What's your favorite color?
Red is my favorite color. What's yours?
I like red because it's vibrant and makes me feel good when wearing it. Did you know there's even a National Wear Red Day? I'll talk about that later.
But I'm not writing to you about color choices today. No, this is more of a good news, bad news newsletter.
When asked, "What do you want first, the good news or the bad news?" we usually say, "Give me the bad news first." That could be because we want something to look forward to or soften the nasty news blow.
Well, here goes. I'm talking about losing a loved one, which is sadder than bad. So, if you have strong emotions surrounding loss, you may want to jump to the "good news" part of this newsletter.
The sad news first
You didn't miss my January newsletter. Unfortunately, I didn't send one. January was a hard month. Loss is hard, especially when it happens little by little.
Over the last few months, we watched my sweet sister, Michelle, decline until she finally went to be with Jesus in the early morning of January 12th.
It was very peaceful, and she looked so beautiful, but she always did.
Sad fact: Michelle had Down Syndrome & Alzheimer's Disease. Did you know that many people with DS will have Alzheimer's? Something like 50% by the time they reach 60 years old. According to the National Down Syndrome Society, "It is this unique property of chromosome 21 that makes the disease a more acute concern for people with Down syndrome… "
I was sad and a little angry that she had to go through it all.
Maybe you've had a similar experience, or you're going through it now. It's incredibly hard, and I'm so sorry. 💔
Now for the good news
Good news can come from our caregiving experience.
We all have a purpose, and Michelle certainly accomplished hers. With no reservations or filters, Michelle LOVED others.
"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. (John 13:34 NIV)
She touched so many lives with her smile and warm hugs that I'm still writing thank you cards.
Hugs, so many people mentioned her hugs. And here are some of the words they used to describe her smile:
- Always there
- It lit up a room
Wouldn't you like others to describe your smile like that? (It can't happen if you're not smiling. )
Glad fact: While planning her memorial service, I learned Michelle means "who resembles God."
That's when it dawned on me. Love! Sharing God's love was her purpose, and Michelle lived it out daily. Then, when she could no longer hug or smile, Jesus walked her into heaven to be with Him.
She was never alone, and neither are we!
That is the good news I have for you today. No matter what our parents named us, we can all resemble God by loving others, living out our purpose, and knowing Jesus walks in it with us.
"And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." (Matt 28:20b NIV)
What a comfort that is!
Caregiving may be your purpose for now. I know it's hard. But, although it may feel like it sometimes, you are not alone. So, keep smiling, keep loving, and know I'm still here for you, and so is Jesus.
Why I'm wearing red
I'm letting you know early that February 4th is National Wear Red Day, so wear red to increase heart disease awareness. Since we all have hearts, let's try to keep them healthy. ❤️
Red is the color of valentine's hearts and broken hearts, too. Mine is broken, but it's also glad. And it's interesting that we can hold the two emotions in tension. Just like raindrops can fall through sunshine, we can smile while shedding tears. Thank goodness ❣️
I'm wearing red because it's my favorite color (I know I'm repeating myself, but it IS my favorite), it's fun, and it makes me smile.
And smiling reminds me of my sister. So, in honor of Michelle, I'm sending you a big valentine's hug and encouraging you to keep smiling.
Happy Valentine's Day