Yesterday, a dear friend left us to go on to be with Jesus. I met Priscilla and her sister 9 years ago in April at a Freedom Excursion. Little did I know, just over a year later her daughter would walk in my wedding. When she introduced herself, she pronounced her last name Hernandez with the proper Spanish rolling of the R. I didn’t understand what she was saying. Having been born and raised in Texas, I thought I was pretty familiar with the Hispanic culture. I had been living in Alabama so I said “Hernandez?” with the most southern drawl I could muster just to make fun of her. Sounds terrible but we hit off….because she would do the same to me. When I took a Hispanic lastname (got married) she had to educate me in the proper pronunciation and all other things I needed to know about being Mexican. She and the Hubs loved to make fun of me (she was the older sister he never had) and she would call me white in Spanish: guera. It was a teasing insult. We laughed because I’m soooo white sometimes. She was proud to hear that my mother-in-law taught me how to make tortillas. She made tortillas for her family all the time. She was a very good cook.
Priscilla became my sister’s best friend; one of my sister’s sister friends. Which makes sense because she and I were a lot alike and my sister loves me. Priscilla had three sisters of her own and her closest sister reminds me of my own sister. They were two strange peas in a pod. Since they were friends all of the sisters automatically had to be friends.
Yesterday we went to see her. Death is so strange and so is life. While it seems to difficult to extinguish life it also seems so fragile. Death was so close yet it seemed so difficult. Maybe the difficulty wasn’t death but letting life go.
She was too alive to die. She was too young. She was too strong to die. She was too healthy to die (always running and keeping fit). She was too young. (I keep saying that too myself…44 years is too young to die).
She was ill for a year. When she was diagnoses none of us really thought she would die. We just couldn’t believe for death. I went and prayed for her in October and we had a lovely visit. She got to meet my daughter. She was so alive. She had the same infectious smile. She didn’t look fragile. She shared crackers with The girl. My girl crawled up right next to her and sat calmly for a few minutes while Priscilla talked to her. That’s a memory I’m filing away.
Priscilla seem to even thrive through all the medical treatments…all guaranteed only to prolong her life for a little while. The doctors offered her no hope.
She had so many treatments. She also had so many friends. She had a different friend take her to each treatment…for a year. It might seem strange that it wasn’t her husband taking her but what a gift she gave to each friend to know they spent that time with her and had a chance to help her during her time of need. Priscilla helped everyone. I don’t know where she found the time. She was a good friend to so many.
She was a whirl wind and an anchor.
Even before finding out about her condition she lived a lot of life in her brief years. She lived in several different places and wasn’t afraid to move half way across the state or to another state with her family. She took trips…lots of trips. Every summer she took her kids to Fort Worth for some kind of camp and to see family. She never was afraid to strike out on her own.
More than all that she was about family. Her husband and her kids were priority one. Yet, she had a way of making a lot of people “family”.
Priscilla loved Jesus. She taught her kids about Jesus and even her husband. She believed.
She wanted her family to build their own home. She did that this year. She wanted to see her daughter learn to drive…although her daughter isn’t quiet the right age, she learned this year. She wanted to spend time with her family. She did that. She wanted to dance at her nephews wedding (she loved dancing) and she did that in the last two weeks of her life though she was in rapid decline.
She crammed every minute into living even when she was told she was going to die. She didn’t waste time on dying until her body would no longer allow her to go on.
What a life she lived.
Her family said it so well, “with one eye we weep with one we rejoice that she is with Jesus”.
We are still crying. There have been tears at my sister’s house this morning and I cry as I write this but I can also picture her dancing with Jesus in heaven. In that picture, she looks like she did when I met her 8 years ago…black hair flowing down her back, wearing high heels and her brightest, whitest smile. You dance, girl.