Hello to you who are still faithfully checking my blogspot page. I know that number is low. I have always loved to write, and sometimes the urge gets under my skin and nothing will fix it until I sit down and pour it all out.
It's been almost a year since the Acklen and Koehler families, shocked and stricken, said goodbye to our Shanda. I did not realize how much her presence affected my life until she was gone. It is so sad but that is usually the way it is. No, we were not blood related, but when John and I married, Shanda welcomed me with open arms, just as I was. We could talk about anything-- breast feeding to religion. We shared many long phone conversations. Sometimes I still reach for the phone to call her and realize she is not there. If she thought John was not treating me right, she would humph and say "You get him on the phone and let me talk to him!" and she would let him have it. :). She was soft spoken, but when fired up, could tell it like it was!
She was very talented with photography. While she was alive I did not have to go to the photographer's studio because she would come over and take pictures and they were just as good. I do not look at a picture she took of me or my kids without thinking of how it reflects her beauty and talent.
On the very first Mother's Day after Elijah was born, Shanda was babysitting Elijah for me. She took his little feet, painted them, and printed them onto a piece of paper. Then she painted stems and petals and grass under them, so it looked like little feet flowers. It was my first Mother's Day card from Elijah...one I probably would never have gotten if she hadn't been so thoughtful.
Once I called and cried on her shoulder about being homesick for Alabama. The next week I got a beautiful card with an encouraging letter about how much she and the whole family loved me and would be there for me when my family couldn't.
When Elijah was born she came and took beautiful pictures of him and made them into an album for me as a gift. Oh, the list goes on!
The week before Shanda died, John and I stopped by her house but we didn't go in because she wouldn't let us, she said it was a mess. I knew Shanda had been tired, with working nights and she had never seemed to get over a cold she had the entire pregnancy with Ainsley. It occurred to me to call her and offer to help her come and clean up her house, but I talked myself out of it. I was scared she would be offended, and how much cleaning could we get done with three babies? Oh, how I wish I would've done it now! The poor child was so worn down, her heart just stopped while taking a midday nap.
The thing that has been on my mind, burning and rolling over and over, is the passage in Acts 9:36-41, about Tabitha. When she died, all of her friends went to Peter, weeping, showing him all the coats and garments she had made for them. They wept so bitterly and heartbroken that Peter removed all of them from the room and prayed until Tabitha breathed again. Their need for her was so great that they refused to let her go. When I first started writing this, I was wanting to talk about how I failed to be a Tabitha to Shanda. But now, I see that Shanda was a Tabitha to me. There is a great void in my life because of her absence.
Yes, it seems like I am so wound up in my kids and my family that I don't have anything left over for anyone else. But Lord help me, the next time I see someone struggling with their children or their housework or I see that elderly lady at church who can't fix her hair because it is too painful to lift her arms, I will offer to help. Yes, they may refuse. But when I'm gone, will anyone feel the void as Tabitha's friends did for her? Let us pray, as women, for God to give us a sensitive spirit to the needs of the women around us. We need each other, Ladies! And I need you.