - and beat it. Just in time to look so beautiful for my wedding I was a teensy bit jealous. But I came back from my honeymoon to learn that the cancer had come back in her bones. Many people would have given up. But Paula was a mommy (her girls were one and three when diagnosed, four and six when she died), and so she fought it HARD. The chemo wore down her defenses and she contracted valley fever. And that is what, in the end, took her away from us.
There was one song that held us up through it all - many songs made the journey easier (and sometimes even "fun-er") - but one song lifted us to His throne. In the very beginning Paula prayed that if she was gonna have this thing, God had better "use the tar out of it"!! She wanted to make a statement with the cancer - a statement about faith, blessings and HIM. She wanted her life to say that she was HIS - no matter what and even if she died, she KNEW beyond a shadow of a doubt that she was gonna LIVE. And, by golly, she was taking as many people with her as she possibly could.
I am here to tell you that she lived this out LOUD!!!!
I remember that last week in the hospital we played music in her room 24/7 - worship music. Just the way she wanted. We had worship teams come and do some live praising at the foot of her bed. We sang out loud to the favorites on the various CD's and, in the end, we sang her home with a group of loved ones and a guitar. Her death was one of the most precious and beautiful things I have ever experienced. I held her sweet bald head in my arms as she walked into Heaven and I felt her last breath against my wet cheek. I remember every moment of it like it was happening today. And I am more thankful for those moments that you will ever imagine.
I found a version of this song that is lovely - but I wish I could have found a live version from the CD "Night In Rocketown" - the one with the verse that she is living out today ...
So, when I cross over Jordan, gonna scream, gonna shout,
Gonna look into Your eyes and see
You never let me down
So, take me down the pathway that leads me to YOU
And I will go through the valley,
If You want me to
I love you and I miss you Peanut - me and Jelly both!!