Thank you all for your prayers and notes of encouragement as my dear husband and I made arrangements for his sister, Carol's, funeral in Minnesota. It was an arduous but beautiful journey. We spent time with family, friends, and Carol's caretakers. And we were pummeled by the worst blizzard to hit Minnesota in more than 10 years. Yet, the Lord was faithful in His care of us and in all that he provided. Below, I've shared a little bit of our journey.
As we made our way to the airport, stars twinkled in the dark sky of early morning. That time when people say it's darkest before the dawn. My sleepy head trying to reckon a nighttime sky with the morning hour of 5 o'clock. Silence filled the car as we traversed a sparsely driven highway, but our thoughts were racing.
It seemed only fitting that the stars should twinkle and be the only illumination on this otherwise pitch dark morning as heaven welcomed home its "Angel Unaware." I had not remembered Hubby's story of how his sister, Carol, received that term of endearment. A title that Hubby's brother mentioned when he wrote her obituary.
Sitting on the tarmac bound for Minnesota, Hubby began to tell me the story. Words caught as he recaptured family memories from those days.
"Do you know where that name came from?" eyes filling, he glanced at me.
I shook my head, "No."
He turned away, eyes brimming with distant memories.
The words caught again as he spoke, "When we were little, my Mom used to tell us about the story written by Dale Evans..."Angel Unaware."
He looked full on and I reached warm comfort to his hand.
"It was the story of the little girl they (Dale Evans and Roy Rogers) lost," his lips quivered.
For Hubby's family, it was the story of the sister and daughter they had lost to Down Syndrome. When Carol was a toddler, it became evident that the best way to care for her was through services provided by the state. Hubby and his family would visit Carol frequently on weekends and take her for walks and trips to the malt shop in town. But the hole in their family remained.
In later years, Carol was able to live in a home with only three other residents and work at a laundry where she performed a repetitive type job. We visited Carol every time we made a trip to Minnesota and continued the usual walks with her. For Hubby, it hurt because there was no recollection in Carol's hazel eyes of who he was. It was one of the deficits that accompanied this disability for Carol.
On this last visit, the emptiness of Carol's room sucked the breath from us. While the staff displayed their love for Carol in a way that was typical of her care throughout the years, the icy cold of the December winter chilled our bones even within the home. The reality of her loss hit hard. The reason for our journey icy clear.
Yet, the winter chill would not prevail. The warmth of the loving, stable, and secure environment that had protected and provided for Carol's physical and emotional health all these years would set our hearts ablaze with gratitude for their effort and praise to the Lord. The Lord had blanketed her with His care through others hands.
While we sat in the small church service for Carol, the snow swirled around mounding high drifts on a blizzardy day in Minnesota. Caretakers and residents who planned to come were shut out by the treacherous roads. Extended family outside of the Twin Cities could only send their regards. But for those of us who were gathered in the church, warmth filled our hearts while tears spilled over at the Lord's presence. He had lifted her On Eagle's Wings that she might now run and not grow weary, walk and not be faint (Isaiah 40:31). He had covered her with His feathers, and under His wings had provided a refuge and fortress for Carol (Psalm 91:1-4).
What began as a starlit journey for us and ended in a blizzard, marked the end of Carol's earthly journey but just the beginning of her complete joy and freedom in the Lord's presence.
Hubby's "Angel Unaware" has made it home.
Postscript: In my heart, I had prayed that the Lord would hold the blizzard off for one more day so that all those who knew and loved Carol would be able to attend the church service. I pondered why this had not transpired according to what I thought would be perfect. Then I came home and read a post by another blogger that said, from a human standpoint, nothing was perfect the night Jesus was born. My heart has settled.
Including this post as part of L.L. Barkat's On, In, and Around Mondays
Will be posting more of the Minnesota blizzard after Christmas. May your Christmas be filled with the love of our Savior.