On Honouring the Ones Who Have Gone Before Us

I was 11 years old when my oldest brother brought this laughter-filled girl home for a visit. I remember the dinner table being much more boisterous than usual. I had never heard someone laugh as much or as loudly! Everything my brother said was apparently uproariouslyfunny. I also remember that at one point during the meal my brother kind of yelped. This girl had sneaked her hand onto his knee, and who knew that he was thatticklish?! There was something about her that captivated me. She seemed so sure of herself and secure with who she was – she didn’t hide or pretend to be someone else.

It didn’t take long for us all to realize that this girl, Heidi Harms, was going to be part of our family. She was beautifully genuine, deeply loyal, and full of life. The remarkable thing was that she didn’t attempt to present herself as perfect – she had flaws, but she was perfect for my brother. Over the next 23 years, I saw them grow closer together as they journeyed through life. When Heidi was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago, I saw increased intimacy between them and in their relationship with God.

Heidi became more glorious and more beautiful as she approached the day when she would sit in the Presence of the Lord. She adorned herself with patience and faith and the peace that transcends all understanding. The cancer was ugly – but Heidi was radiant. This blog post is not meant to be an attempt to try and understand why this happened. Many days I struggle to see the redemption part of God’s plan through the experience of Heidi’s illness, and life since then. Rather, it is to remember and honour Heidi.

Terrilee with Heidi’s daughters, 2018.

I remember that red was irrefutably her favourite colour (in fact, she requested that we all wear it at her funeral), that chocolate solved all kinds of problem (have you heard of PMS!?), that daisies were her favourite flower because Elroy liked them so much, that she loved babies, that she developed dozens of rolls of photographic film per week, that she didn’t really like keeping house, that she liked clutter, that Elroy was her best friend, that she didn’t want to leave her kids. The list could go on, but I’d better stop before I become a blubbering mess.

I miss her! I’m getting used to her not being beside Elroy or present at family gatherings, but I miss her. Every once in a while, I see a glimpse of her when I spend time with her girls; yes, they laugh loud like their mama! They both have such confidence, and present themselves as not perfect. They are beautiful, and I’m so proud of how they serve Jesus and those around them.

I’m guessing that many of you are missing someone as well. I don’t want to forget as the years go by. Praying for you, my friend, as you remember those that have gone before you – young or old.

Remembering Heidi who passed away three years ago today: red, chocolate, daisies, rolls of photographic film, loyal, laughter, wife, mother, sister, friend, radiant, with Jesus…