The last couple of nights I’ve awoken with this song playing in my head.
Over the past four years our friend Traci bravely battled multiple myeloma. On Tuesday, August 9th, at the age of 52 with her dad cupping her face, she took her last breath. Kelly, Traci’s sister and one of my closest friends, called with the news. I showed up at the hospital 15 minutes after Traci took her last breath. Seeing her body was a profound experience. I know that sounds weird, but what I’m trying to say is it was so evident her spirit had departed. Whether you believe in a soul or not, seeing her was evidence there is a soul. The soul had departed. Her body was present, but Traci was not there. It was a profound moment.
Over the next seven hours, family and friends streamed into the room. As a friend and pastor, I was asked to lay hands on Traci and pray. What a privilege to be present with those I love at such a time as this. Seven hours later Traci’s body left the hospital to be taken to a crematory. Traci’s death has provoked all kinds of thoughts, emotions, and evaluations – most of which are too sacred to share publicly. I’m grateful for death in that it causes us to question life. My life. How I live. What I live for. Who and what I find important. Death helps us recalibrate.
On Sunday, August 14th, I officiated my first memorial service, the memorial service of a friend and a sister of one of my closest friends. It was hard, and it was a privilege. I spoke of how every human being images our Creator. (Genesis 1:26-28) If I had to attribute one characteristic in which Traci imaged God, it would be beauty. She was physically beautiful (she frequently reminded us she had superior facial bone structure to which we admittedly agreed), but she also created beauty within her relationships and in her work as one of the leading floral designers in Dallas. Traci reflected God’s beauty to the world and back to her Creator.
I’m grateful for Traci’s life and for what her death continues to teach me about my life. Goodbye, my friend; it’s hard to die.